Wood for kids blocks

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This has probably been hashed here many times but I need a quick answer. My 7 month old Grand daugther said she wanted some building blocks. Weeellll, I'm sure that's what she said. Humer me.
Got lots of wood but not sure what kind to use and does it need a finish? They will be chewed on.
Al in WA (Haven't made it to Mt yet.)
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Maple is a great choice.

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Al wrote:

Little thinking outside the box here, but... wouldn't it make sense to toddle down to the local toy store and just pick up some blocks? Do you really have the urge to carve letters and figures into a bunch of little pieces of wood?
-Joe Barta
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Sure do. I'm retired and love to make things for our 9 kids and 25 Gkids. What are Gpa's for? And have lots of hard maple.
Al in WA
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Al wrote:

I can dig it. But I suppose you and I have different ideas of fun. Fun for me would be one or two blocks. Beyond that...
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Just the blocks alone can be enough. No need for letters or numbers. The kids these days! Tom
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tom wrote:

Well that just takes all the sport out of it! I suppose they can learn how to spell by popping in the "Learn Your ABCs in 26 Easy Steps" CD into the computer.
Personally, I think if I were a little dude, I'd want MY grandpa to take that maple and make me a wooden hammer and some wooden boxes to beat on and make a shitload of noise! Keep the blocks ;-)
Joe Barta
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take that maple and make me a wooden hammer <<<
Why??? She'll learn to chunk the blocks at the cat by the time she's 9 months old. ;-(
RM~
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You raising your own country there Gpa.......?
Just take a good look at the "commercial" ones though and you'll see how the edges and corners are eased over ever so nicely. I don't know that any finish is applied since it probably wouldn't last long but I do recall someone here saying they colored some blocks by soaking them in a pot of food safe dye. Never tried it myself so I have no idea how it would come out.
Bob S.

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Actually, the safest and cheapest food safe die is Kool-Aid! Just mix up a package of un-sweetened and experiment with the length of soak for the wood you are using.
--
LARRY CHAPMAN
"Bob S" < snipped-for-privacy@spam.com> wrote in message
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in article Xns9735D784778Ejbartaapknet@207.115.17.102, Joe Barta at snipped-for-privacy@apk.net wrote on 12/23/05 7:11 PM:

Joe
You're being Practical and Cost Effective (maybe not a bad idea but......) Seems Al wants to make something for someone no matter the cost nor time. S.W.M.B.O. spent almost two years making a knitted Ark AND Animals for a Great Nephew. Point is you can't spend efficiently to replace what you make personally.
Ed
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Sat, Dec 24, 2005, 2:11am (EST+5) snipped-for-privacy@apk.net (JoeBarta) doth mumble: Little thinking outside the box here, but... wouldn't it make sense to toddle down to the local toy store and just pick up some blocks? Do you really have the urge to carve letters and figures into a bunch of little pieces of wood?
It ain't rocket science. If I was really hard core, I'd look into one of thoe letter routing thingies. Or, use a woodburner. Or, chip carve. Or, draw them on with a marker. Or, just cut out a pciture, and glue it on - Titebond is food safe.
JOAT You'll never get anywhere if you believe what you "hear". What do you "know"?. - Granny Weatherwax
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Al When we were young my Dad made me blocks out of 2X material. The were in single, doubles, triples and quads. We had hundreds of them and we always had enough to build whatever we wanted. I am sure he just set up and made them from all the scrap wood he could gather. Dad is of course long gone but my Sister and I fondly remember the blocks we had as children.
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Bob AZ wrote:

Now THAT'S a cool idea. I was thinking simple cubes, but what you describe certainly might be a lot of fun to play with.
I was lincoln log/tinker toy kinda kid. No legos, but we had something similar... red plastic interlocking "bricks", complete with realistic lintels, doors, windows and cardboard roof panels. Damn, spent MANY hours building cool houses and all sorts of neat stuff. I do remember being a little short on imagination. I built many times over the example plans and pictures included with the kits, but whenever I tried coming up with something original it came out a little goofy. Still have that problem today. When it comes to woodworking I lean heavily on the creativity of others. Sorry, rambling. It happens.
Joe Barta
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I grew up with lincoln logs and tinker toys. Hope we're not getting too old for them. My next favorite, when it came out, was Gilberts Erector Sets. Sorry Guys, not wood, but I enjoyed them for years, especialy after I got a motor in a new set.
Don't get the wrong idea, I am not old, just a good imagination.
Al over 68
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I don't think you really need a finish, but I'd put some shellac on them to seal the dirt out.
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As others have said, you probably could get away with no finish at all but if you want to use one I would go with mineral oil or salad bowl finish (the same stuff you might use on a cutting board).
Lee
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Maple, is an excellent choice, it is smooth and is not prone to splinters. No finish is required, they may get a bit grimy but can easily be lightly sanded to clean them up.
I would do a search online and get the dimensions of a good set of "UNIT BLOCKS" they can be built into many shapes and make "mathemactical sense" without being overtly educational, more pure fun.
They slightly larger size works well for small hands. I know my largest was about 1" 3/4 by 2/1/2 x 11"
Making them in a fine idea, I made a set for my daughter out of western big leaf maple that my dad cut down. I used to climb on them when I was a kid and now they are being played with and slowly becoming furniture for my daughter. Lee Gordon wrote:

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When my son was little I bought a large set of blocks for him from the educational supply store. They were solid hard maple, eased edges as another poster described, with no finish whatsoever. Most of them got sold at a yard sale maybe ten years ago, but one box of them was still around, and I gave them back to my son, who now has two little girls of his own, ages 4 and 1.
--Steve
Al wrote:

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On Fri, 23 Dec 2005 17:59:56 -0800, "Al"

I've been thinking about making some wooden "unit" blocks for my nephew. I did some research and found out that the standard "unit" block that you'll find (or at least you could many years ago, probably not PC or something nowadays) in kindergartens which come in a variety of shapes are based on the standard "unit" of 1-3/8" x 2-3/4" x 5-1/2".
Do a google search for "wooden unit blocks" and you'll find lots of ideas on what shapes can be made. Pretty expensive too. Sets with 50 blocks of hard maple go for $175. Prices go up from there. Not something that most of us can afford but wonderful blocks. I remember them fondly from my childhood. With a table saw, bandsaw, and a belt sander I think you could set up some jigs and make a really nice set. With a little more work you can come up with a wheeled box to hold all of the blocks and you'll be giving the granddaughter a gift that will last her many years.
These aren't the ABC blocks they're the ones that you could make those buildings, castles, and cities with.
Good luck.
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