Moving crocodiles, dynosaurus, cars and machines made of wood? Why not, if they are mechanical toys? Most of the time when talking about mechanical retro toys we have used to think about tin and wind ups but the
mechanical wooden toys
can be just as attractive and even cooler.
Typically the wooden mechanical toys are not colored - they have the original color of the material. I can't tell you why, but I know this somehow makes them look even better.
Wood is great material for toys
Mechanical wooden toys are best for kids (and not only). Wood is ecological, warm and healthy material, touching it is nice and playing with a wooden toy is always safer than playing with a tin toy, epsecially for little kids. Most of these toys of course
aren't entirely made from wood
- part of the gears may need to be plastic or better metal - this is especially important for the toys with wind up mechanism. Good luck winding a wooden spring and getting the toy to work!
Da Vinci inspired mechanical
wooden claw Photo by Ocell
Timberkits and making wooden toys yourself
One of the main reasons why wooden mechanical toys are loved by many hobbyists is that wood is the perfect material for do it yourself projects. That's why some companies like the famous Timberkits have built an entire business around producing and selling kits for making wooden toys. Kits like theirs are perfect if you want you or your kids to make amazing mechanical toys easy, instead of buying them assembled.
If you are real die-hard DYI fan however, you may prefer to
make wooden toys from scratch
- by using toy plans and cutting, polishing and varnishing all the wooden parts yourself.
If you choose this, be prepared for hard work - making small wooden parts can be much trickier than making big items of wood. Of course it can be easy if you don't worry whether the parts can be assembled together, but I'm sure your goal is to have working timber mechanical toys.
Ideas for mechanical wooden toys
If you want to buy or build such toys from kits, or using plans, or just from scratch, you may want to know what kinds of them are usually available out there. Generally, they fall in several main categories:
- Mechanical wooden animals. May sound a bit surprising but the toy and timber kit designers love to create wooden birds, frogs, dinosaurus, and of course dogs. They look far less realistic than plush or plastic animal toys, but that somehow doesn't stop kids and adults to love them.
- Wooden vehicles. Like in any category of mechanical toys, wooden vehicles are another favorite subject for the designers and toy shops. You can find kits or assembled toys for all kind of weird cars, motorcycles, helicopters, diggers, tractors and more. And I mean really weird - they almost never look much like some real vehicle. Strange, but that's exactly what makes them cool.
- Complex mechanisms. Because wood is such a good material, it's often used to make very complex mechanical toys - I have seen wonderful piano-players, robots or entire ensembles of toys doing something together.
Of course if you are scratch-builder the models are limited only by your imagination or the toy plans you can find. The Amazon gallery below contains just few ideas for a start.