David and Judy Jones at their workshop in Carrabelle.


David and Judy Jones created Toymakers of Franklin County to make wooden toys for sick and underprivileged children.

Their toys reach the communities of Franklin, Wakulla, Gulf and surrounding counties. “We just donated 900 toys in the last two weeks to various organizations around. Some going to Africa, some going to Quincy, Florida,” David says.

Most of their toys are made for underprivileged children as part of their mission, “but we won’t ever not give a kid a toy,” David says.

David and Judy also, give the toys to the local Carrabelle church that in turn sends the toys out through the Good Samaritans group.

This all started when David became inspired by another group from Hudson, Florida known as the Toymakers – a four-person operation established in 1982. They gave David and Judy a pamphlet on how to get started making the toys.

“I met him 17 years ago, we had come to a little shop, and the more I got to know him they invited me down to see what they were doing, and I said to myself I’m going to do this someday.’ It took me until I turned 72 to start it,” David says.

Judy adds: “All of this is volunteer work but there’s actually only two, my husband and another guy, and they do all of the cutting, sanding, and painting and get it to the decoration part. Then I decorate and I have three ladies that help me decorate,” Judy says. “And I hate to say the word ‘I’, except for the decorating but there really is no we... I’m here 40, 50 (hours a week),” David says.

The first part of the lengthy process is with a vinyl machine to make stickers to draw an outline on the wood. They also make their own axles out of 53-foot dowels and paint them different colors.

Everything that goes into the wooden toys is handmade. The only thing in their toyshop they don’t make is the wheels that go on the toy. David buys 6,500 wheels at a time. The process involves taking 288 wheels and putting them on a tray and spraying them with paint then letting them dry and flipping them for another coat.

Once they cut the wood from the hand-drawn outline, it goes through a sanding process. The toy gets sanded three times and gets rounded to ensure there are no rough edges that the children could get hurt on.

I’ve painted every toy that we’ve done,” David says. “It’s probably 6,000 toys now in two years. Everyone, except (Judy) helped me paint in the beginning but she had to start doing this because we didn’t have anyone to help us.”

The toy gets painted four times and gets hand-sanded three times with 600-grit paper.
“That’s how they finish a car – with the 600 grit. Then I paint them again,” David says.
The entire process of making one of the toys is a 32-step process, with 50 toys at a time.
“You’ve got to really like it, it’s not for everyone,” David says.

But they are always looking for volunteers. Even though they dont get to see the kids when they receive the toys, “It’s all for them,” David and Judy say. If you would be interested in volunteer work with the Toymakers of Franklin County give a call to (850)-755-3149.