Vintage European Wood Toys
This is the second of two plan collections. These patterns are for some of the most fun action, balance and ramp toys in the toy world. Their inspiration comes from all over the world, but mostly Europe. Some are over a century old. Each one is our spin on the original concept. This is Vintage European Woodworking Plans, Collection #2. See also Collection #1. There are devices for the play room, or an executive's desk. Nearly all patterns are full size. Some coloring information is included with patterns. Also, refer to this Internet page for color ideas. Or, apply a finish of your own choice. Every item is an action thriller. It's an excellent woodworking value.
THE PARATROOPER is an enhanced version of a century old novelty. Kids loved to tie weights to a handkerchief and toss the bundle into the air to have it unfold and float to earth. Our wood version suggests the use of camouflage fabric with our wooden paratrooper.
The TUMBLE BUG & BUS are a surprise the first time you see them. It's based on antique 1920's metal wind-up toys. The wood versions roll down a double ramp to flip and land upright. A red ladybug and a yellow bus are detailed in the plan.
CHICKENS FEED is a popular item made mostly in Czechoslovakia but this may be the only plan. Fine wood pieces are cut and fit to produce five feeding hens and little chicks. A weight below the paddle swirls around as the chicken's heads bob up and down to feed. Fun clicking sounds accompany the action.
PEDALING CIRCUS BEARS Momma bear's legs pump up and down as she peddles a unicycle over a stretched string. Baby bear, acting as a counter-balance, rides along in a trapeze. Another smile inducing action toy.
WOOD CAM MACHINE It's one of the most universal of moving wood devices. A large number of versions have been made, but this may be the only “plan” for building one. Three different figures are shown as examples. A hand crank is turned on the end as wood cams lift and turn one or more platters on top. The design possibilities are limitless. Make just one turning platter. Or, as an example, three platters with three ballerinas on the center platter and two single dancers at both ends. This plan also includes patterns for a dog, cat and mouse and carousel horses. Easy to make.
TUMBLING DISCS A simple wood project for ramps. Two round, oval or teardrop shaped pieces of wood are notched to fit together. They form two offset discs that roll and wobble down ramps. Other varieties can be made from this same theme.
NOTCHED DOWEL AND PROPELLER Boy scouts and other outdoor folks have made this curious device for many decades. They rubbed a stick over a larger notched stick to spin a twig nailed in the front. Ours uses dowels and a propeller. But what many don't know is while the notches are rubbed, the propeller can spin either direction without detection. Bystanders can ask yes questions (clockwise) or no questions (counterclockwise) for an answer and not know how the propeller knows. The secret technique comes with the plan.
WOODEN NOISE MAKER And it really is noisy. Primitive in origin, this is a double device and so is much noisier. Used as a religious article and a child's toy. Spin the geared handle and thin strips of wood flap against the gears to produce noise.
BIRD ON A POLE This common novelty is usually found made of metal and plastic. The wood version works the same. However, this one has a nice, wood sound as the woodpecker pecks his way to the bottom. All wood except for a spring.
TUMBLING CLOWN This is another classic action toy. A wood clown with two faces tumbles with an unusual cadence to click-clack down a double notched staircase. The secret to the unusual movement is detailed in the plan.
SPACE SHIP AND BOMB This 1930's science fiction space ship was inspired by a tiny plastic cereal box top premium. Our much larger wood design is another joy for observers. The craft travels on small pulleys down a length of string across a room or across the yard to collide with a surface. Watch observers as the bomb is dropped. Can be turned on a lathe, or square cut on a band or scroll saw. Or, leave off the extras for a nice display rocket, or toy box addition.
ROWING HOME There are hundreds of similar balancing devices in metal. Many varieties exist of the boat style, such as sailors, pirates and row teams. This is one of kind and in wood. A young boy is rowing home after a day of fishing. The realistic movement is intriguing as he reaches and pulls to move the boat along. The rowing action lasts a long time as the weighted arc swings beneath the boat. There is a fishing pole in the boat. And fish and an anchor sway on the side. Very charming and a great conversation piece. All patterns full size. Great for an executive's desk.
BALANCING CLOWN AND ELEPHANT A clown attached to an arched balance beam stands atop an elephant's trunk. He teeters and spins without falling. Inspired by the many metal circus toys from early in the 1900s.