This looks like a fun book. Great Book of Wooden Toys was originally published in 1986 by American Woodworker and this revised edition has new color photos and the instructions and plans have been updated. There are plans for making Trucks, Airplanes, Boats and Trains. If you're in the market to make toys for your kids or grandkids (or anyone else) this looks like a book for you.
Personally, I like the trains the best!
Who doesn't love a good ol' wooden toy to play with? Norm Marshall's book, Great Book of Wooden Toys, provides a variety of plans for a number of vehicles for the air, land, and sea. Also included in the projects are some cute little animals that can be linked together.
What I especially enjoyed with this book is the extensive amount of information in the Preface regarding wood selection, safety issue (for the children who will be enjoying these toys) and some basic "how to" information that is used for the projects. Being a relative beginner at woodworking I also appreciate the options that are provided throughout the pages. For example, he suggests that you can use his hole-saw process for making the wheels or you can cut them out freehand, use a lathe or even purchase them ready made. How's that for covering all the bases! This same "options" input is provided for a number of topics, including wood selection and finishes. Love it.
Each of the projects comes with a picture of the finished toy, a little information about the vehicle, an exploded view of the components of the toy, as well as detailed plans for each of the parts.The step-by-step directions are quite detailed, giving tidbits of information, warnings, and strategies to prevent problems. It's nice to learn from experience but sometimes it is even better to learn from someone else's!
Due to my current schedule I wasn't able to make one of the projects this month but it's on my "to do list". The Model T car is calling my name. I can't wait to add my version to those currently shared at LumberJocks.com.
My Ratings of The Book
Layout and Appearance: Good balance of pictures, diagrams, and words. Thumbs Up!
Instructions: Easy to follow; precise plans. Thumbs Up!
Project Selection: Air, land, sea; single items and toys that link together. Great combination. Thumbs Up!
Overall: Thumbs Up!
This book was first published in 1986 and has recently been revised for the current generation of hobbyists and woodworkers. The author, Norm Marshall, passed away twenty-eight years ago, but this volume contains the designs for all of the wooden toys he created during his lifetime.
Marshall takes a low key, common sense approach to toy making, suggesting, for example, that they can be built with hand tools and a few handyman power tools, while noting that the addition of other power tools can facilitate the building. Similarly, he takes a scrounger's approach to materials relying not only on wood from the local home centre or lumberyard but also abandoned furniture, flea market finds and so on.
Although on first glance, his toys look fairly simple, they are in fact quite sophisticated and require a fair degree of skill and talent to get them right. There's plenty of measuring, shaping, gluing, assembling and finishing to be done for each toy; enough to challenge the average beginner to intermediate woodworker. There are plans, pictures, instructions and materials lists for over fifty wooden toys, including a F16 jet fighter, the Spirit of St. Louis trans-Atlantic airplane, a working crane, a Model T car, and a train with various cars. I was pleased to see that since these toys are meant to be played with, the instructions have been updated to include the latest information on non-toxic materials and finishes. Although they are not designed exactly to scale, they do not exhibit the chunkiness of many wooden toys. These models have a sleek, contemporary look to them.
If I have one reservation about the book, it's that the projects seem geared more towards boys than girls. Perhaps it's a reflection of the times when these toys were designed, but the majority of these toys would be traditionally considered 'boy's toys' (e.g. trains, planes, boats, cars, and industrial equipment). Nevertheless, the enduring popularity of wooden toys and these in particular is a testament to the fun that kids have playing with them and that adults have making them.