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I am learning and doing some woodwork, and I have been using a hand saw and sanding to make very simple wood blocks.

I would like to know what tools are suitable for toys like this puzzle and these toys

I am considering the following options, but open to suggestions:

  • hack saw
  • Decker RTX + mandrel + cutting wheel
  • jigsaw
  • a small table saw
  • You may find this useful: How can I protect my fingers while using a band saw? A scroll saw will probably do all those things at the scale you're working at. – Mazura Nov 16 '14 at 3:15
  • @Mazura thanks for the link. i decided to go with a band saw, based on paperstreet's answer and the book i found. – Jeff Xiao Nov 18 '14 at 1:43
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My grandfather used to make toys similar to these for a charity called Toys for Tots. To the best of my knowledge he built everything with a couple cordless drills, a 14" bandsaw and a multi-function sander like this one, and copious amounts of hot glue.enter image description here

I personally would add to this a spindle sander and at least a skeleton set of quality hand tools(chisels, rasps and riffles, block plane etc.) but I'm more into the fit and finish of things than Grandad was. Basically you need to be able to:

  1. dimension your stock
  2. fit and shape your parts
  3. assemble the parts

Given that the parts you'll be working with are generally fairly small, a bandsaw is a great choice because it's much safer than a table saw for short pieces and it can cut . And the sander is limited only by your imagination in terms of the variety of its uses. You can even use it as a lathe in a pinch (run a hanger bolt into the work piece, chuck the end of the bolt up in your drill, spin the piece up against the sander and viola)

  • thanks for the reply. this is the first time i've heard of bandsaw. searching around gives me this book, which looks helpful. – Jeff Xiao Nov 18 '14 at 1:35
  • @JeffShaw - Band saws are handy tools for cutting small stock that just can't be cut on a table saw or radial arm saw. It is best to look for a used saw that is in good order. I personally have a little 9 inch band saw, which you can purchase new for about $130 USD. – diceless Nov 18 '14 at 5:24
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The puzzle was most likely done on a band saw using a miter gauge.

The cars/trucks looks like a it was done with wood trims, thin planks and dowels cut to size. The wheels done on a lathe. If you purchase the wheels from a craft shop, you can make the rest with a drill, some type of saw that you can cut nice straight lines with and lots of imagination.

As for the tools you mentioned. Hacksaw. You use these for cutting metal or pipe, not wood. Instead look for a coping saw. Decker RTX. A rotatory tool. They have their place but the cut off wheels are not designed to cut planks of wood. They are good at cutting only very small items (like 2mm max). Jigsaw. These are good at doing ruff cuts in plywood but are not good at doing detail work. Instead look at getting a scroll saw instead for detail work. Small table saw. Table saws are always good but I think what it brings to the table will not be the best match for the items you want to make. I would invest in other power tools first.

  • thanks for the explanations of the toys and the different tools. lots to learn as a beginner :) – Jeff Xiao Nov 18 '14 at 1:42

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