OK, the local furniture manufacturer down the street throws out lOTS of
red oak and poplar scraps. I have dumpster diving rights (I went and
asked!). They also throw out some 3/4" thick plywood scraps, 3/16 OSB
and some NICE 1/4 (or 3/8) birch plywood, that I use when building
Most of the red oak and poplar is small stuff (4x6 or smaller, and 3/4
thickness or so), though occasionally I do get some longer strips.
Would this stuf make good blocks for kids? I am planning using a mineral
oil finish, or maybe a Krylon kids paint on the poplar, thinned down to
an almost stainlike consistency.
I can get enough of this stuff to make blocks for every kid in the
country, and if it is sueful, I might even start a small business doing
Any ideas, suggestions, advice would be handy.
Could be thicker, but wood glue works nicely. Poplar is probably better than ed
oak, which has a tendency to splinter. Poplar works easily. It dents fairly
easily, too, but shouldn't be too bad with young children when used with other
There are literally hundreds of paint type finishes. I'm not familiar with
Krylon paints outside ye olde spray cans, so don't know what the kid's finishes
are like. It sounds appealing, though.
"Men willingly believe what they wish."
Julius Caesar, De Bello Gallico
Red oak would not be on my list, though, over my objections, I have made
even cradles of the stuff. Open-grained to collect anything, brittle if hit
or chewed doesn't seem a proper combination.
Tulip-poplar (yellow poplar, etc) would be better. If actual poplar like
aspens or even cottonwoods, superb. Can't get a splinter out of that
stuff, no matter how hard you try. That's why the Finns put it on their
sauna benches. That, and the curious fact that it feels cool to the touch
when the walls will blister your fingers.
I'd dye the wood and put an occlusive finish like shellac on it rather than
make a dirt magnet by using mineral oil. Those dust wipes that are so
ubiquitous now all feature non-drying mineral oil, and you can see what
happens there. Rockler, Woodcraft and others have kid-safe stuff to color
This leaves me depresesed. I have a similar deal, but the last time I went
in search of goodies, there were no goodies to be had, because they hadn't
been *making* much of anything. Instead of the usual small but useful
bits, there were just a few 1/2" strips of plywood and other little things
too small to be worth diving for.
It's sad. Those fine folks are probably going to be out of a job sooner,
rather than later. Another American manufacturer down the drain. :(
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < email@example.com>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
Poplar is the first choice on any toy that a kid is going to chew on, next
is white pine then maple. All are nontoxic and hard to splinter when the
wood is wet, and can be readily digested by the child. Oak and other hard
woods have a greater weight and can cause more/worse injuries when thrown
and more of a tendency to split and splinter. On the paint, there are many
very good child friendly paints out there, some of the best and cheapest are
at you local "Borg" all water based interior paints are nontoxic when dry
(by fed law) and can be used on toys. I prefer gloss paints myself basic
colors, red, green, blue.
Most of the stuff in spray cans can be used, check the msds first. Stains
are not good on children's toys mainly because they do not hold up as well
as paint and are not as bright, I use stain to highlight the colors to make
them show up better or go with unfinished wood and painted wood for
contrast. The main problem is finish of the product , NO sharp edges or
corners ANYWHERE on the product, no splits in the wood anywhere and if you
glue up you should dowel the glueups for extra safety, and use a water
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