246 Baby Blocks

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Project by Mr M's Woodshop posted 06-25-2013 07:40 AM 3002 views 8 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have always looked at sets of hardwood blocks as a wonderful gift for any child. I played with blocks. You played with blocks. My granddaughter needs to play with blocks, too.

I bought the book Making Toys That Teach, and it’s a good thought starter. I decided to make the blocks as the first project … and it’s definitely over the top. The plans call for 264 blocks. The blocks are based on 1-1/2” as the base increment, so I needed a lot of 8/4 hardwood stock, as well as some 4/4 stock … some of which got planed down to 3/8”.

The book suggested I use hardwood odds & ends that were in the shop … but I don’t use enough 8/4 stock to have odds and ends! I did have red oak (which is what I make just about everything from), along with some hard maple left over from when I made the workbench top. I bought a couple of walnut and purpleheart boards for color.

Some tips: the book is great for shape ideas, but lousy for woodworking direction. There isn’t a good cut list, so make your own. I made a spreadsheet which I re-sorted in order to get a good picture of how much stock I needed in each width and thickness.

The book suggests a jigsaw is adequate for preparing 8/4 hardwood, and I respectfully disagree.

The book also shows a proud author holding a digital caliper with a shaped triangular piece exactly .75” wide … and I congratulate the author on his accuracy, but question if my granddaughter will care if the pieces are accurate to within .01”.

Every edge got rounded over that my router table could reach, and every corner got knocked off with my bench top sander. Pieces that showed any hint of splintering went into the scrap bin.

I finished with mineral oil which was very cheap and very available.

Have fun … playing with the children you make these blocks for!

-- Henry Mowry, Santa Clarita, CA,

18 comments so far

View Gintaras's profile


199 posts in 4001 days

#1 posted 06-25-2013 07:52 AM

nice set

-- Gintaras,

View deon's profile


2522 posts in 4105 days

#2 posted 06-25-2013 08:13 AM

Looks great!

-- Dreaming patterns

View becikeja's profile


1172 posts in 3893 days

#3 posted 06-25-2013 01:42 PM

I remember as a kid I used to play with blocks for hours and hours. I could build anything. My kids had a set of blocks and we would play with them together. Again as an adult I would play with them for hours and my kids would get bored after about 30 minutes. My kids are now in thier 20’s. Now I need to get some grand kids so I can play with some blocks. Sorry I mean build some blocks :)

This is a great set, and brings back memories.

-- Don't outsmart your common sense

View DaveGlx's profile


365 posts in 3524 days

#4 posted 06-25-2013 01:47 PM

Wonderful project. Thumbs up!!

-- Dave -

View Brandon's profile


4381 posts in 4031 days

#5 posted 06-25-2013 01:47 PM

The book suggests a jigsaw is adequate for preparing 8/4 hardwood, and I respectfully disagree.

Haha! I can imagine going through 8/4 oak with a jigsaw blade.

It’s a nice set you’ve made. I’ve been thinking about doing something similar. Thanks for sharing.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View ChrisK's profile


2053 posts in 4161 days

#6 posted 06-25-2013 02:05 PM

Really nice set of blocks. I used about 80 or 90 board feet of SYP a few years ago to make two sets for my boys and nieces. Stood at the router for what seemed like years rounding over the edges.

-- Chris K

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3946 days

#7 posted 06-25-2013 02:08 PM

That’s a great collection of blocks. If I were a kid and saw them I wouldn’t know where to start. Nice work.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View a1Jim's profile


118162 posts in 4657 days

#8 posted 06-25-2013 02:09 PM

View J123's profile


363 posts in 3420 days

#9 posted 06-25-2013 03:28 PM

Not that you have the time, but you could probably sell a set like that for $100+ in one of the higher end “learning toy stores” here in Kansas City. I wish I had the time to make a set like that for our kids.

View Sanding2day's profile


1016 posts in 2926 days

#10 posted 06-25-2013 03:39 PM

Thats an awesome set of blocks I want to play :) Sure you and your granddaughter will have a fine time with them, thanks for sharing…

-- Dan

View madts's profile


1956 posts in 3419 days

#11 posted 06-25-2013 06:45 PM

I like this a lot. Well done.

-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View jacen68's profile


55 posts in 4107 days

#12 posted 06-26-2013 04:31 AM

great project, recall playing with blocks as a kid, this set has more pieces then i had access to. Did the book show a picture of a jigsaw? recall people calling a scrollsaw a jigsaw, or maybe put it underneath a table like one would a router.

-- So much to do, so little time.

View Rick Babwin's profile

Rick Babwin

39 posts in 5232 days

#13 posted 06-26-2013 05:43 AM

What was the title of the book?

-- Rick

View Francois Vigneron's profile

Francois Vigneron

263 posts in 3399 days

#14 posted 06-26-2013 07:20 AM

The perfect gift and not just for kids ! This set has an interesting variety of shapes.

-- Francois Vigneron, Gif-sur-Yvette, France & Altadena, CA

View GerardoArg1's profile


1014 posts in 3073 days

#15 posted 06-26-2013 12:50 PM

Excelent gift. Nice job!.

-- Disfruta tu trabajo (enjoy your work) (Bandera, Argentina)

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