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Toys should be timeless and built to last! I'm going to build the coolest wooden castles you and your kids will ever play with! Read more

Cameron Park, CA Crafts
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This project was successfully funded on February 5, 2014.

Toys should be timeless and built to last! I'm going to build the coolest wooden castles you and your kids will ever play with!

Cameron Park, CA Crafts
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About this project

Hi there friendly potential backer and thank you for taking the time to read about my project!  The Cliff's Notes version is that with your help I am going to build really cool, really sturdy wooden castles.  These will be the kinds of toys worthy of "Greatest (belated) Christmas Ever" to kids and "coolest way to display the collection" status to adults who refuse to grow up.  If you are intrigued, please read on!

This project is about two ideals:  that imagination is the most powerful force in a child's development, and that the best toys are timeless.  I grew up during the transition from G.I. Joes and Barbies to video games and electronic gadgets.  I had plenty of both, yet my fondest memories aren't of high scores and beaten levels.  They are of the worlds I created with green army men, Legos, and my imagination.  I'm not the only person my age that feels this way.  There's a strange phenomenon going on in the world of playtime.  More and more I hear of children casting aside their iGizmos in favor of their parent's old toys; rediscovered in the attic or rescued from Grandma's basement.  In fact that's sort of the story behind this project.

This project is inspired by the memory of my grandfather Ed Fromm.  Ed was a carpenter, designer, and tinkerer.  From the doors of his workshop emerged beautiful furniture, game tables, cabinets, and ingenious widgets.  The scrap corner served as stock for the imaginations of his grandchildren.  With his guiding hands we learned to turn leftover pieces into everything from bird houses to battleships.  Going through some old things I stumbled upon some plans for a project we never got around to;  a wooden fortress for toy soldiers... 

...Flash forward a few years.  My girlfriend's 10 year old was whining that he had nothing to do because the Xbox controller was out of batteries.  It was a beautiful sunny day and I was trying to get some work done.  I ran down a mental list of all of the flashy toys and games he had to play with, but there was no interest in any of them.  In a fit of desperation I handed him a shopping bag filled with old green army men and pointed to a rocky part of the yard.  Three hours later the backyard general returned grinning ear to ear.  "Jon these things are awesome!  But you need to build a base for the bad guys!"  In the coming days I discovered many people had similar stories.  The final "ah-ha!" moment came when a five year old told me his new flashy store bought castle wasn't "real and mean looking enough."  Within a few weeks pencil sketches had become CAD models had become prototypes.  Grandpa Ed's Workshop was born.

That's enough of a history lesson, time to hear about the castles.  First of all my castles are big; big enough that 1:32 scale and 54 mm figures (green army men size) will fit in them and 3" figurines (action figure sized) won't look like giants next to them.  The castles are made up of freestanding pieces that can be rearranged.  I'm offering full castles and standalone pieces.  The basic pieces are the Guard Tower, Corner Tower, Grand Tower, Gatehouse, and Wall Sections. All pieces are handmade to the highest level of quality and craftsmanship. 

Each piece is constructed out of furniture grade 1/4" and 3/8" Baltic Birch plywood with solid wood accents.  The pieces are painted with a textured stone color of your choosing and sealed with a matte clear coat.  The finish and durability is second to none.  For comparison, most commercially available wooden castles are made of thin 6 mm plywood and finished with decals.

Fabricating large numbers of these castles wouldn't be possible without careful planning and engineering.  The various pieces are designed with common features and interchangeable parts.  I use patterns, jigs, and templates to maintain consistency.  Careful tracking of material usage helps me to minimize waste.  The prototyping effort allowed me to develop a process flow that greatly reduces production time.  I've also developed a range of customization options.  These include accentuating the base designs with special decor, paint schemes, and accessories. 

This project is starting from the ground up.  I've outfitted the workshop and built the prototypes out of my own pocket.  Your Kickstarter pledge will help me recoup some of those costs and fund initial production.  Besides financial support, I'm eager to crowd-source design ideas and solicit feedback.  This is going to be quite an adventure and I'd like my backers to share in the joy of the ride.  I sincerely hope you enjoy exploring the castles and thank you in advance for your pledge.  In a few months you'll be the excited owner of a castle that would make Grandpa Ed proud!

Regards, Jon

Risks and challenges

All of the equipment to make the castles is on hand. The enthusiasm of Kickstarters like you will drive how quickly production can get rolling! Time is the biggest risk to this project. I will be doing most of the fabricating and will do my best to not keep you waiting. My schedule is conducive to this, and I thoroughly enjoy my workshop time. Thankfully there is a wonderful group of people who believe in my vision and are eager to help where they can. It will be a wild ride and we can't wait!!!!

I have big plans for developing new products and expanding production. Of course growth depends on a supportive market. A successful Kickstarter campaign will prove that the interest is there. In my wildest dreams I would love to take this project and grow a full time business out of it.

Special thanks to Dan Pryzgoda for producing the video, Dan Miller for camera work and moral support, Matt Fromm for design input, and Melisa Miles for encouraging me to take the big step.

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Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge $5 or more

    3 backers Limited (97 left of 100)

    As a thank you for your token support you will receive a scroll acknowledging your contribution and a "Grandpa Ed's Workshop" sticker.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    2 backers Limited (18 left of 20)

    For offering $10 of support you will receive my eternal gratitude! But since you are probably hoping for more I will include a Watch Tower. Use it as a standalone piece or add to it with wall sections! Measures 4"Wx6"Hx4"D

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    1 backer Limited (19 left of 20)

    For 10$ you will receive a 9" long wall section. Use these to connect your other reward pieces! Measures 9"Wx6"Hx2.5"D

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $20 or more

    2 backers Limited (18 left of 20)

    For supporting me with a 20$ pledge you will receive a freestanding Guard Tower. This two story tower is over 8" tall, has arrow loops on 3 sides, a ladder to the second floor, and an open back. Use it as a standalone piece or add to it with wall sections! Measures approx 5"Wx9"Hx5"D

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $30 or more

    4 backers Limited (6 left of 10)

    For supporting me with a 30$ pledge you will receive the Grand Tower. This freestanding tower is over 9" tall, has arrow loops on 3 sides, a drawbridge entrance, stairway to the second floor, and is open on the backside. Use it as a standalone piece or add to it with wall sections! Measures approx 7"Wx10"Hx7"D

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $40 or more

    2 backers Limited (2 left of 4)

    For $40 of support you will receive the Keep! The keep is a freestanding version of the Gate House. This amazing piece features a drawbridge with winch, movable portcullis, two floors, and arrow loops on three sides. The backside is open for access. Measures 13"Wx9"Hx5"D

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    1 backer Limited (9 left of 10)

    For believing in this enough to pledge 50$ I will happily send you one of the Knight's Castles. The Knight's Castle comes with 3 corner Watch Towers, 4 short Wall sections, and an opening Guard Tower. Assembled this castle measures roughly 13"x13"x9". One of the walls has swinging gate doors.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $85 or more

    2 backers Limited (8 left of 10)

    I have something extra special for those of you willing to pledge $85. You will receive the wonderful Prince's Castle. The Prince's castle includes a Grand Tower, 4 wall sections, and 3 Guard Towers. The Grand Tower has a drawbridge entry way and opens to reveal an ornate staircase. One Guard Tower opens for extra access.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $130 or more

    2 backers Limited (2 left of 4)

    For $130 I will build you a King's Castle. This is my largest castle and comes with a Gate House (with drawbridge and portcullis), opening Grand Tower (with staircase), 3 Guard Towers, 4 long wall sections, and 3 short wall sections.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $150 or more

    0 backers Limited (5 left of 5)

    Anyone willing to commit $150 to my vision receives a fully decorated Prince's Castle. The top and bottom floors of each tower will be uniquely adorned and furnished. Rooms will include the Great Hall with Round Table, Armory with weapons racks, Barracks, Kitchen, Cellar, Royal Quarters, and of course a Dungeon. You pick the color scheme and I will make some accommodations for personalization. Because of the extra detail and customization these may not be ready until May.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    1 backer Limited (1 left of 2)

    For $250 I will build you a special King's Castle fit for King and collector alike. This means special accents, two toned exterior paint, flags and banners, ladders, and upholstered and furnished rooms. These will include the King's throne room in the Grand Tower, a dungeon, armory, bed chambers, kitchen, cellar, dining hall, chapel, and stables. You pick the color scheme and I will make some accommodations for personalization. Because of the extra detail and customization these may not be ready until May.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world

Funding period

- (30 days)