In doing some cleaning a few weeks back (or more precisely, procrastinating enough that Mrs. Toy Making Dad was doing some cleaning) the ladder part of this toy showed up, with a broken rung or two, on my desk. Several years ago, I had seen plans for this toy in a since forgotten library book. I had built the ladder but put it aside when I got frustrated with trying the make the peg without a drill press or band saw. (I now call that period the "Dark Ages.") I decided after ten years (but with no plans) it was time to finish the toy up.
"When made properly", hmmm, there's the rub eh? Okay. There are two equally important parts to the toy and each has to be made pretty precisely. (I know, "Hey, knucklehead... something is either precise or it isn't" Well, you'll see...)
I really like this type of toy and as is usual with me and these sorts of things, there is a bit of history behind it. The first one of these toys I ever had, I purchased in a public market in San Antonio. These markets have stalls with all manner of crafts from Mexico. Now, this toy isn't uniquely Mexican, but the way the tumble peg was decorated, was distinctly Mexican. It had Loteria cards (sort of Mexican bingo) on each side of the peg. This made it fun to see which image would end up showing once the peg reached the bottom.
I see this toy sold fairly often with monkeys decorating it, but I decided to go back to the Loteria images for this one. I found some downloadable images that worked perfectly on the site of a neat soap making supply store called Bramble Berry. (They have a lot of interesting ideas and supplies there.) The images are a free download from their site. It includes a devil and a woman so I felt like that was a fun contrast. I just resized them to fit the pegs, printed them, glued them to the pegs and used a gloss acrylic spray to seal them.
So here is the final product. It doesn't tumble perfectly every time but it does most of the time. Just like the Sliding Tumble Peg Toy, the fact that it hangs up sometimes actually makes it more fun. It builds a little suspense.
Ten years in the making but only a few hours in the finishing. Totally worth it.