W, the young wooden-toymaker, has kindly allowed me to share photos of some of his latest creations, all birthday or Christmas gifts. He says he can’t keep all the things he makes, so we are the lucky recipients of his charming mechanical animals and whirligigs. We each have a small, but growing collection of meticulously crafted gadgets, every one with a unique function and moveable parts.  W has a passion for exotic woods such as wenge, purpleheart, tiger wood, and padauk, but also enjoys using beautiful native woods like walnut, oak, and cherry. His main sources of inspiration come from Making Mechanical Marvels in Wood by Raymond Levy and How to Make Animated Toys by David Wakefield.


Geneva Wheel with Padauk, Walnut and Purpleheart

For M’s Christmas present, he made this colorful, friendly toucan:


W did some woodburning for the details and then dyed the toucan’s body and beak


Papa, on his birthday, received one of W’s most elaborate mechanical gadgets to date, a wooden steam engine:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This was made with a very wide assortment of different woods, including purpleheart, tiger wood, leopard wood, oak, cherry, padauk, wenge, and walnut.

For M’s birthday, W made a “perpetual motion” toy, another beautifully hand-painted toucan. He actually took the time to make a different color scheme on each side.


Give the dowel a twist and the goofy bird swings over and over till it reaches the other side