We ordered the block
wagon the summer of 1989. We had admired it the year before
but being pregnant now gave us an excuse to buy it. Our son
was born Jan. 30, 1990. We received the wagon shortly after
as agreed. It is beautiful! For a few months it looked great
just sitting in his room. I really thought it would be a
long time before he would enjoy playing with it. Well - he
loves it already! He started to crawl in September and every
time I put him down in his room he goes straight for the
wagon. Now he pulls himself up on it an is taking steps
holding the handle. He thinks its great. So do
We thank you for your
beautiful work and he thanks you for a great toy!
Sincerely, Tim, Tama and
Over my first twenty years as a toymaker I made this wagon with doweled joinery on the corners like the picture above. But in the more recent twenty plus years I have used dovetail joinery like the detail picture below. I like the look and more importantly the strength.
Click to watch my 9 month old granddaughter Marlowe trying out her new block wagon.
Click to see a movie of Lucy walking with her wagon.
I wish every newborn could come home from the hospital with a set of wooden unit blocks. I know of no other toy as full of educational value and play value over more years. Blocks engage the child's mind and creativity in different and more complex ways each year. They truly grow with the child as they help the child's mind grow.
. . . . . . . . .john
Back in October or November of 1995
we ordered one of your block wagons for our son, Joey, who
was going to be one in December. I remember that you worked
hard to get the order out in time. Since then, we added son
number two, Christopher, in March of 1996.
Well, Joey is now 3.5 and Chris
just over 2, and I can't tell you the amount of time that
they spend with your blocks. They become everything from
Airports to Zoos, and literally everything in-between. They
are (and have been) such favorites that we've even taken
"official" (you know, the one year old, two year old, etc)
shots with the block wagon from time to time (I know I have
some extra pictures of one of those and I'll send it to you
as soon as I find it again).
I've been meaning to write you for
quite some time, but I've never gotten around to it. I just
noticed (from you latest mailing) that you have an e-mail
address, so as I finish catching up from work undone over
the last week or so, I wanted to take just a minute to let
you know how you've touched our family.
The quality of your work is
amazing. Honestly, I've had friends who are woodworkers come
over and they've marveled at the consistent quality of the
blocks (not to mention the construction of the wagon). It's
held up very well. With the exception of some scratches on
the side of the wagon (courtesy of our brick fire place) and
a single chewed piece(courtesy of our youngest daschound),
well, it looks almost new.
John, I apologize that this note is
getting to you so late. I really wanted to find the time to
tell you about your work much before this point, but I just
never put my mind to it. I'm sorry that it's been so long,
but, at least this is one of those better late than never
All too often I think we all get
into the rut of being able to find the time to criticize but
not finding the time to compliment. Well, please understand
just how much fun your craftsmanship has provided our home.
It's been immense!
Thanks again, Martin
We wanted to drop a note
to you to let you know how much Amaan loves the wooden block
wagon that you made for him. He figured out how to push it
very soon after he received it (which I took as a good sign
that he may be able to start mowing the lawn before too
long). He then proceeded to push it from one wall to the
other (complaining if we did not turn the wagon around once
he reached a wall).
It has been exciting to
watch how his use of the blocks has changed as he has
developed (he will be one year old in about a week). First,
he simply took blocks out of the wagon and gnawed on them
(usually the cylinders). Then he started to destroy the
objects that I would build with the blocks (who says he is
the only one allowed to play with them). He has recently
started dropping blocks on top of objects that I build which
I believe is an attempt to help me construct things. He has
also started taking blocks off of the floor and placing them
back in the wagon (although he hasn't yet figured out how to
make them fit "properly"). Needless to say, we have enjoyed
watching him develop almost as much as he has enjoyed
playing with the wagon and blocks.
Now we are thinking of
buying a few train cars for a 2 year old son of a friend of
More information . . .
Typically each wagon is made of several woods. I start with black cherry for the basic box and handle, while the wheels are white ash. Axles are hickory for strength and they are attached to the wheels using walnut wedges. Each corner of the wagon is fastened with precisely cut dovetails, a permanent joining. All edges are rounded over and carefully sanded making touching a pleasure. The unit blocks are Red Oak, chosen for hardness and attractive color. They are sanded to make a 45 degree bevel on each edge. These bevels are sanded, rather than machined, to prevent any possible splintering. I usually include 13 or 14 different shapes, triangles, rectangles, rounds, arches, floor boards, etc. I sometimes say my Pull Toy Block Wagon gives enough blocks (21) to build a house, while the large Block Wagon provides (100) enough building material for an entire city. Both wagon and blocks are finished with food grade walnut oil.
Hello, John. First of all, we love
the wagon and blocks our dear family friend sent us upon the
birth of Cricket, our daughter. When they arrived in June my
husband was so thrilled that he packed the wagon and her up
in the car and drove over to the house I was painting so
that he could show me the gift immediately. The blocks and
wagon are gorgeous; they instantly attract anyone who comes
into the living room,from my five-year-old niece to the the
17-year-old kids in our church youth group. Cricket is
almost walking now, and it's hilarious to see her push the
wagon across the room, stopped only by a BONK! against the
Next, our friends in Seattle would
like a catalog, please.
Thanks much, Amy 1995
p.s. We think that you should add
something in the description of the blocks and wagon about
it being a great group gift for a family or office shower.
We never would have/could have spent over $200 on a single
gift for Cricket, but of course now that we have it we
realize it's worth more than ten $20 gifts....and hey,
everyone could play with the blocks instead of stupid shower
I never saw a discontented tree. They grip the ground as though they liked it, and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do. They go wandering forth in all directions with every wind, going and coming like ourselves, traveling with us around the sun two million miles a day, and through space heaven knows how fast and far!
Some species of trees have been ‘read out of the party’ by economics-minded foresters because they grow too slowly, or they have too low a sale value to pay as timber crops: white cedar, tamarack, cypress, beech, and hemlock are examples. In Europe, where forestry is ecologically more advanced, the non-commercial trees species are recognized as member of the native forest community, to be preserved as such, within reason. Moreover some (like Beech) have been found to have a valuable function in building up soil fertility. The interdependence of the forest and its constituent tree species, ground flora, and fauna is take for granted.
Sand County Almanac 1949