JeuJura is a nice wooden construction system to make Swiss chalet / log cabin like buildings. It has been been made by Jeujura since 1941 to the present. The original company was founded in 1911.
Initial series, from 1940s
In the initial phase, JeuJura started with 3 series of wooden chalets:
- Maison Forestiere / Forest Lodge
- Chalet Suisse / Swiss Chalet
- Forsetiere baby / Forest Baby (not further analyzed)
I would love to know, at which years these boxes were introduced.
At least around 1960 the 3 main series, where split up into different sized boxes and both the appearances and themes expanded over time:
Some changes over time & new building themes:
- Maison Forestiere and Chalet Suisse, seem to use wooden framed windows & doors.
- Chalet Suisse uses even 3 different window sizes.
- Chalet Suisse uses longer logs, compared to the other versions.
- Refuge des guides: box no.0 (ref 78)
- Forestiere Baby: box no.1 (ref. 79)
- Maison Forestiere: box no.2 (ref 80)
- Chalet des Neiges: box no.2 (ref 81)
Including white spray can, simulating snow!
- Chalet Suisse: box no.3 (ref. 82)
This box contains now only the ‘standard’ & ‘small’ plastic windows.
- Maison Forestiere:
- Carboard box: 1C (ref. 8031), 2C (ref. 8032), 3C (ref. 8033)
- Wooden box: 2 (ref. 8052), 3 (ref. 8053), 4 (ref. 8054)
- Chalet Suisse, wooden box: 8 (ref. 8058)
Using now only the ‘standard’ window type, while still using the longer logs.
- Far West series: A (ref. 8073), B (ref. 8074)
- Farm series: (ref. 8095)
- Maison Forestiere:
- Increased number of boxes…
- Boxes: wood, cardboard, cardboard drums.
- Introducing “Mon Chalet et Bios”
(Cardboard boxes with brown area, containing text: “constructions”.)
- Mon Chalet en Bois: 175 & 240 pieces (ref 8004/8005):
→ The ‘Swiss Chalet’ type still exists, including the longer logs.
- Introducing “Mon Chalet et Bios”
- I don’t know when the cardboard boxes changed to a red area, containing text: “construction”.
- Different sized logs are still used.
Present building types
Today the original ‘wooden chalets’ (now called: ‘Mon Chalet en Bois’) still exist, but they also expand their building system into many more directions, including sets to paint your own house, although my favorites are the tree-house and Far west series.
Box content – Chalet Suisse
I’ve no clue, about the original box content of Chalet Suisse. So I’m trying to reconstruct the content, from the available information found in the manual.
So the manual does have a parts type overview, but missing the amount of each. Although for every model there is more information:
- Model overview: including 2 pictures (front/back) & necessary part list
- Mounting indications at end of manual for every model
- For the mounting indications of Model #43, there is a double row for part nr. 29 is used, but the first nr. 29 should be nr. 28.
(Shown in both versions of the old manual.)
- So the complete box should consists of at least 280 part, making it possible to build all models.
For building model #32, it was very handy to use the ‘mounting indications’ at the end of the manual. Although either my France is very bad (which is true), or it did miss some #21 parts, close to the windows. Especially building virtual, these instructions are very handy, you could just build all separate walls and then align everything together:
Parts evolution over time
Trying to understand the part evolution over time. This content will definitely not be complete, since I only observed 4 different -contaminated- boxes. But at least there are some improvements shown over time.
These 4 boxes are investigated:
- An old box “Maison Forestiere” (exact year unknown): contaminated box, but it’s still cool: it has the wooden framed doors & windows!
- An old box “Chalet Suisse” (1960s): even more contaminated box, but this time the box cover is very reasonable and there are interesting plastic door & window frames inside!
- Incomplete “Maison Forestiere” collection (1980s): it came with an interesting catalog and we always need more parts right?!
- Box 8003, “Mon Chalet et Bois” series (2014): a complete box, for playing with the kids!
Before understanding the parts evolution, let’s have a look to the different available manuals (also found some more manuals online, but didn’t tell us more):
- This “Maison Forestiere” manual:
- Starts with parts list: #1 to #13.
- Contains 19 model examples and part lists per model, but missing the building indications.
- This “Chalet Suisse” manual:
- Starts with parts: #21 to#41, although part nr #1 & #21 are the same.
- Contains examples: 32 to 46, so 14 models in total.
I don’t know, why this manual starts with number 32.
- Next to a model picture, also building indications are found.
- Both old manuals don’t tell us the box content.
- The “1980” catalog tells us the difference between:
- Chalet Suisse uses longer logs then Maison Forestiere (& Forsetiere baby)
- Part #21, is now also called #1.
- Different available boxes (at least around 1980s):
- Maison Forestiere, box nr: 1, 2, 2C, 3, 3C, 4.
- Chalet Suisse, box nr: 8.
- The 8003 (2014) manual is more complete:
- Reference list of parts & amount (handy!)
- The logs are displayed at real size (handy!)
- Very well detailed manual about how to build the model on the box cover (handy)
- But it’s missing more example models, why?
- The part numbering is a bit odd, I would say. The previous parts #1, #2, #3, are now called (throughout the complete manual): “JJF 0061CHM”, “JJF 0063CHM”, “JJF 0065CHM”. Why not keeping it simple?
Different initial manuals
I did even notice some small differences, between my old manuals and the ones found on bauge.overblog.com. (I might add this later.)
An overview of the different logs found so far (excluding gable-interfacing logs):
First noticeable difference, is the length difference of these logs (#26 versus #3).
There is also a bit of color differences shown:
Second difference, also shown by color, is the later logs (>1995) are rounded instead of squared logs before. All these logs still interlock with each other.
Nice to see the ‘wrong’ produced part on the right side. It’s not so simple, making these rounded versions. I found 2 of these in the ref. 8003 box.
Window & Door frames:
Between the first series and the later, the window & door frames changed from wood to plastic, in at least 3 steps. The “Lodge Baby”, just uses wooden pieces with images, which are of course more robust.
Wooden windows & door frames, initial series:
Three different window configurations, using the longer logs.
Between the 2 small windows, you also see the wooden block (#29). For game play, this is not a handy method. It’s very easy to press these small windows inside the building.
Also nice to see the door. These are taped at the backside, which results in nice flush hinge point.
Plastic windows & door frames, 1960s:
In this case there are still 2 different sized windows. When I first saw a picture of these window frames, I thought it might be a prototype. But apparently it’s production series.
And you also see the different possible window combinations, which is only possible using the long logs.
Plastic window & door frames, 1970s & 2014:
Although the mold for creating these plastic parts is renewed and the frames are improved (the shutters rotates & closes better), the overall design remains the same.
The initial gables had some kind of rim, which sticks into a special wooden log. The later versions had just the same interface like the logs and could interlock with the standard logs, increasing game play.
Even the angles and the distance of the lower trusses changes a bit over time.
The early (blue) roof panels had stables, which could be placed on a square beam and then placed together on the gables. The later (green & red) panels just had 2 rectangular slots and could be placed on 2 (bigger) square beams, which is a more logic way of building, but they also easily tip off.
I don’t know the story of the nailed pieces, top left in the picture… But I’ll use this method to repair some damaged old roofs myself.
Also noticeable are the stable thickness and sometimes they are colored like the roof and sometimes not.
The only 2 parts, which I could not find an update over all those years, are both chimneys. Apparently they where perfect from the beginning. 😉
Just proving all parts could be used into one big building.
I think JeuJura did a great job, keeping all innovations compatible!
Box 8003: time to play with the kids…
Nice wooden construction toy, by adding interlocking logs on top of each other. Keeping rectangular openings, so doors & windows could slide in from top side. The constructions is quite strong, except for the roofs, which drop off easily. The building is ‘hollow’ from the inside, which is already a nice step, compared to the closed Swiss Chalet. The only missing element – from my point of view – is using the inside of the building even better. So the roofs were removed again. Also the original (old) wooden dolls were quickly replaced by other toys, but that’s okay I would say.
The box includes also a nice underlayer with 2 sides. Although I liked the ‘intended side’ (see photo above), my children liked the ‘advertising’ side with more buildings. On top of that, I also got the request to buy more boxes…
This day, the little one (almost 3y) wanted to play again with the “wooden houses”, which is great, because daddy wants to improve this page with some more game play experiences… 😉
So today I want to see what happens when combining both the 1970s & 2014s sets:
- Also the newer roofs fit the older gables, nice.
- The newer roof top is rounder, so the chimney more easily drops of.
- The older roof plate system is more robust against collisions, although less intuitive to build…
- I’m still convinced, having the ‘back side’ of the building open, the game-play increases! Only need about 4 or 5 short logs on either side, for creating a big opening. I would advice JeuJura to add about 10x additional “JJF 0061CHM” into the boxes. So all buildings could be either build open or closed.
Some system characteristics
Here a short list of some system characteristics -initial series- and how it’s retrofitted into the virtual LeoCAD library:
|Wooden logs||Beech wood||Single color pieces|
|Pitch of system:|
|XY: 103 & 166|
Z: 6 [mm]
|Pitch of system:|
|XY: 64 & 103|
Z: 6 [mm]
|Snap settings||n/a||XY: 1 [mm]|
Z: 1 [mm]
Angles: 5 [deg]
|Roofs||35 [deg]||35 [deg]|
Here an overview of the parts library:
Only JeuJura 1940s library might be released some day, since this website is about vintage toys and not about more recent (or current) production.
|Part groups:||Unique numbers:|
|Unique part numbers: ‘Maisons Forestiere’||13|
|Unique part numbers: ‘Chalet Suisse’.||21|
|2014 wooden parts collection.|
Will not be released.
|Total unique part numbers in library:||34|
Building in LeoCAD
Would it be possible to recreate this building virtually? Well not with the rounded shorter logs, I discovered during building… But still a nice replica I would say, consisting of 427 parts!
After the older JeuJura boxes arrived, analyzed & virtualized, I finally understand a bit more of the bigger picture…
Boxes from left to right:
- 1940s: ‘Maisons Forestiere’ – model 19
- 1940s: ‘Chalet Suisse’ – model 32 & 37
- 1960s: ‘Chalet Suisse’ – model 37
- 19??s: ‘Chalet Suisse’ (last one with rectangular logs)
- ‘Mon Chalet en Bois’ (ref. 8005, should be build with round logs)
- 2014: ‘Mon Chalet en Bois’ (ref. 8003)
- Big building from Tracwest, although using newer shorter logs. (It’s still big.)
More wooden building logs sets…
Hmm, I think you could write a whole website about all these type of construction toys. I also added a Dutch version from SIO. For playing with the kids, we will stay with JeuJura.