Monthly Archives: October 2013

Wooden Blocks and Video Screens, Oh No?

wood unit blocks
NPR recently talked of the new ways manufacturers are using block building concepts with computers. I have a few reservations about the value of virtual block play, yet I can imagine some fascinating combinations. Their show From Classic Toys To New Twists, Kids Go Back To Blocks is an interesting 5 minute listen. Still I am not ready to deny children a good set of real wood blocks. What do you think?

Hi John,

Oscar has been really enjoying looking at your catalog recently. Today he asked what parts on the train car pages were made of wood. I said all of them except the string and metal hook on the crane. He said – “and the paint”. When I told him you don’t paint your toys, that the colors came naturally from the wood, he said “Woah! No way! So cool!” That’s my boy…

jenny 10/21/2013

Not paint Oscar, I use clear Walnut Oil. It comes from a tree too.


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Shop built ambient dust collector

Shop built ambient dust collector

This is the ambient dust collector I made to gather dust missed by my main dust collectors. Dust is most effectively captured near the source and I work hard to make that happen, but fine dust always seems to escape to cloud the workshop air. This pictured collector captures most of these fine particles and provides other benefits as described below.

I use a Panasonic bath fan rated at 258 cfm.(Panasonic FV-20NLF1 WhisperLine™ In-Line Fan 1.4 Sones 258 CFM Energy Star) Its quiet, rated for continuous duty and uses very little energy. I have it wired to my light switch. I chose a common filter size (24 x 24) so its easy to find at retail, though I shake it out carefully and expect it to last for years.

You can see the 6 inch exhaust feeds into a T fitting with a valve on the leg that blows into the shop. The other leg blows outdoors. I seldom blow outdoors but the T will always direct a small portion of the filtered exhaust outside or a large portion when I close the valve at the bottom of the T which blows toward the floor. This way the workshop is always under a slight negative pressure which helps keep dust from filtering into the other parts of my basement. In the dead of Winter I often close the outside leg completely. In the Summer the shop can get pretty warm on active machine days. Then I close the valve and the fan takes the warm air near the ceiling and moves it outside. The resulting negative pressure pulls more cool air from my central air conditioning supply register at the opposite end of the shop. There are no HVAC returns in the workshop so this supply usually doesn’t blow much. It all works surprising well.

ambiant dust collector 1024 2
ambiant dust collector 1024 1

Dear John:

The Clacker was most well received by our daughter-in-law, speaking for her daughter (our grand-daughter, of course, who is 13 months old), who is not given to enthusiasms but who said over the phone, twice, and emphatically, that your Clacker is “beautiful” (and on inquiry that it doesn’t make the kind of noise you want to run away from after hearing for 5 minutes as so many toys do). Thank you for contributing to our family what will be an heirloom. — and you’ll probably receive orders from us in the future. Keep on truckin’.

Sherry and Jeff

“You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there.” – Yogi Berra

Shop built ambient dust collector


October 14, 2013 · 5:24 pm