About Francis Shuter, toymaker from Merit, BC
Now in his 70s, Francis was a soapstone carver for many years before he discovered the joys of woodworking. He joined the Kamloops Woodworkers Association and volunteered at an event where wood toys were being made for the needy. The Initial Stages of Toymaking Comparing types of scroll saw blades Giving Back to the Community Francis and his group create toys that are distributed to needy kids throughout the area. Around 150 toys are donated to a First Nations Christmas program, while others are delivered to food banks, schools and fire departments. The group even surprises children with free toys as they stroll through town with their parents.
Francis enjoys his work, knowing that the finished product will be handed out to children from across the area, and will bring delight for many years to come. In fact, some of his pieces will be passed on from one generation to the next. From Parts to Finished Product, many of the toys that Francis creates are based on 1 1/4″ contoured wheels or 1 1/4″ treaded wheels, although some patterns make use of larger 1 1/2″ wheels. Axle pegs play a critical role in the construction, and the body of the toy is crafted from other wood pieces, many of which are sourced from Bear Woods Supply Company.
The result is a hand-crafted, high-quality toy that will provide many years of enjoyment. In this age of factory assembled, cheap molded plastic toys, creating something of quality is a craft that brings a deep sense of satisfaction.