Creating a classic toy: Children’s Cedar Building Blocks
One of my favorite shop projects is to create children’s cedar building blocks from rough Tennessee red cedar. After I built my first Adirondack chairs, I had a large amount of scrap wood left over.
Our first granddaughter had just been born and we decided to use that leftover wood to build a set of building blocks. Since that first set of cedar building blocks, I’ve delivered hundreds to young children all across the country. We love hearing the stories of the kids playing with these cedar blocks for hours.
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Start with Rough Cut Cedar
These cedar building blocks start with rough 2×4 and 2×6 cedar lumber purchased from my local cedar mill. I use my Ridgid Power Tools Surface Planer to bring the wood into smooth milled lumber. Over to the SuperMax Drum Sander to sand the wood as much as possible. The goal is make sure the wood is as soon as glass.
Then the wood goes into my Ridgid table saw to be milled into ¾ x ¾, 2 x 2 and ¾ x 2.
Once the pieces are cut to proper width its over to the Grizzly Band saw to cut the blocks to length. I tried to do this on my sliding miter saw, but found I could not control the blocks well enough and the saw blade would cause them to either get jammed or fly across the shop and be ruined.
These blocks come in a number of rectangle and square sizes.
¾ x ¾ x 2”, 4” and 6”
¾ x 2 x2’, 4” and 6”
1 ½ x1 ½ x1 ½
2 x2 x 2”, 6”
Final Step by Hand
The last step is to take them to the Ridgid Oscillating Sander and round over the edges and corners to keep them safe. Because we handle them multiple times it gives is the opportunity to clear out any misfits and chipped blocks. Watch the process here.
At one point we were coating them with a finish used for salad bowls but they were hard to dry without leaving ridges from the drying racks or drips that needed to be sanded off. It was recommended/suggested by a number of mothers that we not put anything on them.
The beauty of these blocks is they hold the smell and are safe to play with. They provide hours of fun when stacking and building. It’s amazing how the little ones that are just learning how to pick things up, grab the blocks and hold onto them. These children’s cedar building blocks will entertain them for years!
Available to purchase on Etsy
Interested in having your own set? We have a limited amount available with or without the hand made wooden box for storage. Don’t miss out! Visit our Esty Site here