Page 1

July 22, 2011

Wood Toy News

Gwinnett Woodworkers Association exceeds their goal of making 300 wood toys for the Marines Toys for Tots Atlanta Program. Read how Sherman Francisco organized the Gwinnett Woodworkers participation in this important program.

July 22, 2011

Wood Toy News

The Gwinnett Woodworkers Association dedicated the entire day on July 9 to helping complete the 300 toys goal. Just about everyone pitched in with great enthusiasm.

Sherman’s goal was to produce 300 handmade wood toys by the first of October to meet the Toys for Tots Christmas deadline. He has exceeded his goal thanks to the Gwinnett Woodworkers Association!

Sherman Francisco (in the green polo shirt) was responsible for organizing the Toys for Tots wood toy program. He did it in an organized and efficient manner.

Atlanta Marines donated 700,000 toys last year and they want to exceed that number this year.

Sherman met with the Area Coordinator for Toys For Tots in the Atlanta area. When he asked what type of toys were needed their answer was, “toys for toddlers.” This was the first time a woodworking group or any woodworker has made toys for the program in this area. Sherman wanted it to be

and was very useful in assisting his team to meet the goal of 300 toys. Sherman was very pleased that the toy plans he collected insured that the donated toys were a proper mix for both boys and girls.

successful, and to include several types of toys. He contacted Toymaker Press and they provided a mix of toy plans for the program. Their help was greatly appreciated July 22, 2011 Wood Toy News

“Painting by hand is really time consuming when you are trying to meet a commitment of 300 toys.” That’s why the toys that his group made were mostly unfinished other than adding a non-toxic coat of polyurethane or beeswax for finishing.

Sherman likes to emphasize the healing nature of making toys to donate for children. Although the project consumed him, he loved every minute of it even though he has been battling serious health issues this year. He continues to press forward with the determination of a Navy Captain. Sherman kicked off his project by asking the Atlanta Toys for Tots Coordinator to meet with the Gwinnett Wooworkers as a group. His organizational skills and determination payed off. The project is ahead of schedule thanks to the quality help from the Association.

Sherman Francisco is holding the plaque that will be presented to the Marines when the handmade wood toys are delivered in October. The photo above is from his video available on YouTube. Click here to watch.

Sherman says, “Actually the only finish I use is the Butcher’s Block Conditioner from Home Depot to insure safety for the children. All small parts are glued in place to avoid children swallowing them.” Safety is the number one factor when making toys for children. Sherman’s team has worked diligently to make sure that each toy is safe to play with and that none of the toys contain any toxic substances or small parts that can be swallowed. Every toy was carefully inspected before being packaged to insure that all surfaces were smooth and free from dust and splinters. A thorough examination was conducted to insure that all glued parts were permanently secure and that each toy was perfectly clean.

Atlanta area’s Peachtree Woodworking Supply offered many resources to the project and have donated space and assistance each step of the way.

A band saw is used to rough cut the wood blanks to shape. This step is one of many that sped up the toymaking manufacturing process and added efficiency.

Marking the pattern shapes onto the wood blanks is done with care and precision.

A project this size requires planning and determination. The Gwinnett Woodworkers pitched in with their professional expertise from several woodworking disciplines. The Gwinnett Woodworkers Association has members from all areas of woodworking including seasoned professional woodworkers and highly skilled artisans and hobbyists. Their ability to conceive and plan a project and see it through all the tough spots to completion has been priceless. The team worked together as a well-oiled machine and the quality of the toys reflect the determination to get things right. Failure was not an option. The lumber is checked carefully for its usefulness as a blank for the wood toys.

July 22, 2011 Wood Toy News

The toy plans used were designed for the scroll saw. This made it easy to create spunky, fun toys with a modern designer look and feel. And they were great fun to make! There was a concern at the start of the project that fresh new toy plan designs that would be appealing to the children were not available. Many of the toy plans used up to this time were decades old. Even though the older plans made a sturdy toy most of the designs just weren’t very interesting to today’s kids. Sherman spent a lot of time searching the Internet until he found just the right the mix of toys he wanted at Fortunately, all of the plans worked perfectly on the scroll saw. The Gwinnette Woodworkers added their expertise to the project by providing skilled scroll saw operators who volunteered to perform the scrolling for the new toy designs. Their knowledge of operating and maintaining a scroll saw at top efficiency proved invaluable in keeping the project moving steadily towards the goal of 300 wood toys. July 22, 2011 Wood Toy News

All drilled holes were made with the drill press by drilling parts in batches.A belt sander was created perfectly smooth and flat large surfaces. This craftsman is also skilled at applying a perfectly sanded radius.

The final touches to each toy were added by skilled woodworking craftsmen using modern equipment. It is always rewarding to watch capable woodworkers at play. For the toys that needed a touch of color, paints like Craftsmart brand craft paints were used. The paints are non-toxic, childsafe and come in several colors. When used on bare wood the results are satisfying.

The spindle sander smooths out those tight radiuses that are hard to get at.

It’s recommended to paint the wood a couple of times sanding lightly with fine sandpaper between each coat. Applying four or five coats will result in a suede-like finish that shows only a little grain.

A thorough inspection insures that each toy has the proper smoothness.

Applying the final touches is the most intense step, and for some, the most fun. It’s at this point on the toy line the excitement begins to increase as they near the finish line. High quality coatings are used to apply a final protective finish to the toys. It is important that all finishes are non-toxic allowing each toy to be easily cleaned with a damp cloth after play. Finishes like Rockler’s Toymaker’s Finish, a clear polyurethane varnish, make a tough and long-lasting surface finish that can provide either a matte or high gloss look. This finish requires a day or so to dry thoroughly but works great on large batches of toys. And it is totally safe for kids. Another favorite finish is the time-tested beeswax and mineral oil mixture. This ideal paste wax formula creates a warm patina on the wood that accentuates the wood grain and is also very soft to the touch. An added benefit is the smell of honey and the almost hand lotion feel to the crafter’s hands as it is applied. It is easily wiped clean with a damp cloth. Repairs can be performed by simply adding additional paste. There is a detailed video on how to make this inexpensive miracle finish. Gwinnett Woodworkers apply the finish coats to the toys. This is done prior to Click here to view how to make assembling the toys and adding wheels and axles. Woodworkers glue is used for assembly and each toy is carefully inspected to insure that there are no loose a Beeswax Non-Toxic Wood parts that might cause injury or could be swallowed. Toy Finish video on YouTube. July 22, 2011 Wood Toy News

It is a labor of love that creates wonderful toys with a minimum of materials and cost. The results are astoundingly pleasing and lots of fun. Those hard to get at little nooks and crannies are touched up with a little sponge brush. Some of the toys have colorful details added using crafts paints such as CraftSmart from stores such as Hobby Lobby and Michael’s. The paints work well under polyurethane and paste finishes.

Sherman also noted that the team worked well together and found a renewed interest in making wood toys, “They’ve created an appealing line of wood toys with a professional look and finish while keeping the playful and innocent feel that allows for the creativity a child longs for. This is the essence of this project.”

The toys are guaranteed to bring a lot of joy to many kids around the Atlanta area. And each of them will have the opportunity to experience sharing a truly great and timeless possession with their friends. The final step was to carefully package the toys and put them in boxes for shipping.

There was a lot of bonding among the skilled woodworkers who took time out to lend a helping hand.

This is the moment they’ve all worked so hard to reach. The toys are ready for packaging and final inspection.

July 22, 2011 Wood Toy News

“The end results are unbelievable. The wood toys approach the quality of collectible art and were created with common shop tools, materials and of course, skilled woodworkers.” Careful planning and execution was evident even in the final stages of this incredible project. Labels were carefully prepared and printed with a description and title for each toy. The label folded in the middle to create a two-sided closure for the zip lock plastic bags. The finished product has a professional look and feel that makes receiving the toy something really special. This Toys for Tots wood toy project was planned and executed by volunteers from the Atlanta area’s Gwinnett Woodworkers Association guided by the vision and careful oversight of Sherman Francisco, a member of the Association. Sherman can be contacted at

Paper cutters were used to make sure the finished printed custom labels had a professional look. The paper cutters also sped up the trimming process.

The packaging team designed and created the labels prior to placing the finished toys into the plastic zip lockbags.

The finished and packaged toys were cartoned in rugged corrugate boxes for shipping. July 22, 2011 Wood Toy News

Every shipping carton was labeled with the origin, contents and destination.

The cartons were sealed and stored for final delivery in October 2011 to the Atlanta Marines Toys for Tots Program.

Many of the toys created for the Atlanta Toys for Tots program were from the Snazzy Toys for Scrollsawers book. July 22, 2011 Wood Toy News

These full size toy plans are designed for the scroll saw. Each toy is easy to make with common materials.

In Snazzy Toys for Scrollsawers you'll love choosing from 26 unique full-size toy patterns to build snazzy, fun and easy-to-make original wood scroll saw toys. These quick to build toys make great gifts or fun give-aways to family or friends. They're also great as party favors! Mix 'em up or make multiples of one toy. Either way, all kids, or the kid in you and your friends will be delighted when you give a Snazzy scroll saw toy! Snazzy Toy plans have no difficult saw cuts or assemblies and every part can be made with a scroll saw or band saw and a hand drill or electric drill. Available as Hardcover Book or eBook for $19.95 Order Today!

TOYS FOR SCROLLSAWERS John W. Lewman Cynthia A. Lewman


Make as many of each toy as you like! Snazzy wood toy plans and patterns are the best World Class royalty-free plans available anywhere. All the toys in this book are royalty-free. You can build an infinite number of toys for any purpose.

Order online at or Call 1-888-962-4714

Wood Toy News July 22, 2011  

Read how Gwinnett Woodworkers Association members, under the inspiration and guidance of Sherman Francisco, work as a coordinated team to cr...