246 Baby Blocks

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Project by Henry Mowry posted 393 days ago 1486 views 5 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

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,

18 comments so far

View Gintaras's profile


165 posts in 1517 days

#1 posted 393 days ago

nice set

-- Gintaras,

View deon's profile


2150 posts in 1622 days

#2 posted 393 days ago

Looks great!

-- Dreaming patterns

View becikeja's profile


304 posts in 1410 days

#3 posted 393 days ago

I remember as a kid I used to play with blocks for hours and hours. I could build anything. My kids had a set of blocks and we would play with them together. Again as an adult I would play with them for hours and my kids would get bored after about 30 minutes. My kids are now in thier 20’s. Now I need to get some grand kids so I can play with some blocks. Sorry I mean build some blocks :)

This is a great set, and brings back memories.

-- Don't outsmart your common sense

View DaveGlx's profile


285 posts in 1041 days

#4 posted 393 days ago

Wonderful project. Thumbs up!!

-- Dave -

View Brandon's profile


4136 posts in 1548 days

#5 posted 393 days ago

The book suggests a jigsaw is adequate for preparing 8/4 hardwood, and I respectfully disagree.

Haha! I can imagine going through 8/4 oak with a jigsaw blade.

It’s a nice set you’ve made. I’ve been thinking about doing something similar. Thanks for sharing.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View ChrisK's profile


1036 posts in 1678 days

#6 posted 393 days ago

Really nice set of blocks. I used about 80 or 90 board feet of SYP a few years ago to make two sets for my boys and nieces. Stood at the router for what seemed like years rounding over the edges.

-- Chris K

View helluvawreck's profile


15392 posts in 1463 days

#7 posted 393 days ago

That’s a great collection of blocks. If I were a kid and saw them I wouldn’t know where to start. Nice work.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- 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

View a1Jim's profile


111999 posts in 2174 days

#8 posted 393 days ago

Great idea well done.

-- Custom furniture

View Jeff_in_KCMO's profile


140 posts in 937 days

#9 posted 393 days ago

Not that you have the time, but you could probably sell a set like that for $100+ in one of the higher end “learning toy stores” here in Kansas City. I wish I had the time to make a set like that for our kids.

View Sanding2day's profile


922 posts in 443 days

#10 posted 393 days ago

Thats an awesome set of blocks I want to play :) Sure you and your granddaughter will have a fine time with them, thanks for sharing…

-- Dan

View madts's profile


1231 posts in 936 days

#11 posted 393 days ago

I like this a lot. Well done.

-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View jacen68's profile


51 posts in 1623 days

#12 posted 392 days ago

great project, recall playing with blocks as a kid, this set has more pieces then i had access to. Did the book show a picture of a jigsaw? recall people calling a scrollsaw a jigsaw, or maybe put it underneath a table like one would a router.

-- So much to do, so little time.

View Rick's profile


25 posts in 2749 days

#13 posted 392 days ago

What was the title of the book?

-- Rick

View Francois Vigneron's profile

Francois Vigneron

263 posts in 916 days

#14 posted 392 days ago

The perfect gift and not just for kids ! This set has an interesting variety of shapes.

-- Francois Vigneron, Gif-sur-Yvette, France & Altadena, CA

View GerardoArg1's profile


622 posts in 590 days

#15 posted 392 days ago

Excelent gift. Nice job!.

-- Disfruta tu trabajo (enjoy your work) (Bandera, Argentina)

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