Grasshopper Pull Toy

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Blog entry by Donna Menke posted 1060 days ago 3475 reads 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Back in May our daughter came to visit with us for a few days. We like to work together in the shop so that is what we did. We each knew a young child that we wanted to make a toy for, so I inquired here about good toy books. I bought a couple of them and we made these grasshoppers from the plans and instructions in the book Making Heirloom Toys by Jim Makowicki.

I had lots of scrap walnut and cherry left over from the two harp-making projects, so we used that for our bodies. We made the legs from other scraps of zebra, cocobolo, figured maple, and turned the eyes from ebony. Here it is all ready to go.

We have cut out out the bodies and ripped the legs.

These are two views of the workbench where almost everything is done in my shop. I’m measuring for the holes for the antenna that are at oblique angles and should be symmetrical. They came out OK. That little had drill is my favorite for controlled drilling, but I would not want to make hundreds of holes with it.

The bodies and legs have been rounded using the 6” belt sander and a lot of hand sanding. I prefer this technique to using the router table even though I have a great set-up for that purpose. Just don’t trust routers.

This is the second day and we are finishing up very late at night so that she can bring the completed toys home with her. We are punch-drunk tired (not mentioning a couple of beers) but bound and determined to finish at least her 2 toys. And we did.
We were very proud of our drying rack- not pretty, but it worked.
I finally got around this week to finishing up with my two toys. I had helped Rebecca to finish sanding her two- and then got busy with other things. So here are my finished grasshopper pull toys with some closer-up photos so you can see how they were constructed.

This was a great project by a super toy designer, and all the problems I had were due to my own very considerable idiocy and lack of foresight. Biggest mistake was in using smaller wheels than he said to use. That, and using shaped store-bought wheels, made the wheel-leg connection difficult and not as sturdy as it should be.

-- "So much wood. . .so little time!"

8 comments so far

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

12851 posts in 2584 days

#1 posted 1060 days ago

very nice and fun to read posting

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View gfadvm's profile


10580 posts in 1291 days

#2 posted 1060 days ago

Very cool collaberative project. I’ve got to get that book as my granddaughter likes Papadoc made toys.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Diane's profile


546 posts in 2724 days

#3 posted 1060 days ago

So beautiful and cute too.

View sras's profile


3780 posts in 1730 days

#4 posted 1060 days ago

Looks like they turned out great! Nice looking toys.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View BYGeorgia's profile


30 posts in 1403 days

#5 posted 1060 days ago

Really nice toys that will be enoyed for some time to come. Also, very good post on the process.

Making them with your daughter…priceless.

View Bertha's profile


12951 posts in 1294 days

#6 posted 1060 days ago

Are these available for sale? I’d like to own one.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Donna Menke's profile

Donna Menke

568 posts in 2867 days

#7 posted 1059 days ago

Bertha- they took about 12 hours each, and I like to get $10/hr, and that doesn’t even cover the cost of the wood. If that doesn’t scare you enough then please get in touch with me privately:

-- "So much wood. . .so little time!"

View Donna Menke's profile

Donna Menke

568 posts in 2867 days

#8 posted 1059 days ago

Oops- meant Al.

-- "So much wood. . .so little time!"

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