|Project by Henry Mowry||posted 162 days ago||1043 views||5 times favorited||17 comments|
I have always looked at sets of hardwood blocks as a wonderful gift for any child. I played with blocks. You played with blocks. My granddaughter needs to play with blocks, too.
I bought the book Making Toys That Teach, and it’s a good thought starter. I decided to make the blocks as the first project … and it’s definitely over the top. The plans call for 264 blocks. The blocks are based on 1-1/2” as the base increment, so I needed a lot of 8/4 hardwood stock, as well as some 4/4 stock … some of which got planed down to 3/8”.
The book suggested I use hardwood odds & ends that were in the shop … but I don’t use enough 8/4 stock to have odds and ends! I did have red oak (which is what I make just about everything from), along with some hard maple left over from when I made the workbench top. I bought a couple of walnut and purpleheart boards for color.
Some tips: the book is great for shape ideas, but lousy for woodworking direction. There isn’t a good cut list, so make your own. I made a spreadsheet which I re-sorted in order to get a good picture of how much stock I needed in each width and thickness.
The book suggests a jigsaw is adequate for preparing 8/4 hardwood, and I respectfully disagree.
The book also shows a proud author holding a digital caliper with a shaped triangular piece exactly .75” wide … and I congratulate the author on his accuracy, but question if my granddaughter will care if the pieces are accurate to within .01”.
Every edge got rounded over that my router table could reach, and every corner got knocked off with my bench top sander. Pieces that showed any hint of splintering went into the scrap bin.
I finished with mineral oil which was very cheap and very available.
Have fun … playing with the children you make these blocks for!
-- Henry Mowry, Santa Clarita, CA