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The story behind SCHNITTBLOX begins long ago in the early 1980's, when I used to spend summers with my grandfather, a renowned woodworker and furniture maker. He was particularly skilled in woodcarving, making beautiful animals and toys from a single block of hardwood. Naturally, as a small boy, I idolized him and eagerly wanted to copy everything he did. Naturally, as a doting grandfather, he humored me. My first carving project involved a bar of Ivory soap, a butter knife, and a trip to the ER after slicing my hand wide open.

A few years later, my grandfather had either forgotten our earlier experience, or for some reason had developed new (and thoroughly unfounded) confidence in my abilities. So he gave me a block of pine, a reasonably sharp knife, and showed me how to carve a chain from a single piece of wood. After a week or so, I think I had hacked out maybe a link or two. Losing patience with my slow progress, I tried to gouge out larger and larger chunks of wood until the whole thing fell apart. At least that time nothing was injured except my pride.

Two decades later, I have two small children of my own, plenty of patience, very little free time, and even less disposable income. Nostalgic for the high-quality wooden blocks we played with as kids, I set out in search of a set for my own children. Basically, everything you can find in a toy store--even the upscale European stores we have around here--is made in China, covered in cheap paint, and costs a fortune. So I went to the local Home Depot, bought a 4-foot-long one-by-two poplar board, hand saw and miter box, and a sheet of sand paper. The rest, as they say, is history.

Now, four years after making my first block, I have upgraded the hand saw to a 10-inch bandsaw, the sand paper with a dual belt/disk sander, and have produced over a hundred sets of blocks as gifts for friends and family. But don't let the fancy power tools fool you: each and every block is still crafted with love and carefully inspected for any flaws. And now I want to share the joy of hand-crafted wooden blocks with the general public. I'm not in this to get rich, but they are time consuming, and I do need to spend money on the highest quality supplies, so I have assigned some modest monetary value for the products available. They are still cheaper than most things you can find in a store, and probably the cheapest hand-made blocks available anywhere in the US.

 About the name: While the name SCHNITTBLOX is on one level simply a melodic concatenation of the artist's name and the medium in which he works, it also works as a double entendre: the German/Yiddish word "schnitt" means "to cut," which of course is exactly how these blocks are made, but cutting a long piece of raw lumber into precision-engineered toys.