Mason Dixon Toy Making 2011

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Blog entry by Karson posted 02-17-2011 05:28 AM 4843 reads 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I was chatting in a message to A1Jim and telling about the work that I did today and I got to thinking about something that has come up in making our toys.

The newspaper article this year brought a new person who wanted to volunteer on helping make toys. But, he has a full time job and is not retired so he wanted to do it at his home in nights and weekends.

So it was agreed that he would help up make our Lincoln Log Cabin toy. This requires about 5,000 ft of 3/4 square stock. We are making it out of Sapele scrap that was donated.

We have been busy for about 5 weeks cutting around 150-300 3’ long sticks each week and he’s been cutting them to length and routing the pieces etc.

But it turn out he is a maintenance man at a prison in Maryland. He has talked to the management and has gotten the OK in the last week to have the inmates assist in making the toys. This is a pilot program to see how it works out.

I’ve tried to do this before, but the prison wasn’t interested because they didn’t want an outsider to come into the prison and have the problems associated with that. In this case John is an insider, He’s already been approved to work with the inmates etc.

So this week they have been using the wood shop in the prison to do the round over and the dadoing of the pieces. The inmates are enjoying the opportunity to learn to use sharp tools for constructive means.

If it works out we might have them select they own toy. It would also be nice if the State would pay for the materials. Since these are not being sold, but given to charities.

We have told the inmates that they are also able to get a toy from our organization to give to a child or grandchild that they have.

Hopefully this will be an enhancement to our toy making activities.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

14 comments so far

View lew's profile


12823 posts in 4210 days

#1 posted 02-17-2011 05:41 AM

Wow, Karson, what a great turn of events. This has to be a win-win situation for everyone involved!


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Mark Geserick's profile

Mark Geserick

35 posts in 4405 days

#2 posted 02-17-2011 05:42 AM

Bravo Karson. You never know how something as simple as a woodworking hobby(don’t take that the wrong way) can affect lives. Especially the men in prison. Who knows what this may do for some of the inmates to have something constructive and at the same time helping out kids?
I met you once a few years ago at an LJ picnic. I could tell you were a good person and father. Having met your son also. Keep up the good work.

God bless
Mark G.

-- Mark, South Jersey

View Karson's profile (online now)


35194 posts in 4855 days

#3 posted 02-17-2011 06:18 AM

Mark: Glad to see you still around, How are you and your wife doing. You still at the post office.

I keep asking Lee if we are going to have another picnic. He keeps saying yes, but we never seem to get it done. Maybe this year. You missed the last one.

It will be great you see you guys again.

And thanks for the comments. I think this will be a real win/win situation if it gets pulled off successfully.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 4228 days

#4 posted 02-17-2011 06:22 AM

Hi Karson

As you know I have worked prison industries in three different states for 35 years. In all three states that I worked in I was given a building and a bugget to put a custom wood division in. The industries were set up with inmate labor and we did proto types, designed new furniture lines for the bigger furniture industries, built custom furniture and cabinets. These industries are self supporting and recieved no money from the state. I cannot begin to tell you how much the inmates that worked in my shops really enjoyed doing this type of work. A lot of them were very tallented and did a great job for me. I hope this project of yours works out for you. I know the inmates really appriciate having an opportunity to do this tpe of work.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View a1Jim's profile


117690 posts in 4031 days

#5 posted 02-17-2011 06:27 AM

Great story I hope the prisoner thing works out.

View Grumpy's profile


25536 posts in 4305 days

#6 posted 02-17-2011 07:05 AM

Good one Karson. Any way to make toys for kids is a good way.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18639 posts in 4130 days

#7 posted 02-17-2011 07:38 AM

All the best to all involved. Sounds like a worth will effort.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10669 posts in 4506 days

#8 posted 02-17-2011 07:43 AM

Sounds really good, Karson.

Very good idea…

They have the time to put in on it… LOL

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6866 posts in 4434 days

#9 posted 02-17-2011 02:54 PM

That’s great buddy;

You could end up with nothing to do, if this goes well. Then how you going to stay out of trouble?


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View PurpLev's profile


8551 posts in 4103 days

#10 posted 02-17-2011 04:17 PM

that is a very positively interesting outcome of things Karson. curious as to how it will turn out.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3569 days

#11 posted 02-17-2011 05:33 PM

hope it will work out sounds like a great oppetunity if …..
to learn others to work with wood and be creative on the long lane

thank´s for sharing Karson

take care

View Woodwrecker's profile


4228 posts in 4030 days

#12 posted 02-17-2011 05:47 PM

Not that sounds like a positive rehabilitative program to me.
Good going Karson.

View jack1's profile


2128 posts in 4481 days

#13 posted 02-17-2011 11:54 PM


-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View Napaman's profile


5530 posts in 4531 days

#14 posted 02-18-2011 05:45 AM

very cool!!!

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

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