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American Hard
Maple Blocks
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How to Make Wooden Blocks

American Hard Maple Blocks - "The Real Deal"

   This is our "Simple Set" of instructions. Click here for more detailed instructions.

Warning: The topic covered on this page includes activities in which there exists the potential for serious injury or death. We do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information contained here. Always use proper safety precautions and safety equipment and keep all tool guards in place.

   This plan is based on our "Base Set A," and a contents list can be obtained by going to the List of Pieces for this set and printing it.  If you are arriving here from a link on another site, however, and you really don't know very much about unit blocks, it would be a good idea if you went here first to get a better sense of what you are attempting to accomplish: index page

      Buy Stock   Buy about 35 board feet of Kiln Dried, 8/4 hardwood lumber and about 8 bd. ft of 4/4 from your favorite hardwood dealer.  #1 and #2C should do it.  Hard Maple is the best.  Other woods will also work.

     Using Scrap    If you value your fingers, forget about using scrap.   We see this foolish idea repeated over and over; it's an invitation to injury. 

     Using SPF    You can also use SPF (Spruce, Pine, Fir) from the lumber store.  It's cheap, but wet, and may shrink when you are done.  You'll need "2 by" material for the blocks and "1 by" material for the planks.    

     Plane the Stock    Use your planer to plane the thick stock to 1-3/8.  Plane both sides and use a caliper to get it exactly the correct thickness.  Use your planer to plane the thin stock to 11/16.  

     Rip the Stock Rip the following stock.   50 feet of 1-3/8 by 2-7/8 (Blocks) 15 feet of 1-3/8 by 1-1/2 stock (Square columns) 10 feet of 11/16 by 2-7/8 stock (Roof Planks) 35 feet of 11/16 by 1-1/2 stock (Road Planks)

     Plane the edges    Use your planer to plane both edges of the wide stock stock to 2-3/4.  Use your planer to plane both edges of the narrow stock to 1-3/8.   

     Rout the edges    Using a small rounding bit on a router or shaper, round or chamfer the edges of the sticks.      

     Pause    You should now have molding more or less in the amounts given above. 

     Chop the Blocks    Chop the blocks to length on your table saw with a miter bar. There are some inherent dangers when cutting lots of identical rectangles with a miter bar- particularly small ones.  Safety glasses are a must.  Also a chest protector.    You should easily obtain the following (more or less):  

4 - 22" Blocks  
8 - 11" Blocks
34 - 5-1/2 inch blocks (you will need some for triangles)
18 - 2-3/4 inch blocks (ditto)  

Out of the 1-3/8" by 1-3/8" material (square columns) make the following:  

4 - 11 inch pieces  
8 - 5-1/2 inch pieces
8 - 2-3/4 inch pieces
8 - 1-3/8 inch cubes
 

Out of the plank stock make whatever you want.

Triangles, Wedges and other stuff    Making these pieces requires a band saw complete with a fence, a circle cutting attachment and numerous jigs.  Don't try to cut triangles on a table saw.  Arches are cut on the band saw using the circle cutting attachment. A look at our "open stock" pages will give you some good ideas about what else you can do with any surplus wood. 

Round Columns      These are made from dowels, though 1-3/8 dowels may be hard to find. 

Sanding    Sand the end faces, sweep the end-edges, and bump the corners of the blocks to round them on a stationary belt sander or a belt sander held upside down in a vise. 

Finishing    Don't apply any sort of finish. You can buy Hard Maple molding from us . . . .

 

End
Shape
Type Price
4 ft.
Buy for
Beg.
A*
for
Base
A*
 
How to Make Wooden Toys  ) Blocks $7.71 To Cart 4 9  
How to Make Wooden Toys  ) Sq. Cols. $5.48 To Cart 2 3  
How to Make Wooden Toys  ) Road $4.15 To Cart 1 2  
How to Make Wooden Toys  ) Roof $2.29 To Cart 3 6  
wooden block shapes  ) Rnd. Cols. $5.48 To Cart 1 2  
   * Does not account for wastage Molding is right off the line, not selected (good or bad), and should be expected to have the usual range of defects and discolored spots and streaks.