One of the on-going Community Services of SDFWA is our toy-making and cutout program. The program provides materials with which our members make hand-crafted wooden toys, scroll-saw cutouts, and memory boxes for children in hospitals, child-care centers, public libraries, and shelters.
At Jerry Blakeley's toy shop, a weekly gathering of SDFWA members led by Roger Solheid have been turning out wooden toys of all types for years.
The toy crew rightly proud of all the 6-car wooden trains they've built over the last few weeks. These will make some kids very happy!
We have multiple opportunities for members to participate in these rewarding activities. There are all-day toy making workshops at members’ shops, or individuals can pick up plans and supplies at our general meeting and construct toys or scroll-saw cutouts in their own shops. In a typical year we spend over $2000 on supplies and donate over 3000 toys and thousands of scroll saw cutouts to various non-profit and social service organizations in San Diego county.
How You Can Participate
Information, plans, and supplies are available at our general meetings. Talk to Roger or Terry at one of our general meetings to find out how you can participate, get information or supplies, or turn in your completed toys.
Roger Solheid, Toy Chairman
A Visit to the Toy Shop
The dedicated toy-making group is up to something different every week. There is a large repertoire of toy plans they can draw from - some simple and others more complicated. You never know exactly what you are going to see. But you will be impressed by the shop, the toy makers, the jigs and fixtures they use for their production efforts and - of course - the hand-made wooden toys.
It all starts with wood - some purchased, but much donated as cut-offs from Taylor Guitars and other local manufacturers.
There are prototypes and models of every toy, and this is definitely mass production - everyone knows what they need to do for their particular step of the process.
At the sanding table outside it's quieter without the machines running, and there's a lot more socializing along with the woodworking. Every part is cut, drilled, shaped, sanded, finished and painted, then assembled together to make the completed toys.
This week, some were designing a new dinosaur toy with articulated legs that they hadn't make before. There were plans, but experiments were needed to see how to efficiently cut out pieces, test the assembly, and make sure all the toys will work smoothly when they reach the kids.
The fully-equipped shop has all the tools they need to make these wonderful wooden toys. With everyone working away, it can get a little crowded though!
Meanwhile, outside is the finishing area, where truck parts and little fighter planes are getting their finish coats. They have decided that quick-drying, water based varnish is ideal for the toys. Sprays on easily, no harsh solvents, easy clean-up, and multiple coats can be applied in one afternoon.
The boxes of "work in progress" soon end up with the final touches - wheels & authentic WW2 decals, and voila - what a great toy for some lucky child!