Zany Wooden Toys that Whiz, Spin, Pop and Fly

A lot of great toy projects that are easy to build and will likely be greatly enjoyed


Zany Wooden Toys that Whiz, Spin, Pop and Fly

Making toys is a lot of fun; even more so when you make the toys with (and for) younger folk. Gilsdorf's 'Zany Wooden Toys' contains a nice variety of toys that will likely appeal to toy aficionados aged 1 to 12. Once children hit puberty they gravitate to other endeavours. So, you've got a good decade or so to hone your toy building skills and to have some really great quality time with the little ones in your life.
There are quite a number of projects in this book that older children can make on their own. Nonetheless, it's a good idea to ensure that an adult is always in the workshop when children are present. If you have really young children, one idea is to make all the parts yourself, and then bring the children in to work on assembly and 'customization' (the Appendix contains information on painting and decorating the projects and tips on working with children),

The projects in this book are presented in a step-by-step process. There is a short description of the toy (what it does and how to use it) usually amplified with an illustration. Accompanying this is a photo of the toy (I assume so that you know the author has actually tested the toy by making it.) This is followed by a diagram of the project and its parts, a cutting pattern, and a materials and tools list. Each project also has an "Engineering Advice" column that gives construction or assembly tips.
I found the projects in this book easy to follow. The presentation is engaging, the format colourful, and the text and illustrations generally clear. The main font used in the book is a sans serif, which is easy to read. However for the introductory text and for the materials and tools lists, the publisher has used a font that mimics hand printed text. I find it hard to read. A book like this is meant to be used in the workshop, and a spiral binding would have been a better choice. I wonder if the spine is going to hold up for very long.
These mild complaints aside, 'Zany Wooden Toys' has a lot of great toy projects that are easy to build and will likely be greatly enjoyed.




  • Introduction
  • Shooters
  • Launchers
  • Games
  • Toys
  • Gumball Machines
  • Appendix: Woodworking Basics
  • Appendices
PUBLISHER:Fox Chapel Publishing
AVAILABLE FROM:Your local bookstore or online
FORMAT:Softcover, 223 pages
AUTHOR:Bob Gilsdorf
Carl Duguay
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