Lawn Dinosaur Build Log

This is a build log of a 6 meters (20 foot) long lawn dinosaur my dad and I built during the summer of 2020. When the ice on the lake melted, it wrecked our pier, and so dad built a new pier in May. There was quite a lot of treated wood left over, and we wondered what to do with that. For a long time dad had wanted to build a large dinosaur on our yard, but we had not been able to decide on suitable material to use. Now we had some extra treated wood, so we decided to use that for the dinosaur!

April 2020 - The Wrecked Pier

This is what our pier looked like, after the ice had pushed the floating platform towards the shore. Some of the floats had begun to leak the previous summer, so the pier would have needed some maintenance anyways.

May 2020 - Building The New Pier

Dad began disassembling the old pier during April, and then purchased new floating platforms. He then began building a new pier using wood from the old disassembled pier. Here are the parts of the new pier.

Dad added some railings to the pier. Without those, ducks seem to think our pier is a nice lavatory area. These low railings are very effective in keeping ducks away from our pier.

June 2020 - New Pier Finished, Dinosaur Construction Begins

The new pier was finished by the end of May. At this point we realized we have a lot of wood left over, and dad got the idea of using that wood for building a big dinosaur. I had built a 2 meter long dinosaur from 12mm plywood back in 2016. This was based on an instruction sheet I had saved from a wooden puzzle toy from the 1980's designed by Tatsuya Kodaka. Here is a scan of the instruction sheet, and a picture of my plywood dinosaur under construction back in 2016.

July 3rd, 2020 - Spine And Legs Work

I had forgotten to take pictures of the construction steps during June. We started the work by me projecting the drawing on my wall using a video projector, and then tracing the images on cardboard. The size of the dinosaur was limited by the area of my wall, the maximum zoom factor of my projector, the amount of wood we had, and the maximum size of the cardboard pieces we had to trace the images on.

By July our construction work was well underway. Here is a snapshot of the construction process at the start of July. The main spine parts have been mostly constructed. As you can see, they are built from scrap wood beams, and thus are not very uniform.

We are working on the legs, here I have glued some extra parts on to give the leg the correct shape. Same as the spine, the legs were built from several separate wood beam parts. Most of the parts for the front legs have also already been cut, but they have not been joined together yet.

July 7th, 2020 - The Skull

Dad was most interested in working on the skull, and thus wanted to do that next. Here he is posing with the mostly finished skull.

July 8th, 2020 - Rear Half

The next day we managed to build the remaining hip parts, and were able to test-assemble the rear half of the dinosaur.

July 9th, 2020 - Standing On Four Legs

One more day of work, and also the front part of the spine, together with the front legs, were ready to be test fitted! The neck joint failed at this time, and we realized the 2-year-old glue we had used for some of the early construction was no good. We had to redo some of those joints. Luckily we had switched to new glue pretty early on, before we started work on the legs.

July 13th, 2020 - Tracing the Remaining Parts

There were still some parts remaining that I had not traced on cardboard yet. We were beginning to run out of larger cardboard pieces, but luckily the rest of the parts were symmetrical, so it was enough to trace just one side on the cardboard. We could then flip the piece to draw the full part on the wood. Here I am tracing part number 19.

July 20th, 2020 - Neck Joint Fixing

Before we could start test-fitting the ribs, we had to redo the broken neck joint. Here is an image of the clamps we used to keep the pieces in place while the glue dried. Hopefully we used enough... Well, at least we have all our ducks in a row! :)

July 26th, 2020 - Ribs Done

By this time we had finished building and assembling all the ribs. There were a lot of those, so this took a few days. Here is an image of my old 2 meter dinosaur in the foreground, with the new bigger one showing through the window. It was nice to have my old dino near the window while working on the new one, as we could look at it to see how the parts were joined.

This is what the new dino looked like at this point. Dad had already painted the skull white.

Aug 2nd, 2020 - Ribs Painted

By the beginning of August dad had painted all the ribs, and we were in the process of cutting and attaching all the small blocks between the ribs on top of the spine. The original model did not have those rounded shapes on top of the spine, but we thought they would look nice, especially with our dinosaur being much bigger than the original 50 cm long model.

Aug 3rd, 2020 - Spine Shaping Blocks

Work on the shape-giving blocks on top of the spine continues. Besides giving proper shape to the spine, these blocks also keep the ribs in a correct angle, as the ribs are put in the slots between these blocks. Here is a closeup of some of the blocks getting glued to the spine.

Aug 10th, 2020 - Final Assembly

Okay, finally all the parts were done and painted, and it was time to assemble our new lawn dinosaur! I made a YouTube video about the assembly.

Aug 17th, 2020 - Dr. Livingstone, I Presume?

Finally, here are a couple of images with my dad posing in front ouf our lawn dinosaur. The great hunter with his prey!