Feb 26, 2007

John Linck makes toys for your children's children. Like a midwestern Santa, he handcrafts heirloom quality wooden toys in a basement workshop in Wisconsin.

We love his Toy Block Wagon. Made of Black Cherry, with Hickory dowels and dovetail joinery, this wagon is a piece that can take all that your kids can dish out, and the weight of the red oak blocks in the wagon bed make this toy a great piece for children just starting to walk, and there is probably nothing greater than unit blocks to inspire a child's imagination.

It isn't just about the beautiful toys, though - although they are beautiful. What makes Mr. Linck's toys so wonderful is his astonishing attention to detail.

In a world filled with plastic, it is refreshing to see this level of craftsmanship going into the toys he creates, and as most parents know, it is the simplest of toys that often inspire the most meaningful play. But as much as we love Mr. Linck's toys, we also love how much he cares about what he does. Because the production of his toys uses 15-20 trees each year, he supports the National Arbor Day Foundation, and if you send him a photo of your child using a toy he built, he will write your child a letter back, explaining how their toy was made specially for them. You don't get that from the big chain toy stores!

This gorgeous rocking horse is made of Black Walnut, and is sturdy enough to hold 300 lbs. Its simple lines make it a usable work of art. Not every toy we buy our children is going to become a family heirloom, but it is nice to think about having a few really good pieces like this in your nursery today, pieces that will still be beautiful for the generation after this one.

The toy train cars are amazing! If some of the bigger toys are out of your budget range, the train cars are a very reasonable $29.00 each. We love the train engine, and the pickle barrel car, but our favourite is the giraffe car. If you are thinking about collecting these cars, there is a train car of the month club - $34, including S&H puts a new traincar in the mail each month to your favourite child.

This level of artisan craftsmanship is increasingly rare in toy manufacturing. Seeing Mr. Linck's work reminded us to be thoughtful in choosing our children's toys, and to consider quality over quantity.

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