A yard full of wooden construction equipment models in large scale

 

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After 46 years at Ford Motor Co. Chuck Hoggarth now builds big vehicles for fun

Chuck has lived in Michigan all his life. Born in 1931, he is now 83 years old. He worked at Ford Motor Company for 46 years and retired in 1994. He has worked with wood for the past 30 years but started building large wooden models of construction equipment only about 7 or 8 years ago. He gained his woodworking experience building cabinets for himself and others and has added several thousand dollars worth of oak to his own home in the form of cabinets, trim and stair railings. He also owned a backhoe for about 5 years in the 1970’s and did some plumbing jobs with it. This spurred his interest in heavy equipment.


He did not build the models to sell and still owns the entire collection himself; however, the collection now takes up a lot of space in his home. The garage shop houses five of the projects while one resides in the living room, one in the family room and three in the bedrooms. When asked if he ever plans to sell any of the projects he now laughs and says, “I have to do something with them, I’m running out of room.”

How the hobby came about

After Chuck retired from Ford, he started looking for something challenging to make. He found plans for a number of heavy equipment projects available from a company called Toys ‘N Joys in Lynden, Washington and purchased the plans for a bulldozer and a Kenworth truck. They were only about 12″ long  when completed, which didn’t seem to do justice to the massive machines. He decided that his projects needed to be bigger in order to be both more of a challenge to build and to give the proper impression when viewed. From then on he scaled all the dimensions on the plans up in size by a factor of four, resulting in finished models that are really impressive. He displayed some of his models at at a local  show at Heritage Park in Taylor, Michigan on Father’s Day in 2003 and then at a construction show at the Novi, Michigan Expo Center in 2005 where they attracted quite a bit of attention. “Everyone did a double take when they walked by them,” he said. In 2006 he displayed all the models on his front lawn on Father’s day and had neighbors and strangers stopping for photos. The local NBC TV station even sent a cameraman out and did a news story on his work.



Building the big wooden models

Chuck Hoggarth has so far handcrafted eleven large wooden models of construction equipment. Each is made from sugar pine wood that is free from knots. A single model can take up to eight or nine months to build. The largest are a 12′ long by 3′ high Kenworth truck and trailer and a Hummer that is 4′ high by 4′ wide and 7′ long. He has also built two large excavators, a high track dozer, a mining truck, an articulated tractor, an end-loader, a bulldozer, a scraper and is now working on a fishing trolling boat that will eventually be displayed floating in his swimming pool. He would also like to build a model of a backhoe similar to the one he drove many years ago. The moving parts of the models actually function and the tracks and wheels turn. Chuck had considered motorizing some of the functions but decided to keep everything moveable by hand to keep all the parts in wood.




The models are left in their natural wood rather than painting them so the beauty of the wood itself is maintained. They are given a clear finish of tung oil and finally a tough coat of clear polyethylene to protect them. To build the parts, Chuck’s garage contains all the basic carpenter’s hand tools plus a table saw, band saw, lathe, eight different routers and more. When he finds he needs a special tool for a job says, “If I need anything else, I go out and buy it.”

This giant Hummer model looks like Chuck could almost climb in and drive it away. It is 7 feet long and 4 feet high. Some wood pieces are stained dark for contrast.

A tracked excavator sits on Chuck’s front lawn. The models pivot, extend and function like the real thing. The tracks also work.

A giant mining truck looks a little more impressive when the model is “super-sized.”.

A very large model bulldozer is parked in front of Ford, making the car look small.

A scraper sits in Chuck’s shop with some of his woodworking equipment in the background..

A massive Kenworth tows a lowboy trailer hauling an excavator. Measuring twelve feet from front to back this makes a pretty impressive display parked on his front lawn.

Chuck stands behind an articulated front end loading tractor.

Chuck poses with a model of an excavator with the Lo-Boy trailer and a bulldozer in the background.

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This article has 24 Comments

  1. i love them n u did a great job I would love them n my yard n r great with wood u r amazing take care n Biuld more so we can see them

  2. Hi Chuck do you sell the full size plans if you do i would like to purchase a couple of plans , thank you ;les morrison.

  3. o chuck nice to see a true craftsmans work i to would love to buy a set of plans for the mining truck i have the original from toy and joys not sure about working out the extra size to a scale of 4 any help would be appreciated

  4. I was a supt. for the biggest const co in Ri. I worked with all the equipment that you have built,and you did a great job!! I am a avid worker my self in my retirement years and I would like to build some of the equipment that you have. Do you sell the plans for them. Ian very interested. Please email me with a answer .Thank you John.

  5. I live in N Vancouver and puddle around with woodworking but I’ve never seen something like this. You need your own museum to get some money back!! Very nice.

  6. He must have an enormous amount of money and time to do them!! Did he start building them when he popped out of the womb?!!! How could anyone build that many ”toys” in his 84 years of existence? And that’s the other thing…as cool as they are, they serve absolutely no purpose, whatsoever!! If he was producing them to turn a profit, I could understand that. And you know that when he croaks, which can’t be a helluva lot longer,they will get destroyed by his children and grand children!! But most likely, they will sell them b4 he is cold in his grave!! So, hang in there everyone, it won’t be long b4 you see them on Ebay!!

    1. You must live a miserable, boring and unloved life. You couldn’t comprehend the joy he must of had building these works of art

  7. Love Chuck’s Wooden Models, as I am an Australian Wooden Model designer & builder too, although not quite on the scale of Chuck’s work,- here in Australia I am drawing up a range of our Aussie Big Rig Woodworking plans set to, 1:20 scale, and a larger 1:15 scale,- and the 1:15 scale plans are also designed to have working LED lights fitted too. I do have several sites on Facebook which show my Wooden Models,- and my Big Rig Woodworking plans for anyone interested.

    1. Hi Roger, I am recently retired and living in Casino, NSW 2470. Was in the construction and interested in making wooden models as an interest. Are there plans available for items such as bulldozers, scrapers excavators, dump trucks etc. I would be interested in purchasing plans etc.
      Yours, Ron Nash.

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