A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Grandson's Christmas Gift from Grandpa

So here the great mystery is revealed. I made each a scooter similar to what I had as a young boy.
It remains to be seen how well they will hold up. It wasn't till I was well into the project did I think about looking into my scrapbook at the picture of me with my scooter my dad had made for me.
That's me on the right.

Looking closely at Tony's scooter, that thing had to have been indestructible. His dad used 2x6's! Mine was of thinner 1" pine board and it never broke. I recall shelf braces on mine so I did the same for the grandkids. Undoubtedly side bracing like Tony's would be better, but I was using plywood for this project so side bracing would not work as well. Notice the steel wheels from a set of roller skates. State of the art in the 50's. For the grandkids they got modern polyurethane wheels. These I took off skateboards which I bought at Toys R Us.
Tony, his sister Teena (referred to in the Christmas 1957 post) and me.

I assembled the first scooter and foolishly stood on it, cracking it in half. Damn! Now I had to make another, wondering if I needed to adhere warning signs on the finished item in regards to weight limits, not designed for adults, manufacturer assumes no responsibilty for loss of life while using this product.

So if Miles and Gavin's scooters fail, I still have the skateboard blanks and have a plan to re-do a newer more durable scooter using them with a thicker upright piece secured together with side bracing.
In case you are wondering why I didn't use the skateboards to begin with, several reasons: 1. They have all these heavy metal death graphics on the underside (what kind of message are we sending our youth?),  2. they are curved up on each end which posed a problem for the upright piece, and 3. I wanted the whole thing to be something made by grandpa.

Oh and why did I stand on the first scooter? What was I thinking? It was the kid in me. I wanted to take it for a spin. As I was writing this up I was thinking how cool it would be to build a larger one for myself. But I do enough already to embarrass my family as it is so best I pass on that idea.


  1. Lovely pictures, and it looks like your grandchildren liked this gift from grandpa. Lucky children:)
    Very nice pictures of you too as a child.
    Wishing you and your family a merry christmas:)
    Greetings from Berit.

  2. That is so sweet that you made them scooters. I bet they love them and even more so because Grandpa made them. You know Holgas are very inexpensive (like $35) so it wouldn't be a terrible thing for you to get involved in :) I got a Tamron AF18-250mm lens for Christmas. We'll see how it does when I take it out tomorrow!

  3. Hey that is super cool dude. I'll bet they are tickled pink. What an heirloom, retro scooters hand made by grandpa.

  4. Looks like great fun will be had.There's a lot of fun in toys from the past.Whats that I see out the window;green.

  5. Adorable post! How your grandsons will remember. Did you show them the photo of you on your scooter?

  6. Love those photos from the 50's! The boys want helmets and goggles likes yours!! ( It would complete the look.) Thanks for the scooters, they ran out the door to ride them.

  7. So they liked it! You brought memories of my dad making us scooters with 2 x 4s and sawing roller skaters in half for the wheels. Had Forgotten about those. Painted park bench green. They never steered too good, but we liked them anyway.

  8. Thank you all for your comments. A design flaw immediately presented itself when the oldest grandson went for a test ride. He almost endo'd over the front end. I had placed the wheels spaced as they were on the skateboards. That doesn't work with a scooter. I quickly went back to the workbench and moved the front wheels forward before Christmas dinner was served. Now I await word of total failure of the scooters. I have a back-up plan all ready.

  9. that's a perfect present! Well done :)

  10. What great gifts for the grandkids!
    My husband thought of a scooter for our grandsons, too, but we decided they were still a little too young. Maybe next year.
    I agree, the simple, old fashioned gifts often prove to be the best and the longest enjoyed.


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