Safe Wooden Toys use Safe Wooden Trees
Choose the Best Wood for your toys. Going to the local lumber store or big box improvement centers to buy wood to make toys is a bit reckless. Much of the wood at the local store is chemically treated and mainly used for construction or outdoor projects.
The best wood for toys is quality hardwoods such as Maple, Birch, Oak, Beech, Walnut, Poplar, and Ash.
BUTTERNUT, MAHOGANY should NOT be used to make kid’s toys. PINE, SPRUCE, and FIR can be used as well, but they are softwood and are more prone to dent and possibly break-away, so consider these more for older children. They also are more likely to splinter, so for the very young, it’s not a good choice.
MAPLE is the best wood for safe children’s toys (I LOVE MAPLE WOOD and the Syrup is a bonus) BUT it is not easily available in other countries, with the exception of Canada of course. So for this, you should look for BIRCH or BEECH, CHERRY; and even BASSWOOD is a wonderful wood but much higher in price because it is not as easy to acquire. Many wooden animal toys found on Etsy are coming in from Russia and Eastern Europe and they tend to use Ash or Pine, but mostly Pine.
You should consider allergies and toxicity.
MAPLE gives you all the properties you want and is hypoallergenic. Be cautious of Walnut due to sawdust.
It’s why most wooden toys in the US are made of hardwood Maple. In our first launch, we made our toys using RUBBERWOOD because it is safe for kids, sustainable for the environment, and has a great smooth finish. But we then learned that some children may have a latex allergy or the adult who gives the gift may have a bad reaction, so we decided to switch to other options.
POPLAR is OK but should be 2″ or thicker with few details. Stay away from any FRUITWOOD as it often contains cyanide (apple seeds have naturally occurring cyanide).
So this is what I know and I am updating this post as I learn. Keep in mind there are many types of wood out there. I just found beautiful toys out of South Africa that uses Merant wood. A beautiful Red color wood not easily found in the US.
As I learn more I will add the reasons each is considered Safe or Unsafe rather than a blanket statement.