Making a Toddler/Baby Rattle

1. Get a piece of 1-1/4" Maple

2. Use a jig (home-made) to find centers of dowel

3. Drill a small hole into dowel on both ends

4. Result is a perfectly centered hole.
It is not critical to be perfectly centered.
Centering happens anyway when turning.

5. Measure approx. 1" from one end of dowel for cutting.
Also mark a line for matching the grain of the 2 parts later.

6. Cut off the end and check realignment
My cut was a bit ragged,
so I built a jig (see below) for later projects.

7. Clamp dowel in lathe and center.

8. Use a 7/8" Forstner bit to drill the cavity.

9. Check centering before drilling deeper.

10. Mark a line on the bit at 3/4" depth and drill.

11. Check the cavity.

12. Put some small beads or tiny stones in the cavity.

13. Place the top on the dowel and shake to check the sound.
Add more beads, or take some out.
Experiment with different sizes and materials of beads.

14. Put a thin line of wood glue around the dowel.
Be careful not to get glue inside the cavity.
I smoothed out the irregularities in the glue bead that you see below.

15. Put the top back on and clamp.
Let set for about 24 hours before turning.

16. Mark the location of the depth of the cavity
to make sure you don't accidentally expose it while turning.

17. Turn the dowel like you would turn a honey dipper
(without the ridges of course).

This is the toddler rattle.
For a baby rattle, make both ends to house cavities.


18. Problem

As a result of the ragged cut (#6 above)—even though the glue extends to the surface—the visible line between the two pieces gives the impression that the top part could be easily dislodged. I won't be able to give this one away. I will keep it as an object lesson :)

On the other hand, since the problem is only visual and not actually structural, one could turn that line into a "feature" as a decorative line, and add another one for symmetry!


Dowel Jig
for use with a hacksaw

[Back to #6]

The jig is a tiny bit more than 1.25" wide.

I use shims to jam the
1.25" dowel in the jig.

I cut off the top 1" of the dowel
and placed it back on top.
The cut line is barely noticable.

[Back to #6]