Building blocks

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Forum topic by nate22 posted 09-04-2013 08:52 PM 1255 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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475 posts in 2874 days

09-04-2013 08:52 PM

I am making a building block set for kids. With the blocks should I make the edges smooth or just leave them. Should I make them different colors or leave them natural. What would you guys make them out of pine or hardwoods. I know these are questions I don’t really need to ask but I just wanted to get other guys opinion on them.

-- Gracie's wooden signs. Middlebury, In.

6 replies so far

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Jim Jakosh

20483 posts in 3104 days

#1 posted 09-04-2013 09:07 PM

When I was a kid my dad worked at a brush factory and he always brought home blocks for us to play with. As I recall the edges were just broken with a sander- never sharp and they lasted a long time!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

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4769 posts in 3242 days

#2 posted 09-04-2013 09:12 PM

Edges must be smooth to prevent injury and make them from maple. Coat them with a food-safe varnish.

View Tim's profile


3807 posts in 1960 days

#3 posted 09-05-2013 12:00 AM

If I had the time to make a set of blocks I’d make unit blocks since you can build a wide variety of things with them. Definitely break the edges a little with a sander or router. Maple is a good choice and if you want color, it seems like the good commercial blocks use something like non toxic dyes that are less likely to chip off than paint.

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2970 days

#4 posted 09-05-2013 12:33 AM

My wood choice would be hard and smooth, like Sycamore, Beech or Maple, maybe mix in some Cherry or Walnut for contrast. I would stay away from Ash or Oak because of splinters. For low cost, Poplar might work.

I much prefer to break the edges with my low angle block plane.

For color I’d use some analine dye.

And for finish I would use water based poly, applied with a paint pad.

View nate22's profile


475 posts in 2874 days

#5 posted 09-07-2013 02:11 PM

For the blocks should I make a case for them to go in or not. And to put my name on them would stamping it on be good or not.

-- Gracie's wooden signs. Middlebury, In.

View mtenterprises's profile


933 posts in 2692 days

#6 posted 09-08-2013 02:09 PM

Just my thoughts and observances on blocks for your own kids. I had 4 kids and made blocks that were passed around, used and abused and imagined into soooo many things. Blocks are the best toy any kid can have. First off manufactured blocks are usually hard maple but for your own kids anything will do since they will come into your shop and pick through your scrap bin and make additions. Sand them smooth and break the edges. As for a finish IMHO I wouldn’t use any, it’s just safer if they put them in their mouth, and they will put them in their mouth. And why waste your time since they will finish them on their own using crayons, stickers or magic markers. When they do that it makes you feel bad that you wasted your time finishing them. BUT on the other hand it makes you proud that they are using their own imagination. Don’t make a fitted case for them since the block collection will grow just build a durable lidless over sized wooden box maybe with casters.
Well, reread what you wrote and it sounds like you want to make blocks to sell or give away if that is the case it is BEST NOT to finish the blocks, or any toys for that matter, since toys need childproof finishes (you can find much debate on this subject on line). Now as for the rest of what I wrote it’s all still very true All kids love blocks whether manufactured or hand made by a relative. If you end up making boxes too just stamp your name on the box another idea would be a canvass drawstring bag with your logo on it.

And now a quick block story. Back in the mid 70’s my daughter was very young and one day was running around with just one block. I asked her what she was doing and she said it was her calculator. CHANGE TIMES!!! My granddaughter (one of my son’s kids not my daughters) came up to me one day with one of those same blocks and said here grandpa the cell phone is for you. Blocks transcend time!


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