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Rosiejane

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Reply with quote  #1 
I haven't yet made any toys of mdf but am interested in giving it a go even if I just use it for my test models. I understand that the mdf toys hold up well and look great when painted but I was just wondering how/if you market the fact that it is mdf and not solid wood. Just a few questions...

Do you still call it a wooden toy?
Do you specify that it is mdf?
Do you sell it for a different amount than you would solid wood toy even though the time investment with finishing etc. would be the same?
phantom scroller

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Reply with quote  #2 
I only have four things to say on MDF bad for your lungs. I never use it, yet I know people who use nothing else. Each to his own I say RosieJane 
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john lewman

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Reply with quote  #3 
Phantom scroller is right on about MDF dust. That said, for one reason or another I have breathed a lot it and other wood dusts in the last 50 years.

I want to add that any wood dust can damage your lungs and health and some wood dusts are dangerous to breathe. A proper dust removal system, dust mask, or respirator can greatly reduce the health dangers associated with wood dust.

The negative health effects from exposure to wood dust are due to chemicals in the wood, added to the wood, or in the wood created by bacteria, fungi, or molds. Coughing or sneezing are caused by just the dust itself. Also, conditions like dermatitis and asthma may be activated due to chemicals found in the wood dust. For example, acids found naturally in western red cedar can cause asthma reactions and allergic effects.

To reduce the harmful effects of such exposure take precautions such as wearing a dust mask or respirator and protective clothing. Toxic woods contain chemicals that may be absorbed into the body through the skin, lungs, or digestive system and cause harm in other parts of the body. This includes headaches, giddiness, weight loss, breathlessness, cramps, and irregular heart beat. Toxic woods are typically hardwoods such as yew, teak, oleander, laburnum, and mansonia.

Many hardwoods and softwoods also contain chemicals that can irritate the eyes, nose and throat, causing shortness of breath, dryness and soreness of the throat, sneezing, tearing and conjunctivitis plus inflammation of the mucous membranes of the eye. Wood dust usually collects in the nose, causing sneezing and a runny nose. Other observed effects include nosebleeds, an impaired sense of smell, and complete nasal blockage.

My rule of thumb: Wear at least a dust mask. Avoid toxic woods. Cover as much skin as possible when working in a dusty environment.



BadBob

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Reply with quote  #4 
I've never sold any thing made of MDF. My thinking is that the people I want to be selling to are looking for quality toys. I don't think MDF has the ring of trust. Should I sell anything made from MDF I would definitely tell the buyer. To do otherwise would be dishonest. I want customers to trust me so they come back again. Granted, I haven't sold a lot (less than 100 toys) so take this with a grain of salt.

I just recently got my hands on some cheap from the HD cull lumber pile. I truly didn't understand about the dust until I cut a pile of 3.5x6.5 inch pieces. In spite of my dust collector it when everywhere. When you cut wood get mostly chips and a little dust. When you cut MDF you get mostly dust and a bunch of stuff that is so fine it looks like smoke. I thought my saw was burning the MDF. Cutting parts on a scroll saw isn't near as bad but there is still a lot more dust than you get with wood, I'll not be cutting MDF again in my garage.

When I use it up I don' plan to buy more any time soon.

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Rosiejane

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Reply with quote  #5 
Thanks everyone. I'll stick to solid wood. The only things I've used mdf on so far are my workbench and some drawer units for a built in desk, and then only because our budget wouldn't extend to using plywood. I always use a dust mask when cutting it and do all my cutting outdoors.
PaPa Jack

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Reply with quote  #6 
For those interested in the dangers of wood dust and the toxicity of various woods, I would suggend that you go to the Toxicity table of wood that is in the web site:
http://www.billpentz.com.  He seems to be the authority on dust collection.
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Dimitri

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Reply with quote  #7 
Hello

I'm total new here.

I would like to make wooden toys, but it is my first time.

What kind of wood do you use for toys?

Sorry for my English,
I live in Belgium , Europe :-)

Who can help me?

Thanks

Dimitri

john lewman

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Reply with quote  #8 
Hi Dimitri,

You ask a very important first question. I am in the USA and use common lumber available at our local lumber store called Home Depot. It is a low-cost lumber made of either pine, spruce or fir. Any common lumber will work for toys. Your lumber stores in belgium sell lumber by millimeter sizes. This in not a problem. You will be able to find a size of lumber close to the English dimensions on the toy plans. The plans are designed so you do not need to have the perfectly exact thickness or width.

We would love to see photos of your shop, your progress, and your toys as you grow as a toymaker. We have a new feature this week on our forum that allows you to insert large photo files, videos and PDF's into your posts. So feel free to post whatever you like. We have a fun, large, very active community and we love to welcome new members like you. Happy Toymaking!
BadBob

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Reply with quote  #9 
Dimitri,

You can use pretty much any wood you have on hand or easily available.

The big question you need to ask is how much work are you willing to do and how much money are you willing to spend. For small toys like the Play Pals the cost isn't much of an issue because the amount of material is so small.

Some wood is much harder to work with than others. I find hardwoods to be much easier to work with. Primarily because I picky about my surfaces and I find sanding soft woods such as pine to be more time consuming that harder woods. I am working on a batch of trucks that are made from oak and poplar. I  can easily sand them to a near glass smooth finish. If I had to pick one wood for toy making poplar would probably me my choice. ALthough there are plenty of woods I haven't tried.

MDF will work if you willing to put up with the crazy amount of dust it makes and your going to paint the toy.

Good quality plywood is great for some toys if you can get it. I've yet to find a local source. I've experimented with construction grade plywood and find it to be a real pain to use. Large voids, delamination, and splinters are a constant problem.

Hardboard can be used for some things. I think it makes a great back for puzzles.


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