|Squeaky wheels always get the grease? Perhaps, but when it
comes to wooden toys, grease won't cut it at all. If a toy has parts that roll
or slide then a good non toxic lubricant will often come in handy. Some woods
like spruce and pine have sap that can cause moving parts to stick and become
noisy. So what is a good lubricant for your wood toy?
||I recommend something that is non toxic because children
find wooden toys appealing and some younger children will place toys in their
mouths. One of the best lubricants is walnut oil. This oil is often used as a wood
finish. It you have a salad bowl then there is a good chance it was finished
with walnut oil. Many stores that carry wood finishing products will carry
walnut oil. Use a small dropper or even a tooth pick and apply the oil to a
toy's moving parts. For wheels, try to get the oil between the axle and toy
body. If the toy has an axle peg then place a small drop between the peg and the
wheel. Use only a tiny amount. Be aware that the oil will spread a bit when it
hits the wood so keep a tissue handy. Spin the wheel to work in the oil be
amazed how well the wheel turns! Be careful pushing the toy because it will
roll much farther and faster than before…even right off a table!
|Some people use food grade mineral oil in place of walnut
oil. Generally this oil is safe for humans but some people may have
with the fumes. Lemon oil can be a good alternative also. Stay clear of
cooking oils. They can go rancid over time and create a mess.
|If you prefer a dry lubricant then talcum powder may do the
trick. Try to get the powder into the axle holes. You may need to use a folded
piece of paper to guide the powder where you want it. Spin the wheel to work
the powder in. This may better on some
woods than others. If it doesn’t do the trick, you can always use compressed
air to blow out the powder.
|One other dry lubricant is candle wax. This is usually used
during the construction of wooden toys. Ideally you would rub the wax directly
on an exposed surface. This may work great for sliding parts. To get wax into
less open areas, you may have to carefully melt the wax and pour it into the
holes similar to lubricating with oil. Shaving the wax into a powder may work
also. Just apply the wax powder like talcum powder.