Lakda chi khelni or wooden toys are popular in Sawantwadi of Sindhudurg district. The wooden toys are made from the wood of locally available mango trees, jackfruit trees and pangara/ Indian coral tree. Traditionally, the craft was done by the Chitari or Chitrakars. Presently, the craft has been adopted by many other communities in the region due to its commercial success.
The toys are made by three different techniques of sculpting the solid wood, by wood and lac turnery and by assembling flat-shaped pieces.
The seasoned wood is cut into logs and dried to remove moisture. Then the logs are cut into blocks of desired size of the article to be made. The block is shaped using filers, chisels, different kinds of saws and cutters and then heated in a bhatti/ kiln to remove any remaining moisture. Cutting and shaping are done if any and the parts are attached with nails and glue. A primer or lep is then applied over the article which is then painted over after drying. Either lac mixed or water-based colours are used. Lastly, the varnish is applied over the wood to give it a lustrous finish.
In the second method, four to five toys are turned at the same time on a powered lathe. Lac is mixed with colours and applied to the turning toys. These are then separated and the base of each toy is finished with a sander.
In the third method, toys are made by cutting with jigsaw. Each cutout flat piece is finished on a sander and then smoothened with sandpaper. The parts are then painted and assembled together to make a toy.
The craftsmen make toy cars, horses, fruits, miniature kitchen utensils, bullock carts, painted cutters and painted ceremonial wooden platform.