Build Your Own Hand-Carved Wooden Bugatti CR7 Car
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If this sounds like a challenge you are up to, follow this in-depth guide to turning chunks of timber into a beautiful, and functional, piece of art. Hold on tight, this project will really test your skills and mettle.
As you can imagine, like any project of this nature, you'll need some tools and materials before you get started.
Materials and gear needed
- Lumber (reclaimed or new)
- Four trunk slices for the wheels
- Wood glue
- Hand plane
- Child's electrical car motor and drive chain
- Child's electrical car/go-kart front steering axle assembly
- Child's toy car drive chain
- LED bar lights
- Mini LED tube lights
- Transparent perspex sheet
- Table saw
- Power tools
- Paint spray gun
- Orbital sander
- Wood router
- Mini lathe
- Angle grinder
- Clear varnish/lacquer
- Various nuts and bolts
Step 1: Prepare the wood
The first step is to take your lumber and cut it to size and shape for the base of the main chassis. You will need several pieces the overall length of the Bugatti Centodieci to be built, and smaller lengths for the rear and sides. Cut notches into two pieces that will include the wheel arches.
Route dowel holes, and matching dowels, in the sides of the lumber for ease of assembly as well.
Next, connect the pieces of wood together using dowels, and a layer of glue for each piece of the base of the chassis. Clamp or tie the pieces together as well until the glue is fully cured. You may find it is easier to elevate the pieces off the ground with sacrificial planks of wood when assembling the base of the chassis.
Once the glue has cured, remove the clamps and hand plane/mechanically plane the surface of the chassis. Ensure you do this in a well-ventilated space or wear an appropriate mask -- after all, you don't want to breathe in a lot of sawdust!
Next, measure and cut the angled front and rear of the car and add a wedge of wood to hold the rear part at an elevated angle. Glue and screw or bolt it into place to the front and rear of the Bugatti Centodieci's chassis, as shown.
Next, add some blocks of wood to the wheel housing section of the chassis. Glue, screw/bolt, and clamp into place as needed.
Step 2: Add the drive chain and axles
Next, mark out and drill bolt holes for mounting the rear-drive axle. With that complete, take your rear axle and mount it into place on the block. You will likely also need to route a hole in the base of the chassis to accommodate some of the gears. Once mounted, test that the axle can freely rotate, if not, adjust accordingly.
Next, take your electrical motor, mount it on a piece of wood, and mark out where it needs to be mounted on the chassis. Add the drive chain, and make sure it is tout, to help you out. Once happy drill and bolt the motor into place as needed.
With that complete, build your own, or use a commercially available electrical car or go-kart, front steering axle. Add wooden mounting blocks, as before, and mount the axle to them accordingly.
Step 3: Make the wheels
Next, take your tree slices (either bought or hand-cut) and mark out the diameters of the wheels you need for your wood Bugatti Centodieci. Trim down to size using your band saw, or similar tool.
With that complete, cut some trapezoidal blocks of timber, round the tops, and build up the wheels, as needed. They will need to be the same overall dimensions as the perimeter of the wheels but leave space in the hub section of each wheel as shown below.
Rinse and repeat for all four of the wheels. Glue and clamp together until the glue has fully cured. Once complete, transfer your wooden wheels to your trusty lathe.
Work each wheel until their outer perimeters are the same exact dimensions and nice and smooth.
With that complete, begin to work the walls of the "tires" to give them rounded edges and treads. You can also carve out and shape the hubs of the wheels too.
Finish the tire treads by hand as needed.
Rinse and repeat for all four tires. With that complete, transfer your wheels to the chassis, add mounting holes, and firmly secure to the wheel mounts on the front and rear axles.
The mountings will likely vary between the rear drive wheels and the front steering wheels so bear that in mind. Bear in mind we will be removing the wheels later to add some decorative features.
With that complete, grab the components for the electrical drive chain. Transfer them to the chassis, assemble, and test them, as needed.
You will need, for example, a battery, control system, gear stick, and wiring. The bits needed will vary depending on the kit you've sourced, obviously. Once assembled, test it and add a piece of wood between the steering wheels to simulate the steering wheel.
Step 4: Continue construction of the main chassis and body of the Bugatti Centodieci
Once you know the electrical system is working perfectly, you can now begin to continue building the main body of the car. Take more lengths of lumber, cut to size, and begin mounting the chassis, as needed. Cut to an angle where needed -- for example the rear and front of the car.
Next, make the wheel fenders by taking some more lumber, marking out an arch slightly larger than the wheels, and cutting down to size using a band saw or hand saw.
You will obviously need four of these. The dimensions and shapes for the front and rear fenders will also vary. Bolt/screw into place on the chassis as needed.
With that complete, we can start to make the bonnet of the car. Measure out and cut some more lengths of lumber as needed. Make the bonnet in three pieces, cut to shape, and angle the edges as needed.
Transfer the pieces to the car and mount/screw/glue them into place on the front of the car.
You will need various other pieces to simulate the angled sides of the bonnet too. Glue them all into place until the bonnet resembles the image below. Do not secure the bonnet to the main chassis just yet.
Finally, hold the entire front of the Buggati into place using a clamp until the wood is fully cured. With that complete, remove the bonnet and take out the front grill section.
Mark out the design of the grill (an angled mesh), and hand carve as needed.
Add the front grill pieces back onto the Bugatti Centodieci chassis, and replace the bonnet piece.
Step 5: Begin to shape the bodywork
With that complete, take a marker pen and sketch out the curves of the main bodywork of the Bugatti Centodieci's front. Take a chainsaw, and begin to cut off, in small sections, the excess bits of wood as needed. We will be finishing this process by hand, so take off as much as you can (or dare) at this stage to speed the process up a bit.
Keep going and add in the other decorating features like notches for the headlights and bonnet curves, etc. You are trying to roughly carve out the basic shape of the front of the Bugatti Centodieci here so try to copy the design of the real car as much as you are able.
Be sure to add in the curved elements of the bonnet using the chainsaw too. It will be a lot easier using a chainsaw than wood carving tools.
With that complete, grab your trusty hammer and chisel and get to work finishing some of the main details by hand. You will have a lot more control of the design at this stage, so take your time and refine the wood's form as needed.
With the overall form completed to your satisfaction, grab some power tools to really smooth out and further refine the shape -- like an angle grinder and orbital sander. As always wear appropriate PPE or complete this in a well-ventilated space.
Periodically remove dust and debris using a blower to reveal your hard work underneath.
With that complete, take some more lengths of lumber, measure, cut, and glue together pieces to make the front bumper/spoiler of the Bugatti Centodieci. Round the edges and generally shape to match that of the real thing.
Glue and mount into place below the grill, as needed. Rinse and repeat for the rear grill too.
Next, cut and shape more pieces of timber to create the front grill's main decorative features. Glue and mount into place as needed.
Step 6: Build the doors, side panels, and number plates
With that complete, the basic components of the front of the Bugatti Centodieci are now complete. We can now turn our attention to the sides of the car.
Measure, cut, and shape the doors of the Bugatti Centodieci as needed. Transfer them to the main assembly, and mark out where they will be mounted. Also, check for any parts of the main body and doors that need to be trimmed/shaped to fit and adjust accordingly using your chainsaw or chisel.
Next, cut, shape, and mount the side spoilers/trim pieces below the doors too.
As with the bonnet, mark out the curves and other decorative features of the side of the Bugatti Centodieci, and cut out/refine using an angle grinder and hammer and chisel.
With that complete, cut some more lengths of timber to the dimensions needed for the number plate. Sketch out the ID number and route the shapes as needed.
Finish by hand as needed and mount to the Bugatti Centodieci's tail section. Next, as with the front spoiler and grille, measure, cut, and shape the Bugatti Centodieci's tail section features (including the exhausts).
Glue and mount into place.
Step 7: Shape the rear of the car, rear spoiler, and wing mirrors
With that stage complete, grab your marker pen and chainsaw once again -- it is time to shape the rear of the car. As with the bonnet and sides, cut out the rough shapes of the Bugatti Centodieci's rear features.
Finish by hand once again using a hammer and chisel.
Use an angle grinder, where needed, too.
As with the front spoiler, cut, shape, and buff the rear spoiler and mount it into place on the rear of the car.
Next, cut some avoid cylinder of wood, and cut/route to size to make the wing mirrors.
Carve and angle grind the main shapes as needed.
Step 8: Make the seats and wheels alloys
With that complete, next measure, cut, and assemble a rough shape for the Bugatti Centodieci's seatbacks. Sketch out the details using a marker pen, and trim off excess using your chainsaw, chisel, and hammer once again.
Do the same for the Bugatti Centodieci seats' seat section. Glue and mount into position on the seatbacks, as needed. Make the chair armrests and glue/mount them into position on the main seat assemblies as well.
Rinse and repeat to make a second, identical seat.
With that complete, we can now turn out attention to making the Bugatti Centodieci's wheel alloys. Cut some polygons of wood and assemble them into an eight-armed star pattern.
Glue them together, and add a central cylinder of wood too. Sketch out the shape needed for the alloys, and carve it out using an angle grinder, hammer, and chisel. Sand down as needed.
Take the smaller inner cylinder, and mark out the position of the alloy's spokes. Then sketch out the other details of the inner hub (like the Bugatti Centodieci logo), and route the shapes needed. Finish using a hammer and chisel, and sand down as needed.
Add the alloy hub assemble to the central hub, glue it into place, and then continue to work the spokes and the hub the blend into one another. Sand down as needed as you go too.
Next, remove your wooden wheels, and carve the inner tire details between the alloy spokes as needed. Next, craft an inner hub cab and faux-wooden brake disk assembly.
Assemble all parts of the wheel once complete.
Step 9: Make the steering wheel and internal features of the cabin
Next, carve out the rough dimensions and shape of the Bugatti Centodieci's steering wheel.
Then using a variety of wood carving tools, add in the main features as the central logo, and other curves/features, paddle shift controls, etc, of the steering wheel of the real car. Take your time and enjoy the process -- it is very rewarding.
Since you already carving decorative features, make the front badge of the Bugatti Centodieci too and mount it into place on the front of the bonnet.
Next, cut to size, shape, sand, etc the central column for the gearstick. Once complete, mount into place inside the cabin of the Bugatti Centodieci.
Add in and mount the seats too. Add the steering wheel to the metal steering column of your steering assembly, and install it into the cabin of the Bugatti Centodieci as well.
Add other internal features like knobs, etc, as needed.
Step 10: Add in the windshield and wire up the wing mirrors
Next, mark out, cut, and shape the main support windscreen arch. Sand down and refine as needed, and then install to the front of the cabin of the wooden Bugatti Centodieci.
Next cut out a piece of transparent plastic sheet or perspex and mount it inside the windscreen arch. With that complete, carve out some windscreen wipers, and also mount them into place.
Take your completed wheels and mount them once again to the front and rear axles of the Bugatti Centodieci. Once installed, give them a quick spin to make sure that they move freely.
Next, take your wing mirrors, route (if not already complete) light wells at the front, and install some LED strip lights. Run the cabling through the arms of the wing mirrors, and mount it into place on the main doors of the Bugatti Centodieci. Ensure you have matching wiring penetrations through the door to wire up the lights.
If you haven't already, also wire up an ignition key, and other electronics needed for the cabin.
Step 11: Give the whole car a good polish
With that stage complete, grab some clean rags and your wood varnish. Give the entire car a once over with the polish.
Work it into the wood so that all exposed portions of the wood are covered.
With that complete, take your air spray gun and apply a layer of lacquer to all parts of the wooden Bugatti Centodieci. Take your time and ensure a smooth, even, and complete coverage of all exposed parts of the car.
Next, create the tail light wooden mounted and attach the LED bar lights, as needed. Run the wiring into the cabin and connect to the main electrical system and control switches, as needed.
Then mount the rear lights into place on the tail section of the wooden Bugatti Centodieci.
Flick the switch and test the lights, and make adjustments, if any, as needed.
Next, take your headlight LED strips and mount them into place on the front bonnet of the car. Wire up and test as you did for the taillights.
With that, your master-crafted wooden Bugatti Centodieci CR7 is basically complete. Continue to work the body and interior as needed, but you can probably call it quits.
Now all you need to do is show off your wonderful craftwork with your son or daughter and let them take it for a much-needed spin.
If you are not too exhausted by this project, you might want to turn your hand and some more woodworking projects! How about your own DIY cedar strip canoe? Good luck, you'll need it.