Wooden Toys From Wisconsin
(See details below)
24 Train Cars and my
Click a picture to view a larger image and description of my wooden toys.
Block Wagon with 100 Unit Blocks
Child's Treasure Chest
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Pull Toy Block
Click to download an abbreviated catalog of my toys. Just save and print if you like.
Pictures of some of my "Customers"
Go to order form
Read my blog about children, toys and their making in my workshop.
Follow me on Facebook
Where I post occasionally about Children and Toys. Recent posts have included
Age and Stage - Good Toys for Young Children
Carpentry for Boys
The Power of Play
Build an Heirloom Rocking Horse
7 Summer Past Times for Kids
Band Sawing a Steam Boiler
Made by Dad
Toymaking technique idea
Not Just a Girl
Why Wooden Toys
Descriptions of woods I use in my toys
Read my Free online book "Build This Heirloom Rocking Horse"
Where did you go Raggedy Ann? Toys in the Age of Electronics. New York Times article - free registration required.
Wholesale Toys ?
A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.
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 kinda things.
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
I just wanted to thank you for the excellently crafted wood wagon with 100 blocks. It is exactly what I was looking to purchase for my daughter's first Christmas. Your attention to detail and ability to deliver a finely crafted product is amazing. Once again thank you. I have attached a picture of my daughter enjoying the wagon.
Thanks, Shannon - January 2010
|Made by John Michael Linck
Fine wooden toy making has been my living for the past 40 years continuing a 15 decade family tradition in woodworking. It all started with my great grandfather in Germany's Black Forest. More
The Making of an Heirloom Wooden Toy
Visits to my grandmother always included listening to stories of her youth; stories often prompted by an object or photograph in her home. One wooden walking stick has passed down multiple generations and has many associated family stories, some probably true. Family legend claimed its handle was full of diamonds More
You Must Be Pleasantly Surprised
I want you to be completely happy with my wooden toys. I know that the quality of my work will pleasantly surprise you. If you feel otherwise, for any reason, I want you to have your money back. You may return any toy for a prompt refund. All my toys are guaranteed for my lifetime. I'm 65. I want you to look at your wooden toy in 30 years and say, "That toymaker did a pretty good job".
My toy finish is simply walnut oil and is non-toxic while giving substantial soil and moisture resistance. (I buy walnut oil at the grocery store.) Walnut oil is a traditional wood finish and has been used for centuries. Wooden toys can be maintained occasionally with lemon or mineral oil. My toys have always been "green" in that I use local sustainably grown hardwoods and natural finishes. Our children and our earth are worth caring for.
Depending on my workload at the time of your order, there can be some delay in making and shipping your toy. I try to meet your special occasions, but please phone if you would like an estimated arrival date. Wooden toys can be ordered by phone or by mail (snail or email). They arrive at your door via United Parcel Service or Priority Mail. Shipping is free for orders over $75.00 going to 48 U.S. states. Orders under $75.00 ship for $5.00. Other destinations? Please inquire.
I include my name and year on each toy.
2618 Van Hise Avenue - Madison, Wisconsin 53705
I'm - John Michael Linck - a Toymaker
Click to send me Email: email@example.com and I will phone you back,
or telephone: ( 608 ) 231 - 2808
or click to Go to my web order form.
Operators are NOT standing by.
You may hear a saw or sander winding down in the background as I leave my work to answer your call, but please do call. I always enjoy chatting with toy/children lovers. I don't have voice mail menus, shrink-wrap packaging, shopping carts, television advertising or even a modern website.
. . . . I do make unusually fine toys.
. . . . . . . . . Thank you for liking my work, John
I am still a bit confused by the idea of presenting my wooden toys on the web. Perhaps you are too. One friend said, "John, you work alone in your basement making traditional toys. Why do you want such a high tech medium? You have always met people and their children in person. What's next; plastic parts, telemarketing operators, offshore manufacture?"
I chuckled because I don't plan any of those, but I still need to find new toy lovers. I share a problem with the cobbler of folklore. My toys don't wear out and many children use the same rocking horse or block wagon. While previous customers buy most of my toys, new families account for about 25% of my work each year and I hope the web will help them find me. Meeting the child who will play with my wooden toys is important to me, yet as a one man band I realize I cannot bring everyone into my workshop or living room. (Though you are very welcome when you visit Madison.) So, I use the web to reach out to more of you. The low cost fits my minuscule marketing budget and I hope I can develop relationships with you and your children over the phone and with pictures. These are fine hardwood toys even with a distant toymaker.
Your Privacy: Any information you send to me shows your trust in me. I honor your trust. Your information will not be shared or sold!
After 39 years I can count the times when my trust was misplaced on one hand, (with a finger or two to spare) but I don't.
It is a good relationship.
All these toys are my own design and are copyrighted in my name. c 1974-2016
No toy is as special as one you make for a loved one. If you are handy with woodworking tools and would enjoy making a wooden rocking horse check out my free online book "How to Build An Heirloom Rocking Horse".
When I began professional woodworking in the mid-70's I was hugely influenced by James Krenov. I read his book "A Cabinetmaker's Notebook" back then and occasionally today. I cannot recommend this book more highly. We lost him in 2009. He is much missed by all woodworkers.
Newspapers have published large features describing my work. Click here to read one.
I was a guest on the public radio show - To The Best of Our Knowledge. Click to read the transcript. or click here to listen to the 10 minute, 6 mb mp3 titled "book".
A new workshop for Toymaking
John Michael Linck - Toymaker
2618 Van Hise Avenue - Madison, Wisconsin 53705
Web site catalog at - www.woodentoy.com
Telephone ( 608 ) 231 - 2808
email - firstname.lastname@example.org
We received the Clacker and the craftsmanship and design are just as beautiful as we've come to expect from you, having previously purchased the block wagon and a few train cars for our older children. Our birthday boy is smitten with it! His older sisters are asking for a turn to play and even my husband and I find ourselves fiddling with and examining all the surfaces and intricate details. While my children enjoy these playthings, I enjoy teaching them the difference between quality, hand-made items created with love, skill, creativity, and thoughtfulness as opposed to mass-produced and easily disposable items we're more often exposed to. I also use these toys as a teaching tool that human hands and minds, such as their very own, are capable of making remarkable things! I see many more valuable lessons here: dendrology, history, craftsmanship - but deeper purposes aside, I'm loving the great play value. Yours are the most cherished toys in our collection and ones that I hope will stay with my children for many many years.
Thank you so much for creating such special pieces for our special little people.
Victoria - 4/2013
The blocks are beautiful and the wagon a craftsman's delight. We think it is lovely that our grandson has toys that are worthy of heirloom status some day. His parents are as pleased as we are.
Did you see the TV special on PBS about Frank Lloyd Wright? Mr. Wright said that his childhood influences that he considered important in turning him to architecture included his blocks - Froebel blocks he called them. I'm sure Mr. Wright's blocks could not have been so wonderful as those you make.
Thank you for the beauty added to David's life.
I was just watching my 6 and 7 year-old daughters playing (yet again!) with their wagon full of blocks, which we bought when the older one was just a year old, and it occurred to me that this toy has provided the absolute best play value of ANY toy we've bought the girls in all these years (Beat that, Nintendo!). They learned to walk, pushing the wagon, and here they are in elementary school, still playing with their blocks. Considering the upcoming Christmas season and the difficult economy, I wanted to once more share my opinion that these blocks have been the best dollars we've ever spent on toys. And the bonus for the adults is their beauty. They're the one toy that are a pleasure to see, even when they haven't been put away. Thanks again!
Our son is turning 2 in a few weeks, and I could not resist giving him the train car that I had ordered from you for his birthday. I was so delighted with the toy that I wanted to give it to him right away. I am now eyeing the crane train as a replacement birthday toy.
Over the past two years, we have done lots of looking and lots of shopping for quality toys. While we both try our best to shop locally, or at least support local stores, I am drawn to your products. The simple yet gorgeous designs work so well for clumsy little hands! And the actual creations are unique and aesthetically pleasing enough for us adults, too. Many adults have complimented Caleb's trains; one of his grandmas wants some for herself! While each one of your trains is detailed, there is nothing complicated for a rough little boy to accidentally break. The surfaces are all rounded and smooth--I never have to worry about Caleb somehow hurting himself. I think you might be one of the few toy makers left who really make toys and products for the kids and not the parents.
Thank you so much for sharing your talent and making your creations. Caleb loves driving cars and the like around, and I love being able to give him a collection such as this. We look forward to getting more trains with every birthday.
Conversations with Trees - Words that inspire me
We bought our first toys from you—wooden block cart and rocking horse- when I was pregnant with our first child. We met you then—27 years ago this summer—in State College Pa. This Christmas we are delighted to be able to buy the same toys for our grandson and granddaughter. Is there still time to get them for Christmas?
We still have those original toys as well as several others we have bought since and they have been well loved by all .
Thanks for the many years of enjoyment.
Dear John -
Quite unexpectedly, your package arrived today. Though I was prepared for a quality toy, I was surprised and captivated by the elegance and beauty of this little clacker. It is a delight for the eyes, the ears, the hands and, yes, the nose! Coming from a "woody" family, I am familiar with the common smells of finishing which usually accompany freshly made pieces - not something I enjoy. Your clacker is again, altogether different from the norm. It has a pureness which must come from your devotion to the finest of natural ingredients. It's either that, or you have elves in the basement (how else would you have accomplished so much magic in so little time?)
Of course, my husband Carl and I had to try it out and we went zipping around the house, trying to keep it out of Kira's eyesight. She is certainly keen to know what makes wood laugh, and you can bet that come Christmas she will cherish it as much as we do. Thanks for inscribing it with her name.
I have never seen such grace in a toy! I hope each and every one is a pleasure to create.