How to Build Folk Toys

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 You’ll love the old flipperdingers, whimmydiddles, and their
country cousins now being made in the Southern mountains
By Henry B. Comstock
T
ODAY, a group of North Carolina
mountain boys are busy carving a
niche with their jackknives in the
highly competitive toy industry. They all
work in their homes around Beech Creek,
a region just a whoop and a holler west
of Boone, N. C. Their products are faithful copies of folk toys that have delighted
children of the Southern Appalachians
for two centuries or more. Wonderful
gadgets are these, made of bits of laurel
and rhododendron, seasoned hickory, red
cedar, river cane, and acorn cups.
The idea of reviving interest in, and a
market for, these folk toys came from
Richard Chase, authority on the folk traditions of the Appalachian South. One day
Chase wondered if there wasn’t still a
place for such old-time favorites as the
gee-haw whimmydiddle, flipperdinger,
fly killer, whizzer, and cornstalk fiddle.
With encouragement from the Southern Highland Handicraft Guild, he talked
over the idea with his nearest neighbors
—Jack Guy, 31; Sam Ward, 70; Clint
Harmon, 16; Dexter Stines, 16; Bill Stines,
14; Jerry Greene, 13; and the Guy and

 

 

 

 

 

 

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