Wooden toys like in the old days

It's hard to believe that wooden toys are still being made in an era when more and more companies are focusing on new video games with all kinds of themes. And yet, there are idealists who believe that wooden toys can still be relevant today. For today's grandparents, these kinds of toys were the joy of childhood. They are environmentally friendly, simple and help children get more exercise. You can discover them on our Facebook page Wooden toys. The people who came up with this idea are Rareș Roman and his wife Ribana, from Râșnov, Brașov county. Together they give life to pieces of wood, mostly salvaged, turning them into eco-friendly toys for babies and young children. Rareș tells us more about how the idea was born, how it came to work and other aspects of the business.

eco-friendly toys
eco-friendly toys

Eco-friendly wooden toys for children discovering the world

How did you get the idea to make traditional wooden toys for children?

The birth of our daughter was the trigger. I have always had a passion for wood and woodworking, but I was all the more motivated to pass on to my daughter the pleasure of experiencing natural textures in her play. We will want to teach her how beautiful and rewarding it is to be able to create something through your own powers, something that is at once practical, educational, beautiful and timeless. And wood is, from my perspective, the best material - organic, durable, recyclable.

When did you start?

Just this year, since August. We're still at the beginning, but very passionate.

You said a lot of the wood is reclaimed. Where do you recover it from?

In most cases the wood comes from construction debris (for example, wood left over from building an attic), wood salvaged from old damaged furniture or even wind-blown branches. Of course, I also use wood bought from specialist kilns or factories.

What species of wood do you use when building toys?

Most toys require hardwood, so they use a lot of oak, but also beech, fir, cork oak, walnut and even mahogany.

How are the toys finished? What kind of materials do you use?

Wood sanding is done by hand, with classic sandpaper and a lot of patience. I adapted an old sewing machine, turned it into a sanding machine and now I can say that we also sand by foot. At the end, we choose whether the piece is given a linseed oil or beeswax finish or whether it remains unfinished, natural. We don't use paint or other types of oil.

eco-friendly toys
eco-friendly toys
The machine
eco-friendly toys
Ball rattle

We hope to have a viable family business in time.

Where do you work? Do you have a workshop, a small factory?

I already had a small workshop at home even before I started working with eco-friendly toys. In the meantime we have expanded it and made it suitable for the current work.

Is it just you in the workshop or is it a family business?

Only I do the woodworking and make the toys, but I consult with my wife about patterns and sizes. With hard work and the right customers, we hope to turn it into a viable family business in time.

As we are talking about children's toys, approval is certainly needed. Do you have all the necessary permits and approvals? Are they difficult to obtain?

We are in the final stage of obtaining the necessary approvals for the marketing of products. There are many rules and the documentation is very dense. But we have succeeded and in a very short time we will be in compliance with all the requirements.

eco-friendly toys
Cube in cube
eco-friendly toys

Good luck, Rareș and Ribana!

About the author

Mihaela Radu

Mihaela Radu is a chemical engineer but has a great passion for wood. She has been working in the field for more than 20 years, wood finishing being what defined her during this period. She gained experience working in a research institute, in her own company, as well as in a multinational. She wants to continuously share her experience with those who have the same passion - and more.

1 comment

Add a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • The wooden toys presented by you are nice but they are not properly finished, pine wood is not the most suitable for making them (they have surfaces that are very rough and have burn marks) and this is not allowed especially for children. However the intention is laudable....!


Subscribe to newsletter