Simple Stacking Tower Toy

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Project by adrianpglover posted 04-21-2014 12:27 PM 1290 views 2 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Simple Stacking Tower Toy
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My latest fully complete project.

This is a simple stacking tower toy that I made for my 10 month old daughter. Most everything I build is either to replicate the style of something else or to use a plan, so the design is from the plans shown in “Making Toys that Teach” by Les Neufield, which my wife picked out at Rockler some months back and said “build this”.

The horizontal blocks are made of 3/4 red oak. The pillar is maple. Finished in tung oil.

I don’t have any more pictures than this, because my daughter has been playing with it ever since. I supposed I should say, gnawing on it ever since.

The most interesting part of this project has been trying to explain it to my coworkers. Most of them don’t have children, are electrical engineers or programmers, in their mid to late 20s, and don’t know what a “stacking tower toy is”. The default explanation I had to give them was that it’s a single tower in the “Towers of Hanoi” and then they got it. At church, it was just the opposite. It is quite interesting to see how our past experiences change how we have to describe things to others.

4 comments so far

View Charles Maxwell's profile

Charles Maxwell

1107 posts in 4617 days

#1 posted 04-21-2014 12:58 PM

I’m shocked that the programmers didn’t understand ‘the toy.’ If I recall correctly, The Tower of Hanoi problem is a first year CompSci exercise in recursive coding where the goal is to solve the puzzle in the minimum # of moves (I remember that is 2^n-1, where n is the # of discs). If your children take to this wonderful puzzle they may very well become coders!! I made one of these years ago to encourage my own children. No such luck in influencing their futures as programmers! No programmers in the house. Moreover, they come to my wife and I for help with all things computer! Go figure!

-- Max the "night janitor" at

View Tooch's profile


2013 posts in 2686 days

#2 posted 04-22-2014 03:17 AM

nice build- I think I may do this for my youngest. Just out of curiosity, do know if Tung oil is baby safe? I was wondering if something like a butcher block conditioner may be more appropriate. I’m not trying to be rude, I just don’t know.

-- "Well, the world needs ditch-diggers too..." - Judge Smails

View adrianpglover's profile


60 posts in 2334 days

#3 posted 04-22-2014 11:39 AM

I don’t take any offense from questions or helpful advice. Here’s what I was thinking when I chose my finish.

I’ve looked around online and have come up with conflicting views on various finishes. In the end, the main thing I was able to find is that “any” finish is safe so long as it completely cures before the child gets it. That being said, if the child starts chewing it and swallowing pieces, I might be more concerned with the effects of the wood itself than the finish. In the end, tung oil is a hardener that gets absorbed into the wood, so it’s not going to flake off like some other finishes would. I would have used either a butcher block finish or a salad bowl finish, but I didn’t have either and I figured it’s only one toy, so it shouldn’t be much worse than the stuff she’s chewing on from China.

View jeff_williams's profile


13 posts in 3070 days

#4 posted 04-23-2014 12:46 PM

First thing I thought when looking at the image on the project page, “Where are the other two pegs?” My first degree is CompSci. We covered it in Discrete Math.

Good job on this project. As a newer dad homemade toys are high on my todo list.

-- Jeff_Williams

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