DIY Box Kart for the Kids

I’ve got a brother, you know… His name’s Dan. Thirty-two years old, manly, university professor, and about as handy as dad.

I hate him.

Or, I would hate him if he weren’t so dern likable.

Well, Dan’s got four kids (three strapping boys and a girl). This year, Dad’s self-proclaimed mission is to make sure his kids overcome the incessant pull of materialism.

“Kids, five years old, are getting iPads and iPhones. Know what I got when I was five? I got a hand-carved horse your granddaddy carved for me. Best Christmas ever.”

So Dad, in vigilante fashion, mandated all his grandkids’ Christmas gifts be hand-crafted. Luckily, Dan was on board (since Dad became the de facto Santa Clause this year).

So dad went out into the wood shed, grabbed a pair of boards, and started laying out parts for a box cart for the kids.


(Ironic how dad’s got “more wood than [he’s] got projects,” and yet he’s still very miserly with his wood.)

After a few hours in the shop, this was the end result:


I’m sure dad would tell you he hand-crafted the rope from Buck sinew and forged the screws from ore he mined in the quarry, or salvaged the wheels from a 1950’s wheelbarrow…

But the old man actually fronted some cash on Amazon (or, “The catalogue,” as he calls it).

I scavenged his receipts from mom. And the cost?

$49.60 for the wheels

$6.00 for nylon rope

$28.29 for various nuts and bolts.

For a grand total of $84.49.

And the kids loved it. The oldest (and most videogame addicted of the family) hasn’t spent more than ten minutes inside since Christmas. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the look on Dad’s face as he sat in a lawn chair, watching his grandkids ride the box kart down the incline of his driveway.

“That’s a good feeling, son,” he said.

“What?” I asked. I expected him to say about how he “stuck it to those crony capitalists.”

“Knowing them kids are going to remember that,” he pointed to the box cart, “and not some stupid video game.”

I think you’re right, dad.

For those interested, Dad got the plans from this book (affiliate link):

One thing about the plans–they mention using “Ipe wood,” which is probably overpriced and totally unnecessary. Dad made his out of oak and it turned out great. Any wood would probably due. (Especially if it’s “milled from your own back yard, or salvaged from the side of the road.”).

And here’s the wheels dad used on Amazon:



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