Here’s a project that was a labor of love. Seriously, I mean the labor part – this project took about 6 months. True, I worked on other things during the 6 months, but overall from rough cut to final finish it took 45-50 hours total.

This started in summer 2015 when I noticed that I had lot of wood scraps under the work bench. There were various sizes, and various types of wood – and some of them looked like what could be childs blocks. My new grandson was about 6 months at the time, and it struck me that at about a year old he should be able to play with blocks. Toddler’s love to pick them up and stack them, which helps build their motor skills. I also remember that my Grandma had a box of blocks in the toy closet, and all of the grand children got them out and played with them for years.

This first thing that I did was take make a big pile of scraps that I thought could be the basic shapes of kids blocks. Then one by one I cut them down to size on the table saw. I ended up with a pile of 72 rough cut blocks.

how to make handmade blocks

When I first started this project I don’t think I thought about how long it would take to completely sand and finish 72 childrens blocks. Each block had to be safe for kids, but safe enough that a toddler could put it in its mouth. That meant sanding each block in 80 grit sandpaper, then 120 grit, and finally 220 grit. Then finally each block needed to be finished in Danish oil (part linseed oil, part denatured alcohol, and part varnish), which is completely non-toxic once dry. Pretty quickly I realized that the time required was about 30 minutes per block. So you can see why this dragged on for months, finishing a few blocks over each weekend as I had time available.

Once the blocks were done (December, lol), I wanted to build a box to store them in. I also wanted to have my Grandson’s name stenciled on the side. I decided to cut his name out using the scroll saw. Most of the blocks were maple or red oak, so I wanted to make the box out of some maple boards I had. I decided to put casters on the bottom of the box, and rope on one side – so he could pull it like a wagon. I also made two of the sides longer by several inches. This way there would be some edges he could grab to move or push the box around as well.

Here’s a picture of the unassembled finished pieces of the storage wagon:

handmade childrens wagon

I vowed that I would never again make another set of blocks, because of the time involved. However, I hope that this set of blocks lives well beyond me for many generations. They tell me that this is one of the first things he goes for in his playroom – which makes me very happy. =)

handmade children's toy

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