Friday, May 15, 2015


(Sidebar - check out the phone attached to the wall, complete with a dial, and a springy cord)
A big part of toy making - especially toy cars, trucks, airplanes, etc. - is wheels.  Our first wheels were made by hand by us using a hole saw.  A drill makes a hole, but sort of peels out the the wood from the hole.  A hole saw has a central small drill to guide the circular saw, and an outer round saw that cuts a circle.... result - a wheel.  Our hole saw had about 6 different saws that could be changed out to create different sized wheels.
 Above, I am setting the fence just the right distance from the edge of the thin wood to be most efficient, and below, the resulting wheel, and the left over scrap.  The main problem with these wheels  was that the edges were pretty ragged.  Our solution was to attach the wheels to the axles and then put them on the car, and then hold them against the vertical sander to spin them to clean up the edges.
 I do not remember who told me that there were companies that actually made wheels that we could buy, but what a change in our business.  Up until the burlap bag below arrived, (actually two burlap bags!)  every Thursday  was "wheel day".  A whole day  each  week was spent cutting out those hole saw wheels.  Below you see me checking out a bag of wheels already made, already smooth, and a lot nicer looking than our hole saw wheels!  I'm don't remember for sure where our first wheels came from, but I think it was W.J.Cowee, in Berlin, NY.  Our other main source of wood turnings over the years was Kingfield Wood Products of Kingfield, Maine!  Some day I will tell the stories of each of these wonderful companies.  Cowee was our biggest supplier over the years, and at one point we were one of their 10 largest customers!  But on this day, we were thrilled by our burlap bags with 5,000 perfect wooden wheels!  Including spare tires, that is 1000 toy cars!  In those days  that was a lot of  wheels!  A few years later, we would be getting up to 100,000 flipover balls, or 20,000 kazoo parts, or 50,000 Easter Eggs!  Now there is a story! Stay tuned!

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