Pine Model Maytag Engine

Whimsical idea turns into a beautiful piece of Maytag engine art

| December 2011/January 2012

A Maytag engine made of wood.

A Maytag engine made of wood.

I figured it was about time to let people know what I dug out of the woods. It took about 500 hours to finish this wooden Maytag engine, and about tore me “limb from limb” because all the tools used on this engine were hand tools!

Now, after all my labors, I have called this wooden engine “Too Much Time On My Hands,” and I think it’s near “cherry.” It is made from pine except the cylinder, which is poplar, and the bolts, carb, grease cup and timer/governor, which are cedar. This engine was assembled with glue, dowels and wood pins. Not a single nail or screw were used except for the two mounting bolts.

Why a wooden engine?

I was working on a real Maytag engine awhile back and thought it “wood” be neat to make a model of the engine. I counted the rings on the piston and assumed it was around 89-90 years old (OK – the original is anyhow).

I have been asked why I modeled such a late model engine and have two answers: 1) It’s a Maytag – they’re all good; 2) It was already apart and easy to make wooden copies of.

The reason for using hand tools is because I live in a building where I cannot make commercial noise. I live under a hair salon, and most ladies would freak at the sounds of a table saw when they are getting dolled up, though it does actually help some of them. I have since moved a few power tools into place for use when I can, and will probably remake a new flywheel for this engine. The flywheel, by the way, is made of twelve pieces of hand-cut wood, and the cylinder is made up of 37 pieces of laminated wood. Is it any wonder why my arthritis is kicking in high gear and the makers of coping saw blades are now sending me holiday greeting cards because I’ve used so many?

What’s next?

When my brother Daniel (the other half of the nut brothers) saw the Maytag engine, he thought it was great, and asked which Maytag’s next – a twin or a fruit jar? Well, the full-scale twin I’ve dubbed the “Termite Tavern” is nearing completion, and I guess shortly I’ll be tearing down the fruit jar for measurements to make one of those as well. It is so much easier and faster with power tools, and it creates a hobby piece that is even lighter to move and display.