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Category Archives: Toys are born

A Heavy Dogwood Birch Is Born

It has been some time since there has been a posting in the “Toys Are Born” series. This one is a simple make of a large Birch. The main material used is Cornus albaSibirica‘ also known as Siberian or Red Barked Dogwood. Rather than bore you with the Horticultural details of this shrub, here are a few links, for those that wish to learn more about this plant Cornus alba – Wikipedia, Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’ / RHS Gardening, and Cornus alba

Getting the branches

If the Dogwood is cut close to the ground in the spring it will produce long red stems during the summer, that will stay supple through the winter until the spring and are usable for this purpose throughout this period. Cut about 10 stems from the shrub, choosing the straightest and best coloured. As you can see from the photo, if properly pruned by spring, this shrub will produce very long stems in one seasons growth.

Making them usable

Pick the six choicest stems, keeping the rest for reserve. Using some secateurs, cut them to a manageable length but leave them at least 20cm longer than you want the finished article to be. then trim off all of the small side branches.

First binding

Lay the six stems close together and using Gaffer Tape (that’s Duct Tape to those of you who prefer to use the American name) stick the stems together in a line and then do the same from the other side, as in the photo above. This is to stop any of the stems slipping out of place once the Birch is finished.

Rolling the stems

Now roll the stems together, as tightly as you can.

Making the handle

Using some secateurs, trim the ends of the stems flat. Then using Gaffer Tape bind the end of the stems together for about 15 cm of their length. Bind the tape around until it is about 3 layers deep. This will be the main binding for the Birch and will form a comfortable handle for the spanker.

The second bind

Grasp the stems in a fist and move that fist up and down the stems until you find the pinching point that creates the spread of the branches that you want on the finished Birch. At this point bind the stems together with Gaffer Tape, as in the photo above. Bind the tape around three times to create a strong bond.

The final trim

Decide what the final length of the Birch is to be, for this one I decided on 110 cm. Using secateurs, trim the stems evenly, so that they are all the same length.

The result

You should now have a large, menacing looking, beautifully red Birch bundle. It should make a wonderful swish, when swung through the air and can be used to instil a strong psychological threat. In use though this is not the most severe type of Birch and you will find it has to be swung pretty hard to bring on a severe pain level. At normal levels of play the pain levels produced are not that harsh and even those with a relatively low level of pain tolerance should be able to play with this toy. It does need to be made out of freshly cut stems and does have a limited life span of about three to four weeks. If you have access to a Siberian Dogwood shrub though it costs next to nothing to make and is available for use right through the winter period and into the spring. It is also a nice plant for a bit of winter colour for any garden.


A Spanking Machine Website

Look what I found 🙂



I don’t do forums and other things, I just tend to stick to blogs for my info, so if this is old news to everyone else, please except my apologies. But on a little web surf I did come across this site The Spanking Machine. As some of you might remember, I did try and fail to build a spanking machine myself, as can be seen in the series of posts that ended in this post SALI mk1 is Born – Part Twelve (And Last). I do intend to try again but it has proved difficult to find some of the materials, for some of the ideas that I have had. This website is great for inspiration though. It has illustrations and pictures of spanking machines both real and fictional as well as some good ideas on how to build a machine. If for nothing else but curiosity it is worth visiting.


The link is The Spanking Machine again


And just to round off this post

here is a little clip that I found on YouTube illustrating how a vintage spanking machine works.


A Nice Little Spanking Prop

A Traditional style school slate

I was walking past the kitchen scribble board section, of my local DIY store, when amongst all the dry wipes and magnet sticker boards, I spotted what appeared to be an old style school slate. On closer inspection I found that it was actually made of slate and was available at the very reasonable price of 2 Euros and 99 cents. So the purchase  was made and here it is.

It looked a little two bright and shiny to fit into a fantasy, old time, school scenario. The challenge was to make it look like it had had 20 years or so of use and abuse, in about half an hour. It was time to get the tools out.

Well I let you judge for yourselves if the result was worthwhile.

I could just imagine something like this hanging on the wall, by the entrance to the school room, so that all the pupils would be aware of the fate awaiting poor Fostrop at the end of the school day, as they filed back in from the playground.



>The Catholic Ferula, Research And A Request For Further Information


The Project

I want to do another in the Toys are born posting series. The aim is to recreate, as closely as possible, using modern materials, a ferula, as used to be used in Catholic schools in the UK and some other countries. In it’s most basic description, this sort of ferula was a piece of whale bone encased in leather. Obviously real whale bone cannot be used but hopefully I will be able to find a substitute that will be very similar.

How you may be able to help

Research as I might, I have not been able to find much about the actual details of what these implements where actually like. So if you have personal experience of these or have heard an account of someone with experience of a real ferula or have seen an old one in real life or even in a museum, please can you tell me what it looked and felt like. In particular I am looking for answers to the following questions –

1/ How thick was it?

2/ How flexible or not was it?

3/ What kind of leather was used (thick? thin? textured? smooth?)?

4/ How was the leather attached? e.g. Was it folded over and stitched on one side or did the stitching go all the way round?

5/ Does anyone have the web address of a site that has a picture of a real ferula?

This and any more information would be most welcome.

What I have found out so far

This is the only picture of a ferula that I have found so far, it is from M C Customs, but I think it is more of a Greek style ferula, stiff leather rather than having a hard “core” and so do not think that this is the same type of ferula that I want to make.

I have found two vague descriptions so far one from Excerpts From The Book :: Alfred Tolhurst – The Life and Times of a Victorian Entrepreneur that went

“The Jesuits were well known as great disciplinarians, punishment being swift and harsh but usually fair. The weapon used for this was called a ferula consisting of a flat piece of whalebone covered in leather some three inches wide and ten inches long”

and the other from Rhyme And Punishment – CBS News that went

“Our teachers were authorised to hit us with a nasty device called The Ferula. The Ferula is shaped like the sole of a shoe. It’s made of whalebone, covered in leather and – so, we always joked – was manufactured by the Sisters of Mercy.”

I have found many accounts of people receiving the ferula but very little by way of accurate descriptions. I would greatly appreciate any help that anyone could give me on my quest to make an accurate as possible ferula.

If anyone wants to read more about the ferula you can follow the links below
St Ignatius’ College – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Caned Or Strapped/Tawsed On Hands? – Forums
Richard Milward – Telegraph
Goodbye, Mister Thwackum – Arts & Entertainment – The Independent


>A Wet Chamois Leather Flogger Is Born – Part Six, Wetting, Testing And Costs – A Hiatus Repost


It is a long time since I have done a “make”, perhaps I should do another one soon. This is the conclusion to making a toy that I have been most satisfied with. Not only does it work well and look great it is also something that I have never seen for sale and so is a special item to have in the toy box. Original post HERE.

If you have missed any of the posts in this series and wish to see them they are linked below

A Wet Chamois Leather Flogger Is Born – Part One

A Wet Chamois Leather Flogger Is Born – Part two, The Handle Base And Marking Out the Chamois

A Wet Chamois Leather Flogger Is Born – Part Three, Cutting The Chamois And Attaching It To The Handle

A Wet Chamois Leather Flogger Is Born – Part Four, Continuing With The Handle

A Wet Chamois Leather Flogger Is Born – Part Five, Finishing The Handle And The Wetting/Drying Stand

Re nailing the handle

Anyone who read the last post in this series will remember that I was not too happy with the brass coloured nails on the handle (first photo). two of these where repositioned and a second row was put in for visual effect. As can be seen in the second photo, it is a big improvement.

The first wetting

the new pride and joy is finished and a nice clean bucket has been found for its first introduction to water. I did try a couple of swings at my back with the flogger in its ‘never been in water’ state, it was incredibly lightweight, I could hardly feel it, in this state it may be a good toy for those who are into psychological play rather than real pain play.

The bucket was filled to the correct level with tap water, the flogger was tied into its wetting position and the stand, with the flogger attached, was lowered into the bucket. The tails where not prodded and poked into the water but allowed to absorb the water in their own time. The flogger took about an hour and a half to soak fully.

The first testing

The first testing happened in the bath room. Firstly the flogger was used fully wet over my shoulders, onto my back. the impacts where a very heavy thump and had the unusual effect of leaving a cold area where the tails had landed, as opposed to the heating effect of a dry toy. After about two dozen strokes the water was running down my back and down the tiles of the bath room, used in this state this flogger does spray a lot of water around but the impact sensation was good and very different from a dry toy. The tails of the flogger did tend to tangle a little.
The tails of the flogger where then squeezed out as dry as they could be and more strokes where applied. In this state the flogger is still very thumpy although not as much as before and has a strange after effect of leaving a little stingy sensation, where it has landed, that happens a couple of seconds after impact. The area of impact is still cooled by the water. The tails did not tangle when used in this state. next the flogger was left to dry out for a couple of hours until it was in a state of not really dry or wet but more slightly damp. A few strokes where applied in this state and it was found to be surprisingly like a dry leather flogger complete with heating effect.

After use the tails had, worryingly, stretched and so where trimmed to an even length that fitted the stand. The flogger was then left to stand and dry properly for two days.

The second testing

Chamois leather tends to become stiff after it has been wet and then dried, so the flogger was first put into the water in its drying position, on the stand, until the ends of the tails had become flexible and was then re tied into its normal position for soaking. this time the flogger was fully saturated with water after less than ten minutes. The same testing sequence as before was repeated and the impact and after effects found to be the same as before. There was no problems with the tails tangling this time.

when the flogger was placed on the stand to dry it was found that the tails had not stretched this time, that, thankfully, seems to be a first time use only event.

Conclusion – This is a very effective toy that can produce two types of thumpy cold impact, that are different from a dry flogger and one effect that is similar to a dry leather flogger, depending on how wet it is. I am very happy with it.


Free – the wood for the handle and the cord which came from an old drawstring bag.

Chamois leather – 3.95 Euros.
Strong camping binding material strip – 3.31 Euros for 2 meters.
Cloth binding used to decorate the cloth binding and cord – 0.50 Euros for five meters.
Brass coloured decorative nails – 2 boxes at 1.37 Euros per box, total 2.74 Euros.
Screw in metal loop – 1.37 Euros for a box of six, so the cost for one is 0.23 Euros.
Marine varnish – For the sake of argument we will say 0.50 Euros worth was used.
Some small nails – again for sake of argument 0.5o Euros.
Glue – lets say it was about 1.00 Euros worth.
Metal stand – 2.75 Euros.
A beer for the mate who let me borrow his belt sander – 1.50 Euros

Total cost – 16.98 Euros


For just under 17 Euros I have a toy, that try as I might, I have not been able to find any where for sale, that has a unique and special impact effect. The toy looks nice, I particularly like the brown, brass, fawn colour combination and it has its own stand. So in conclusion I am a very happy bunny. All I need now is a hot summers day, a beautiful ice cold stream several miles from prying eyes and a woman with a strong arm and an accurate swing.


P.S. If anyone else has ever made anything similar I would be very interested in hearing about it.

>SALI mk1 is Born – Part Twelve (And Last)


SALI mk1 all set up and ready to go

If you want to catch up with the previous posts, related to the building of this self spanking machine, please follow the links below.

SALI mk1 is Born – Part One

SALI mk1 is Born – Part Two, The Base

SALI mk1 is Born – Part Three, The Start Of The Rotating Mechanism

SALI mk1 is Born – Part Four Finishing The Rotating Mechanism

SALI mk1 is Born – Part Five, The Delivery Arm And One Of The Mounting Brackets

SALI mk1 is Born – Part Six, The Second Mounting Bracket

SALI mk1 is Born – Part Ten The Secondary Power System And A Video Of Testing

SALI mk1 is meant to be a prototype, no effort is made to make this project look good. The aim is to produce an efficient working spanking device with no attention paid to aesthetic values.


Usually I do a full costs break down for a Toys Are Born posting but if I do that for SALI mk1 this would be a very long post and so this costing will be a little more general than normal and rounded up to the nearest Euro for collective items.

Wood – €9.00
Strong wood brackets – €12.00
Nuts, bolts, screws and other ironmongery – €18.00
6 wood clamps – €7.00
Spring driven roller – €6.15
5mm cord 20m length – €5.15
2 grip exercisers – €1.50
Wood glue – €1.00 (0ne fifth of a 5 Euro bottle)
Bungees – €1.99
Drainage pipe joiner – €1.50
2 cord rollers – €6.00
2 secure clips – €1.60
Non slip matting – €1.50

Total cost of SALI mk1 approximately €73.00 (about €23.00 over my initial goal budget)

Testing SALI mk1

I made two mounting brackets, one for my carpet beater and one for my nasty little “White Lightning” synthetic cane. These where the two toys to be tested with SALI mk1. The first up for testing was the carpet beater.

Testing clip, carpet beater

The result was very disappointing, being thrashed with wet lettuce would have been more severe and pulling the cord to bring the delivery arm into strike position took a lot of strength, any one with limited upper body muscle development would have difficulties with this.

Testing with the synthetic cane

To reduce the strain on SALI mk1 I removed the mounting brackets from the delivery arm and mounted the cane directly on to the delivery arm, as can be seen in the photo.

Test clip, the synthetic cane

Even with the lighter delivery arm, the most that SALI mk1 could do with this cane, was a mild sting. The reasons that I chose this cane where because firstly it is the lightest toy that I own and secondly because normally it is very nasty, even a light flick of the wrist produces a sensation that makes you feel like your buttocks have been slashed with a craft knife.


I’m afraid that I can only conclude that SALI mk1 is a failure, she is not the spanking machine that I hoped she would be, she just doesn’t pack enough punch. Well the best thing to do is learn from this experience.

What worked?

The base and the bracing arms in combination with the wood clamps where good and solid. All the bracketing and construction was solid and stayed in place. The bungees provided a strong driving force.

What did not work?

The rotating hub was far too small. The spring mechanism did not provide enough power and forced me into using mountings that where far too small and produced too much friction. It took far too much strength to pull the arm back with the cord, some kind of gearing is needed.

What am I going to do about it?

I think that trying to fix SALI mk1 would be mistakenly going down a dead end. I am going to take a few weeks to think about an alternative design for SALI mk2 (Self Administration Levered Inflicter mark 2).