So You Want to Saw Your Own Set of Wooden Block Toys
Every year around this time, a few folks will write to tell us they like our blocks, but don’t want to buy them. No, they’d rather make their own wooden block toys in their garage or workshop.
This is cool. Many people are stuck at home, looking for creative projects. One of their loves might be woodworking. And with the holidays coming, they’re excited about making their own sets of wooden block toys.
But then, they’ll want to know how we make our blocks to get perfect cubes, every time. As it turns out, sawing a set of 32 even cubes in a home workshop or garage wasn’t as fun or easy as they thought it would be!
You’ve seen those hilarious photos called “Instagram Recipe Fails.” Picture that, except for toy blocks. Home woodworkers are usually too embarrassed to show photos of uneven blocks with ragged edges that aren’t exactly fun, child-friendly, or pretty.
Which is why they’ll demand to know EXACTLY how we saw our wood. They figure we’re in the business of telling them how to not-buy our blocks. This is a little weird, but we value their can-do, DIY spirit.
You do you.
As for us, sawing wood is an enormous part of our operation. That’s why we order custom saw blades that are specifically tailored to basswood.
Yes, it’s all about the saw blades. There are all kinds of different blades that are designed to cut different things.
But what if you’re cutting across grain in a soft wood? You’ll want to use a cross cut blade. That’s what we use to saw our blocks.
And since we saw basswood, your Uncle Goose uses a blade designed for this sustainable softwood. Our blades have a different geometry than, say, a blade for a hard maple.
Further, we worked with our saw supplier to develop a blade that will last a good four months before we send it out for sharpening. Remember, we cut wood every day, all day long. They need to be sturdy and long lasting.
The angle of each tooth is also important. Each tooth accomplishes a different task. The teeth are machined to provide a quick roughing cut or a smoothing cut. And every so often, we’ll have a flat raker blade to clear the chips out.
Our custom blades eliminate the need for extra operations like sanding. If you were using a regular cross blade, you’d have to sand your wood. The geometry of the each individual tooth blade is calculated for what we need to accomplish.
And on top of that, each blade in the saw has to be polished at what they call a grit. It’s like sandpaper grit.
Many saw blades are polished at 400. And not to sound all “Spinal Tap” — but we have to go all the way to 800.
What does that mean? It just means that our blades are super sharp. Much sharper than the average home workshop saw blade.
We can get down into the minutiae, too. The way that the blades are mounted on the saw, for example. That needs to be at a very low vibration.
Bottom line: suppliers who make saw blades pretty much know how to create a saw blade for any situation. You can find a saw supplier and order the saw blade you need.
Our blades cost about $2,200. We get about a year of use out of them. If you’re interested in making a few block sets in your garage, getting the blades we use is probably overkill.
But the people who write ask what kind of saws WE use. We can’t tell you what kind of saws we think YOU should use!
Like we said, you do you. Making your own toys can be fun.
However, we'd prefer you to buy our blocks! Why not support a small business that hand manufactures toys in the USA? That's always a great gift option.
If you enjoy DIY, perhaps you'd prefer to scoot over to Amazon. Do a search for "Uncle Goose Alphablank Blocks." We created three sets of blank blocks as an Amazon exclusive. You can still DIY and paint these blocks any way you wish.