Hey Dads, I've gotten notes from a couple of your interested in how I built the Santa Sleigh and the Santa's Workshop that's going to double for a doll house for my four-year-old once it gets warm again in Texas, which given how things have gone, won't be too long.
I approached these two projects with the thought of being able to take them apart easily once January comes, so instead of using nails, I've used 1 3/4 outdoor screws and 2 1/2 inch screws for assembly. I bought 3/4 inch ply for each sides of the Santa Sleigh and one piece for the front of Santa's Workshop. For the sides and what eventually will be the roof of the workshop, I bought that 1/2 in roofing board, and used a nice sheet of MDB/MDG whichever it is, for the seat to the Sleigh so I don't end up with splinters in uncomfy places.
I did not use a pattern for designing the sleigh, but simply got a pencil and a four-foot level to begin drawing lines for the skids, and then used a piece of wire as a compass to make the curves look smooth. Once I drew out the pattern of the sleigh, I traced over it with a Sharpie so it would be easier to cut. To cut the sleigh out, I used a jigsaw. Once I had the one piece cut, I simply laid out another 4 foot by eight foot piece of plywood and set it on top and traced the first piece. In the space of about an hour, I had the two sides of the sliegh cut out.
Saturday morning, I began using 2 x 4 boards along the skids and along the floorboard area to begin to construct a frame inside. I'd originally thought of sitting in it as Santa and then thought different, but once I began to see how I could build it and do it with a lot of support inside, I changed my mind. So, I built a series of tiers, with the piece of 2×4 that runs along the ground being about 48 inches long, and one parallel to that being about 54 inches. The boards are about 9 3/4 inches apart, and there are supports between them spaced at the front of the sleigh, the rear, and at the stress points, ie, where most weight will rest upon it from people getting into the sleigh, and where people will sit in it. You can see from the photo of my 4 yo daughter, what I mean by this. A rear view of the sleigh also will help you better understand.
The flooring was just a sheet of ply braced by three 2x4s spanning the 32 inches across the sleigh. I then built the boxes for the seating, and when I get to work on it again, I will add a footplate for the front, and then a back rest, and seal off the back of the sleigh. Again, all of this is screwed together, so I'll be able to decide in January how to take it apart and then what to do with it.
Santa's Workshop is really simple. I got a 4 x8 foot ply board, went about 2/3s of the way up and angled off to the middle for the top point. And then started from the 48 inch wide section, and then tapered off as I dropped to the bottom of the board. This gives it it's smaller size on the bottom frame. The inside is made up of a simple square 2 x 4 frame, and then I ran the 2 x 4s up the side of the structure so that I could fasten the side walls to them. Once I had the front and the back attached to the framing, I secured with side beams. And then I added a floor.
Once the floor was in, I drew the door and the panes for the windows on the front panel and used a jigsaw to cut them out.
I have some 2 x 4 boards I'm going to use to secure the roofing and plan to get 2 more 4 x 8 boards and run them lengthwise to make the roofing. I don't think it will be 8 feet long though. I will let you know when I get to that point.
So here are some pictures to help see your way through it all. I'm open to questions if you have them. Just let me know.
Of course, when I get them done, probably this coming weekend, we're going to get them painted and trimmed out. Santa's Sleigh typically is red, with some goldish trip, and I'm going to make the skids yellow. For areas I didn't cut out around the skids, I'm going to fill in with black, and paint the flooring, and undercarriage flat black so they're not as aparent at night.