I saw these in a book, Making Toys that Teach, by Les Neufeld and they looked like a fun toy. Seemed like they’d be pretty easy to make. So I launched into the project. Now the book recommends cutting them oversized and sanding them to size on your disk sander. Well, I didn’t have or really want a disk sander. So I cut the pieces to size using hand planes. And I can’t say that this worked all that well. I also didn’t notice that my “3/8” inch thick wood was all over the place in actual thickness. So some of the pieces ended up too thick.
The next complication was in the finishing. I decided to use pure tung oil because, I figured, Aelliana could help, and it is supposed to give a nice satin result with no sanding. But it seemed like I nevertheless ended up doing several rounds of sanding. And sanding 100 little pieces like this is painstaking. In fact, it seems like some of the pieces still need more attention as they have become rough since I last worked with them. So much for pure tung oil.
Addendum: the kids do play with these occasionally, even years later. However, 100 pieces is really not enough. It would be better to have ten times that many. You can buy this toy at a fairly low price, so it doesn’t make sense to make it.