I have been a toymaker since 1999. Educated in finance and economics, I worked in finance, then as a Software Engineer and a Flight Instructor. I am now a stay-at-home dad/toymaker and have found that to be the most fun and rewarding. I also get a lot of help from my two daughters.
Most of the wood I use is scrap from nearby lumber mills and cabinet shops. The pieces I use become pretty small so there is not much waste. What's left is used for kindling. All of the toys are sanded smooth by hand. Corners and edges are rounded off by sanding to make them smooth and splinter free.
The only finish that I use is mineral oil. It highlights the grain patterns of the wood and provides protection from moisture and stains. The main reason that I chose mineral oil as a finish is that it is non-toxic. When toys end up in someone's mouth, it is comforting to know that the finish is safe. Other uses of mineral oil include finish for salad bowls and butcher blocks. The mineral oil soaks deeply into the wood, so refinishing is rarely necessary. If a toy does need to be refinished, just apply a little mineral oil with a rag and wipe it off. (I buy my mineral oil at my local pharmacy. )
I try to minimize the impact on the environment of making my toys. 75% of our power comes from solar panels on the roof. All other power used at WoodToyShop is from Wind, Solar or Biomass. Roughly 80% of the wood I use is scrap. This reduces the amount of wood that goes in the trash and reduces the demand on the forest. Waste sawdust becomes compost for the garden. Most of the packing material is recycled from local businesses. I also reuse as many boxes as possible. So don't worry if the box says 'Amazon' or 'Made In China'. Wood Toy Shop is a proud winner of the RecycleWorks Award from the City of Portland.
Wood Toy Shop LLC
3316 NE 18th Ave
Portland OR 97212
Copyright © 2013 Wood Toy Shop. All Rights Reserved.