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Making Wooden Toys

Updated: Nov 21, 2021

A comeback for the toys of yesteryear

“Play is the work of childhood”

Jean Piaget-Child Psychologist

Anybody wants to join me in the sand-box?

Some parents of young children, realizing the dangers posed by the “computer age” and the video games in the development of their offspring, are going back to the toys of ages past. Being aware also of the onslaught of mass-produced plastic toys that often end up in landfills and in the oceans, polluting the planet, many are opting for the wooden toys that are sometimes found at craft shows.

When making toys, I do them in batches, using jigs to increase productivity. I usually make templates for the various parts and keep them for future runs. In the beginning, I bought ready-made wheels, but then I figured a way of making them in the shop fairly fast and consistent as far as diameter goes.

There are several videos on making wheels on youtube, but most of them are made out of wood on face grain. The drawback of that is that by the time they’re sanded, they end up slightly oval due to the grain orientation. I make the wheels out of wood on end grain and they all come out nice and round. Here is a short video of my set up.

When making toys, there are a couple safety issues that I pay special attention to: I round all corners and edges to prevent injury should the kids play rough-and -tumble, and although I leave most of the toys bare, if I color anything, I make sure to use non-toxic paints and finishes.

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