Spinning Tops

This is a bunch of spinning tops I made this last week out of wood and corian.

I used some of the best and brightest corian colors I have for these tops. I let everybody pick their favorite color out of what we had, and then on Christmas morning they each got a top made out of that color in their stocking.





Published in: on 25 December, 2010 at 10:50 pm  Comments (1)  

The New Ball and Chain

Lately I’ve been playing around with whittling, and with all the spare time available during the holiday weekend, I had many hours available.

The first thing that I made were some willow-bark whistle. Unfortunately, I don’t have any of those to photograph, because I gave them all away. None of them even made it home.

Next, here are some silly little wooden knives. My kids think these are fantastic. Again, these are made from willow branches:


These projects were fun enough that I decided to try my hand at some of the classic whittling projects: a linked chain and a ball trapped in a box. Both of these were carved from a fir 2×4.


Published in: on 5 July, 2010 at 3:05 pm  Comments (5)  

It’s a snake!

I was playing around with interlocking 3D puzzles today, and ended up making this snake.

The wood is eastern red oak salvaged from a pallet, and the eye pin is brass.


Edit to add:

I’ve been asked whether the snake holds together when you play with it. It does. If you remove the brass pin that is used for the eyes, you can then take it apart, one piece at a time:


Published in: on 12 June, 2010 at 1:17 am  Comments (4)  

Penguin Family

Here’s a penguin family puzzle Mary Cate and I made. I did the woodworking, and she did the painting.



Published in: on 10 June, 2010 at 2:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

It takes a village

After I gave my daughter the villiage playset, I asked her if there was anything else she’d like me to make for it. She said she wanted a school, a church, and little people.

For scale, the small people are about an inch tall. It’s a good thing that we no longer have any toddlers to choke on them.

I’ve never tried scrollsawing anything as small as these people, but they’re really fun. I think I’ll make a bunch of them for myself to play with.


Published in: on 9 March, 2010 at 1:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

Animal Family Puzzles

Here’s a few animal family puzzles that I made this weekend. The cats are made from walnut, the elephants from cedar, the horses from salvaged oak (an old bed frame), and the mice from mahogany.





Published in: on 8 March, 2010 at 9:29 am  Comments (2)  

Activity Train


For my youngest’s birthday, I made him this toy train, where each car (except for the engine and caboose) is an activity toy.

The first one is a miniature towers of Hanoi/stacking game, the second one is another stacking game with a roof that also fits the house playset, and the third has working gears.

The three cars are actually identical, with different stacking/interlocking toys that can be put on top of them.






Published in: on 9 January, 2010 at 5:34 pm  Comments (1)  

Marble Machine

What does it do? It doesn’t do anything. That’s the beauty of it.

This was a relatively short project, but I had more fun with it than with any other this Christmas season.

It’s pointless, mechanical, and mesmerizing.

It has been named The Marble-a-gig by my son, who received it as a gift.


Published in: on 3 January, 2010 at 2:47 pm  Comments (6)  

House Playset

This is a toy set that I made for Christmas. You can arrange the blocks, roofs, and accessories together in any number of ways to make farms, villages, etc..

Each picture below shows about 1/3 of the set that I gave my daughter for Christmas.

What was really fun was making the accessories (fences, trees, bushes, outhouses, etc.) when I was done with the main set.



Published in: on 2 January, 2010 at 10:54 am  Comments (2)  

Patience, Grasshopper


This is a grasshopper pull toy that I’ve made for my daughter. She saw a picture of one and fell in love with it, so now she’s getting one for Christmas.

When it rolls, the legs go up and down. It’s quite fun.

The wheels and eyes are made from Corian, the body is saman, and the legs are some mysterious hardwood from something I salvaged for its wheels.

Published in: on 6 December, 2009 at 3:46 am  Comments (2)