Wooden Toy Lubricants

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squeaky wooden truck

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?

walnut oil bottle 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!
Bottom view of truck lubrication point
Some people use food grade mineral oil in place of walnut oil. Generally this oil is safe for humans but some people may have trouble 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.

talcum powder bottle
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.


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