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About Us

Quality, hardwood toys, made fresh daily since 1973!

I make heirloom-quality natural wooden toys for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. 

As a second generation toymaker, I'm happy to continue my family's tradition of providing children with a safe, durable, and eco-friendly alternative to imported plastic toys.

 

How we make our toys

I use locally-harvested red alder (also called Oregon alder) for most of the toys. A non-toxic, food-grade mineral oil finish brings out the rich, warm glow of this beautiful hardwood. The first step is to stamp out the shapes on the alder boards, then I cut them on a bandsaw  and carefully route and sand the edges to a  so our  a nice smooth finish for sensitive little hands. All paints and oils are non-toxic and safe for children. We've had our paints independently tested for lead, heavy metals and phthalates and they exceed federal safety guidelines for children’s toys. 

The toy designs combine color, sound, and movement to delight children and awaken the senses. I build the toys with care and use quality materials so they are truly built to last and to be passed along among siblings and down through generations.

I take pride in providing you with quality wooden toys made in Oregon. By choosing to buy toys made in the USA you are helping to support local economies and a healthier environment. Thank you!

Diana DeFazio, Owner/ Toymaker

A History of Papa Don's Toys

papa-don-with-cap.jpgPapa Don's Toys began in 1973 with a father's wish to make a natural alternative to plastic toys for his baby daughter (me) and later for his son, Daniel.  When he saw how much we loved his creations, our dad decided to try selling his handmade wooden toys at the Eugene Saturday Market held in downtown Eugene, Oregon. The response was tremendous - people loved his toys and he and our mom became full time toymakers. At that time and place (mid 70s in Oregon) there was a resurgence of interest in locally handcrafted items, much as there is again today.

Together, our parents grew Papa Don's Toys from its humble beginnings in a single car garage to a thriving family business. They bought land in Oregon's Coast Range and built a home and woodshop. This beautiful 60-acre homestead is still home to Papa Don's Toys. My brother and I had part time jobs as toymakers throughout our teens and early adult years.

Sadly, Papa Don passed away unexpectedly in 2009 while hiking in the mountains with our mom. When he wasn't making toys, Papa Don loved to hike in the woods, covering more than a thousand miles of Pacific Northwest trails over the years.

Today, I make the toys and sell them primarily online and at a few select craft shows in Oregon. I'm proud to be carrying on Papa Don's tradition of providing children with heirloom-quality, natural wooden toys.

 

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