Toymaker Gary Wisbey lives in jolly old England in Streatham in the Southwest of London. Gary works in electronics and started in woodworking a few years back making small wood gift boxes. He then had a go at making wood pull-along toys for a family member. His first toy was a rabbit with wheels. His family loved the pull-along toys so much that he decided to search for new toy plans to build from.
Discouraged by limited copyrights and royalties many plan makers required he was about to give up until he stumbled upon ToymakingPlans.com. Finding ToymakingPlans.com plan sets easy to follow with no limits on how many you can build and no royalties required Gary was ready to go and there was no stopping him!
Above: Gary shows off his finely crafted Ciccarelli Gran Prix wood toy.
Above: Gary sits outside his 6' x 10' brick shed workshop sipping a cup of English tea from his British mug. Gary attributes his woodworking bug to his grand dad who was always building items for the home and his artisitic flair to his Nan who loved to paint.
Above: Gary builds a beautiful version of Noah's Fun-Time Mini Ark.
Above: A peek inside Gary's 6' x 10' shop. In the foreground is Zanzibar Zoo and on the bandsaw table in the back is Dude Ranch.
Because of the small space Gary works in his most valuable tip is to, "Keep it clean!". He doesn't have the space for a table saw so he cuts sheet goods up in the garden using a circular saw and a straight edge. Gary likes to use as much recycled wood and materials that he can to save it going to the landfill.
"I always have to have a quick look when I go pass a skip or if someone is doing some building work or old bits of furniture that have been chucked out.
There are a handful of local companies that I get offcuts and end of line bits and bobs from. It's good to give things a new life in something else."
Above: Clockwise from the top, Mommy's Kitties, Bobsy Car Kids, Henri Hotrod from Scroll Saw Magic Roaring Twenties, and John Candy Pig from Carpet Buddies.
"You can also get a fair amount of wood offcuts of pine or bits of hardwood flooring or old pine flooring and clean it up so that it's as good as new."
Above: Clockwise from top left, Shark Sinatra from Carpet Buddies, Cherokee SUV and Sherman Tank from Super Simple Six Inch Specials.
Gary finds it great fun and relaxing making the toys. "I hand sand the toys with 220 grit sandpaper and use small files to get into the small places on some of the toys. I used to use a shop to buy child safe oil to finish the toys but now I make by own finishing paste wax. I've made up a batch of Cynthia's Non-Toxic Paste Wax from the video on the ToymakingPlans.com website. It's easy to make, easy to apply to the toy, lasts well and gives the toy a nice warm glow."
"I then like to pack the toys in clear plastic wrap with a bow so it's ready to be given as a gift. I had a stall at a crafts fair the first year I started making toys. When I sold some of my toys it felt good that someone wanted to pay money for something I've made. Since then I have done several more crafts shows. Later on I found Etsy.com and opened a shop on their website. It's been one year and it's been a big learning curve setting up the shop and stocking it. I found it hard to come up with a name for my online shop so I came up with No Batteries Required. I think the name is appropriate because in this high tech world where everything has to have batteries it's good to get back to good old basic simple toys and games that a child can just play with and enjoy without having to read a 100 page manual to use it."
You can visit Gary's No Batteries Required Etsy store by clicking here.
Above: Gary's shop may be a little cramped but it's brilliantly set up. Gary sets up Zanzibar Zoo outside his shop for a photo shoot on a rare sunny English day.
Gary can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.