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The Wonderful World of Toys
The Bucks Woodturners
Bucks County, Pennsylvania


Close-Up of Toys


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The executive committee of the Bucks Wood Turners convened at their January meeting and decided to enter the Collaborative Challenge at the AAW's annual Symposium. It was felt that a project that met all criteria of the challenge and, most importantly, involved as many members as possible, were reasonable objectives for such an undertaking.

Inevitably, that raised the issue of what to make. In the silence that ensued while the committee cogitated, Harry Silver suggested making a toy box full of toys, and everyone embraced the idea. It had to be made to fit the size requirements, designed so parts of it were turned, and it was a natural for involving many of the membership. With just the idea, the committee appointed Phil Wall to be the project coordinator.

Phil quickly got the ball rolling choosing a design, by John Williams, of a sphere in a box. Others refined it. Ed Golden and Joe Smoyer added a crescent which allowed the box to rotate on its corners. To ensure that everyone was working off the same page, Ed Golden constructed a -scale model out of Styrofoam. The model was presented and approved at the next board meeting.

John Williams designed the box to be maximum size allowed by the rules, and built a full sized plywood model of the cube and turned a spherical segments to establish the approximate project weight. The design would meet the entry restrictions! John then made scale drawing of all parts. Templates for the profile of the spherical pieces were made.

Enter Phil Wall, mission director extraordinaire! He got volunteers to turn the spherical sections from rather expensive Tiger maple. Mike Kehs, Mark Krick, Norris White, Bill Smith, Ken Wurtzel and Mike Tanner made them identical at different times in different shops. Amazing!

Dave Hardy constructed the crescent and base and Ed Ryan built the cube of Baltic Birch plywood. Robert Dodge (an artist whose work can be found in museums) painted the crescent base and the cube (the universe); and, painted and gold leafed crescent. Mark Krick designed an ingenious mechanism to open and close the lid of the box. The knob was turned of African Blackwood. Candi Smoyer made a beautiful velvet bag to enclose and protect the toys in the box. And then there were the toys. There were spinning tops, rattles, ball-and-chucks, flying saucers, wooden characters, balls and yoyos, kaleidoscopes and bells and, arguably the piece de resistance, a green, red and black tractor by Linton Frank.

Finally, the project was shipped to Minneapolis, where it was weighed (15.2 pounds) and measured (23 - 1/2 ' high), exhibited, admired, and eventually auctioned and purchased by Mr. and Mrs Kelly Dunn from Hawaii, with the proceeds going to the educational fund of the AAW.

In retrospect, all objectives the club set out to achieve were met. The project was well executed and fell within the rules of the contest. A broad range of skills was exhibited by the members including wood turning, woodworking principles, artistic talent and most importantly management skills. Below is a list of all participants who helped create "The Wonderful World of Toys."


Participating Members
Robert Dodge
Dave Evans
Linton Frank
Siegfried Geisel
Ed Golden
Dave Hardy
Mike Kehs
Mark Krick
Robert Levin
Ed Ryan
Dennis Scheidemantle
Joe Seltzer
Mark Sfirri
Palmer Sharpless
Harry Silver
Bill Smith
Candee Smoyer
Joe Smoyer
Mike Tanner
George Wagner
Phil Wall
Don Werner
Norris White
Ken Wurtzel
John Williams
Bob Young
Mark Zdepski