post on SawmillCreek.org about this toy so I used some scraps to make one for Ryan. He seems to really enjoy it. The cool thing is he's getting good practice with important motor skills. After he drives the nails down he can turn the bench over and do it all over again.
The "bench" is southern yellow pine and the hammer is cherry and poplar. Joinery included dados with Miller dowels for the bench and a through wedged tenon for the hammer head. I used screws for the hammer holder and finished it all with boiled linseed oil. I used white oak dowels for the pegs which were actually over-sized for the holes I drilled. To get the right friction for the toy to work, I used my band saw to saw a kerf down the middle of the dowel about 3/4 of the length. Then, I cut in from the other end after turning it 90 deg and made a kerf 3/4 of that length. This allows the peg to compress enough to pass through the hole as long as it's hit hard enough with the hammer.
This was an easy and quick project that I would recommend for anyone with kids. The rewards of seeing them use it is really worth the time.