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Parker and Landon's Box of Blocks

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Project by Cubby posted 04-02-2012 02:38 PM 1706 views 7 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

“I can’t throw them away.”

Just a stack of wood cutoffs, taking up space in the workshop. It is hard for me to give them up. They would burn nicely in the fire place (won’t do it). Perhaps the garbage? No way, I won’t even think of my wood nuzzling next to potato peels. And then, I see Tawney, their mom, my brother’s daughter. “Didn’t I make a box of blocks for the boys (her sons)?”, I asked. “No”, she replied. An “AHA” moment!, and a new project is born.

This is one example of what woodworkers can do with the cutoffs that clutter the shop. The completed project is a sturdy cherry box filled with those otherwise doomed pieces of wood, all milled and finished using hand tools and filled TO THE TOP. With observation and reasoning, there is a systematic solution that will enable Parker and Landon’s dad to get them back in. Another family member, Anna, tests them out.

Uses for this piece, filled with more than 700 individual blocks, are virtually endless.

1. Mathematics- counting, measuring, English system, metric system, longer, shorter, wider, thicker…
2. Engineering- building, stacking, dominoing, storing
3. Expansion- get them wet and you will learn quickly of the power of wood expansion
4. Wood species identification
5. Wood grain- with the grain, against the grain, face grain, end grain
6. Cut Plane- flat sawn, quarter sawn, rift sawn
7. etc., etc., etc.,

Additionally, it is an excellent exercise in milling and showcases the advantage of hand planes.


.....and it is virtually indestructible (unless it gets wet), a family heirloom that will last for generations.

-- Ron Baird, Pennsylvania, WINDGAP375@aol.com "WORK HARD, BE GOOD, HAVE FUN"





13 comments so far

View rasp's profile

rasp

75 posts in 914 days


#1 posted 04-02-2012 03:25 PM

that is actually an excellent gift. it’ll last longer than any plastic toy, never have to replace the batteries ,and it inspires the next generation of builders and constructors.

i really like the metal handle you mortised into the side of the box. very nice touch.

View HalDougherty's profile

HalDougherty

1820 posts in 1893 days


#2 posted 04-02-2012 03:25 PM

That’s one very impressive project and the best use of unusable wood I’ve seen in a long time. I may have to copy your idea. Just getting them back in the box will be like putting a jigsaw puzzle together. LOL

-- Hal, Tennessee http://www.first285.com

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112096 posts in 2233 days


#3 posted 04-02-2012 03:57 PM

Great Idea Ron,well done.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Cubby's profile

Cubby

46 posts in 2795 days


#4 posted 04-02-2012 05:50 PM

Rasp, Hal and Jim, Thank you for the kind comments. I value the opinions of fellow woodworkers like you. Thanks again.
Ron Baird

-- Ron Baird, Pennsylvania, WINDGAP375@aol.com "WORK HARD, BE GOOD, HAVE FUN"

View RGtools's profile

RGtools

3302 posts in 1310 days


#5 posted 04-02-2012 06:43 PM

The warning on the side made my day. Thanks for sharing. The first picture really does not do the scale of this box justice. At first I thought is was about the size of a shoebox, then I saw the picture with your child. I think I would find myself sneeking it to play with the blocks when the kids weren’t looking.

Good choice on the handplanes…doing that with a jointer/planer would have been scary.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View balidoug's profile

balidoug

363 posts in 1134 days


#6 posted 04-02-2012 07:09 PM

One other use, leaned from my daughter not so many years ago: the effects of gravity and acceleration, leaned by releasing one block directly over the head of sleeping father. Great use of odds and ends. I, too, have a growing collection I’m not willing to toss. You’re lucky you know someone of an age to appreciate them (though, like RG, I might sneak in for an hour of wreckreation when no one was looking).

-- From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. Immanuel Kant

View JoeinDE's profile

JoeinDE

373 posts in 1979 days


#7 posted 04-02-2012 07:20 PM

Nicely done. I did the same thing, just on a much smaller scale for both of my nephews. Then a made another set for my kids. They are great toys until my 2 year old daughter decides to see what happens when she hits my 5 yr old son over the head with one.

-- A bad craftsmen blames his cheap #$%ing tools

View chodgson's profile

chodgson

21 posts in 1340 days


#8 posted 04-02-2012 10:37 PM

I want to make some blocks for my own son and niece, and have been trying to decide whether to spend the money to make them out of hardwood or just to use spruce… the decision would be easier if I had an off-cut pile like that – some of your off-cuts look nicer than the wood I have on the rack :)

View lizardhead's profile

lizardhead

518 posts in 1497 days


#9 posted 04-03-2012 01:02 AM

That kid has a lot of building to do

-- Lizardhead---Yeah but it's a dry heat--Tempe, Az

View Helkat's profile

Helkat

74 posts in 952 days


#10 posted 04-03-2012 04:26 AM

Just the box itself is a really nice project!

The huge pile of blocks is great – it makes me want to start building a city…

-- Nat, UPstate NY, http://www.cordlessimpactdriverhq.com/

View camps764's profile

camps764

794 posts in 1016 days


#11 posted 01-12-2014 11:51 PM

This is awesome! I have a shop full of “blocks”...can’t wait to get started.

What did you use to finish?

Thanks in advance

-- Steve. Visit my website http://www.campbellwoodworking.com

View Cubby's profile

Cubby

46 posts in 2795 days


#12 posted 01-15-2014 05:43 PM

Steve,
I used merely a paste wax. Good luck.

-- Ron Baird, Pennsylvania, WINDGAP375@aol.com "WORK HARD, BE GOOD, HAVE FUN"

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

15798 posts in 1522 days


#13 posted 01-15-2014 08:00 PM

Wow! What a wonderful collection of blocks and that storage box is so nicely done.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

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