The Blog for GW Pens

A peek at what we make

The First Time is the Most Fun

Many of my faithful (and much appreciated) readers can probably recall my references to simplifying things a bit for my toys. Sure, there are gorgeous dump trucks and fun race cars down the road, but I wanted to make something a little bit different.

I am juuuust about finished with a new toy helicopter! I know you’re thinking “Seriously? That is what you call different?” but hold on. This helicopter will be shipped in pieces! That’s right- I am about to finish a helicopter craft kit, perfect for kids to put together with their parents, grandparents or almost anybody that can read instructions. The kit will have 12 pieces to assemble with everything pre-cut, pre-drilled and pre-sanded. Included will be instructions and a bottle of non-toxic Elmer’s glue.

The fist one has taken me a little bit of time to make, but that’s really because of what I call the “discovery” process (for you legal types, no- not this discovery process), which I really enjoy. The discovery process for me is, what challenges are there in making the toy I’m working on? Will I need to make a special jig in order for parts to be made? Does the size I imagined seem to fit proportionally throughout? If a good song comes on while I’m working where’s the closest item that can be used as impromptu drumsticks?

And so during this, I’m taking something from how I saw it in my head to something that is real. Depending on the complexity of the piece, I might make a mock-up first. Like the Bell-Tel truck, which was first made almost entirely of Pine before I made the final version out of Walnut. The last thing you want to do is start using a precious wood only to have to throw it in the firewood pile because you missed a detail.

Since most of the toys I make are made with the intent of being made in multiples, the first run through includes making templates. This weekend when I go to make the 2nd helicopter (for my daughter per her request), it should take about half a day including all the sanding since I have templates and measurements to work off of. That one will be fun because it is for my daughter, but generally the first time making a toy is the most fun 🙂

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This entry was posted on October 7, 2008 by and tagged , , , .
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