Q: “Why did the FROG cross the road?”
A: “He was tied to the chicken….”
OK, OK…, I’ll stop with the cereal box jokes.
Back in 2013, Mrs. handsawgeek and I passed through this strange phase of building chicken-themed action devices.
This week’s post features our rendition of the classic ‘pecking chickens’ toy. If none of you have ever seen one of these before, they are quite ingenious.
The neck and head of each chicken figure is hinged to the body so that it can swing freely up and down. These are collectively attached by strings to a weight that hangs underneath the paddle. As the paddle is moved in a circular motion, the weight swings around, pulling on each chicken’s string in succession. One after another, the chickens appear to be feeding from the center ‘grain’ pile.
I recall seeing Roy Underhill build one of these on an episode of The WoodWright’s Shop back in one of the earlier seasons.
Again, this is one of those cool wood toys that everyone who sees it is compelled to pick it up and play.
Mrs. ‘geek’ and I spent a week’s worth of evenings building about a dozen of these toys, production line style. Her job was to cut out all of the platforms and chicken parts on the scroll saw, and I did all the stock layout, drilling, and assembly at the workbench. We shared the painting duties.
Most of them were gifted away to family and friends.
I did recently find the parts to an unfinished one stashed in a box buried deep within the handsawgeek workshop. Its completion is now on my official tuh-doo list…and this one I’m keeping!
I hadn’t posted any of these on this blog until now because I didn’t have any completed units on hand to photograph.
This all changed recently when my daughter presented me with a box containing virtually all of the wood toys I had built for the grand-kiddoes over the past few years. Every single one was broken in some way!
“They’re pretty hard on their toys”, she said.
Two of these old pecking chicken toys were in that lot, so this week I got back into ‘poultry mode’ and facilitated all the necessary repairs and paint touch-ups.
Good as new!
If anyone out there is interested in making one of your own, I can put up a basic building guide on a future blog post.
These toys definitely make good stocking stuffers, and would likely sell well at craft fairs.
As well as being a definite highly prized item at those Christmas party “White Elephant” gift exchanges!