Wood Toy & Model Making

Trains, Planes and Automobiles - Making Wooden Toys

wooden toysLike all forms of crafts, there are variables in how they are done. Take woodworking for example, on one end there are the ultimate creations of beauty, more than just furniture, they are works of art. On the other side of the spectrum are the utilitarian creations. Far from works of art, these objects are often made to serve a simple service.

In the video associated video we are creating simple toys for youngster aged 2 to around 6. The wooden toys are basic shapes that kids will recognize, but lack the detail that would make them works of art. They are quickly made with the main thought to be safe for children to use, but that they are also built small so that small hands can hold and carry them with ease. There is no to coat finish applied which helps to reduce the possibility of allergic reactions and being natural wood they are more anti-bacteria than any coated surface would be, much the same as cutting boards.


There is little in the way of parts that are needed for these with the exception of wheels and wooden axles (the axles are ultimately glued in place). The only other part is the kind of wood you want to use, be they glued together cut-offs from your workshop, or if you do me and go out and hand pick a really nice construction grade 2x4.

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Making Whirligigs

Making woodworking objects that move on their own is a bit foreign to many of us woodworkers. This makes these kinds of projects a bit more challenging ... in a fun sort of way. Trying to figure out how something works, and when you are building it, wondering if it really will work like it's supposed to. 

There is a bit of a fascination with these little whimsical little ornaments, and if you happen to have an old antique one, you cold be looking at a very expensive artifact, or at least that what the good folks on the Antiques Roadshow have shown. The older, the more weathered and with almost no paint left these garden and shed ornaments are highly coveted.

Making whirligigs is fun and a bit demanding but there are a few things to keep in mind as you go along. The first thing to remember, even before you start, is with whirligigs, BIGGER is better. Remember, these things are often going to be at some distance ... in the garden, on the garage, shed or greenhouse, maybe on a far corner of the yard. All this means if you make it too small, it will be harder to see or won't even get noticed so when you think you have the correct size .... double it, make it really big so it can easily be seen and enjoyed.

Another important consideration is the wood ...

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Making a Child's Doll Cradle

We all get different kinds of satisfaction from all sorts of different projects. For me, utility projects and furniture have the most appeal but once in a while I like to make things for other members of the family too. In this case, a young niece. Another member of the family hand made a doll's quilt, so to make a complete package a doll was purchased and of course some sort of a bed is needed, so why not a cradled.

Since this is a child's toy I wanted something that would not be too heavy to carry around, yet sturdy and of course easy to clean. The wood I selected was some rough cut Cedar of Lebanon that was well below 12% on the moisture scale. I knew at the outset that this cradle was going to be painted (not by me, I hate covering wood with paint) so I was not so concerned about how the colors of the wood matched up.

As usual, this was a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants project, which means I wasn't working from a formal pattern, so I needed something to work with. I started by measuring the hand made quilt and from that could determine a base for the cradle which would be around 9 by 20 inches on the base and 10 inches in height.

The first order of business is to size the wood which means breaking down the rough cut wood on the jointer, then the planner then the bandsaw and finally back to the planner .... I always love dressing lumber because it's just like a ...

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