My spouse and I made a hopping bunny toy for our 10 month old nephew. It is waiting for him in his Easter basket.
It is made from soft maple and walnut. The axles are 3/8 inch hardwood dowels, sanded smooth. (I ran out of time on that dowel-making jig, and sucked up the 98 cents for a store-bought dowel.) The rear axle dowel is attached 3/16 inch off-center on each rear wheel, which are aligned while glued. The rear of the bunny goes up and down in a hopping motion as you roll it.
We used a bandsaw to cut the basic body shape, and hole saws on the drill press to make the wheels. The eyes were made with a 1/4 inch plug cutter. We did some cleanup shaping and sanding of the body edges on the drill press; the rest was done with sandpaper and files. We sanded the wheels by mounting a screw in the center, and then clamping the screw in the drill press. We spun the wheels on the drill press while holding the sandpaper against the edges. We finished the parts with a mineral oil and wax "salad bowl" finish before final assembly. We put dummy axles in the wheels to keep the finish out before using the real unfinished axles for glueing.
We used brad point drills for all holes, both stopped (wheels) and through (eye and axles). All holes were drilled on the drill press, and I used a scrap backing board for the through holes. We made test holes in scrap using several Imperial and metric drills to find the best drill matches for the dowel axles and the plug-cut eyes.
When our nephew starts walking, we may add a pull string.
* Soft maple is pretty darn hard. We plan to sue the lumberyard for false advertising. ;-)
* Sanding/filing took hours and was challenging in the tight inner sections.
* Sandpaper gets hot fast if you push it with your thumb onto a fast-rotating wood wheel.
* I am looking for a better baby-safe finish for toys. Frankly, I don't like the salad bowl finish I used. Cutting boards, yes. Toys, I'm not sure, but what feels good and is baby-safe?
The time and effort it took to make this toy bunny far exceeds its intrinsic value. It was a labor of love.
The design is not original. A few months ago, we saw a hopping bunny toy at a furniture store. We copied the off-center rear wheels. We did a web search for bunny silhouettes. Some bunnies had two separate ears, some had partially separated ears, and some had one combined ear. Body shapes and tails differed. Together we assembled an amalgam of different bunny shapes and parts that we liked to make our own design.