My History with Wooden Toys - Interview with Kevin McGuire

How Long Have You Been Building Wooden Toys?

Since the mid-70's.

What Inspired You to Start Making Toys?

Having wooden building toys around the house growing up, a fascination with all things mechanical, and in particular watching carpenters frame new homes in my neighborhood- from nothing, it seemed!- when I was a child.

What Was the First Wooden Toy You Ever Made?

A "pecking chickens" traditional action toy in 1975 after building all sorts of other things from paper, cardboard and whatever scraps I could get my hands on.

Why Do Your Customers Love Making Toys?

I would answer in three parts: process- exploring the exciting challenges of the workshop environment; creative impulse- the encouragement I offer builders to change my plans to suit their own kid's needs; and the essential act of giving- moving the joy out of the workshop and into the hearts and minds of young people.

Do You Specialize in Any Other Woodworking?

I collect and repair vintage wooden toys, but my thirty years as a cabinetmaker and renovating 1920's-era homes are now my inspiration, not my vocation!

If Someone Was Just Starting Out What Advice Would You Give Them About Making Toys?

Buy the best tools you can afford, there's no rush. Learn everything you can about vintage and modern wooden toys, there are woodworking and wooden toy resources on my website: and by Googling online. Choose wooden toy plans you are reasonably confident that you can build- and complete them!- before moving on to more complex projects. And if you make mistakes, cut yourself some slack… we all make mistakes and it's an important part of the process.

Check out the amazing woodworking plans for handmade wooden toys Kevin McGuire offers in his online store. Also learn more about the history of wood toys