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Friday, September 26, 2008

Scroll Sawing Egg Roller Toys

I wanted to end the week with a book review that got me started on this folk toy kick. I recently got Scroll Sawing Egg Roller Toys by Doug Turner. Don't look for it on your bookstore shelves, because you can only find it online. This is a self published 44 page ebook with detailed instructions, 12 egg roller patterns and 2 bonus craft show quick-sellers.

An egg roller is a wheeled folk toy popular in rural areas. A wooden egg balances between a set of wheels and spins as you push the roller. This mechanical movement is a lot of fun will provide little ones with hours of entertainment.

Traditionally, the egg roller was a pull toy. But the long string is now recognized as a strangulation hazard. So in the interest of safety, Doug left the pull string off the designs. He was also conscious about making sure that the wheels and egg would not be a choking hazard. To avoid toxic chemicals, he chose not to paint or finish his toys. However, he does offer suggestions for safe finishing.

The ebook comes on CD and mailed to your home. All you do is email Doug with your name and address, and he'll send a PayPal request via email. The CD was in my mailbox within 3 days. So I was very happy with the prompt service.

When I looked through the patterns, I immediately wanted to make the turtle roller. I read through the instructions and printed the pattern. I found the wheels and egg at a local craft store. I ended up using some scrap poplar and began cutting it out. The cutting, sanding and assembly took less than an hour. I wanted to add some color to my roller, so that took a bit more time. But in the end, I had a fun little toy for my son pictured to the right.

When I showed it to him, I was the greatest person in the world, at the same time the most unimportant person in the world. He was completely focused on his cool new toy. He grabbed it, sat down and immediately started to push the roller on the floor. It was quite a thrill to see my son enjoy a toy I built with my own two hands. At first, he wasn't terribly interested in the egg until I showed him how it worked. Then all he wanted to do is watch the egg spin! I think I have a winner! I'll be making a bunch of these for my nieces and nephews for Christmas!

Overall Impression:
I was pretty happy with Doug's book. The egg rollers were simple and easy to build. The charming design will certainly delight young and old alike. I can easily see how this would be a great seller at craft fairs. The patterns were a simple and effective. I found the turtle roller was a bit front heavy. But it certainly didn't affect the enjoyment or playability of the toy. The other designs look a bit more balanced. Doug provided great service, but I wish he had a shopping cart with instant download on his website. I'm an immediate gratification kinda guy. But the CD was at my home much quicker than I expected, which was a pleasant surprise. The book may not be as polished as something you'd find at a bookstore, but I didn't expect it to be. The information and the patterns contained within is where the real value was.

OK, here's the rundown:

The Pros

  • Full size patterns.
  • Descriptive assembly instructions and photos.
  • Instructions for production runs.
  • Jigs designs to make production easier.
  • Lists sources for pre-made parts.
  • 2 bonus craft show sellers.
  • Very good at answering questions promptly.
  • Prompt shipment and service.

The Cons
  • No shopping cart.
  • No instant download.
  • Turtle pattern was a bit front-heavy.

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