What kind of wood would be good for children's construction blocks -
Cubes, triangles, etc.
I was thinking ash or maple. I might make some by laminating two
woods with contrasing colors.
I will probably leave them unfinished, but is there an acceptable
finish for something that might end up in a toddler's mouth?
On Sat, 03 Apr 2004 08:40:49 -0600, Wyatt Wright wrote:
Any of the finishes used on turned stuff that holds food would be good. If
you want to color some of the blocks, consider milk paint.
More important perhaps, make the blocks large enough so they can't fit in
the toddlers mouth.
White Oak would make nice blocks perhaps. I never made blocks
(intentionally) so thats just my opinion.
Wyatt, my woodworking club makes thousands of blocks each year to distribute
to needy kids at Christmas time. We use construction cut-off scraps that
are donated. These are painted by senior center volunteers in non-toxic
paints. It seems the kids go for the bright colors more than natural woods.
I know, hard for a woodworker to understand.
Anyway, if you want to leave them natural, I would not leave them
unfinished. They will get slobbery from the kids and stained and ugly.
Maybe unsanitary as well. My advice is shellac. It's non-toxic, fast and
easy to apply, and super blonde will look great. As for which would wood be
good, the ones you mentioned are fine, as wood any domestic hardwood. There
might be some argument for staying away from exotics that might be toxic,
but with a coat of shellac I don't think I wood even worry about that.
If you do go with natural wood instead of paint, consider routing letters
and numerals in the blocks to add a bit of interest.
I made a big set of blocks for my firstborn out of #1 pine,
unfinished. The blocks outlasted the kid's interest in them (they
lasted many years before rain and drool caught up to them).
I thought of using maple, but then remembered that all toys become
weapons at some point, and decided to go with the softer species.
One thing I did that I recommend is to put a 1/8 roundover bit in a
router table and round over EVERY edge of every block. This goes
quickly in a router table.
I think I'd go with closed-grain woods, so there's no place for food boogers
and bacteria to lodge. I haven't looked at ash in a long time, and I don't
recall how porous it is. Maple would be good for sure.
Shellac is food safe (they use it to varnish candy, pills, etc.) but if
you'll want to make very, very sure all the solvent has evaporated before
Jeffie chews on the blocks.
Some other good finishes are ketchup, chocolate sauce and strained
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < firstname.lastname@example.org>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
Ash, maple, oak, cherry are all good woods for children's blocks.
Walnut is a good contrasting wood. Most finishes are non-toxic. I'd
pick a finish that allows for easy cleaning. Shellac is completely
I was so intrigued by this conversation. I especially liked the person who
said they make blocks and a senior center paints them to give to needy
children. Anyone else involved in something like this? In particular, I
would love to come up with something to do with all my scraps that are too
small to save.
On 4/4/04 08:50, in article email@example.com, "Bob
Check to see if you've got any smaller, more local, children's museums
around. Our's is in dire need of some pretty simple things: a new Brio-esque
train table, blocks, picnic tables, etc.
As a parent that takes advantage of these facilities, I'm working on giving
back to them as much as possible.
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