My wife wanted me to build yet another decorative project for her. I told her to do it herself.
Well, OK, I didn’t make Sally do it all by herself – who knows what carnage might have resulted from that poor decision – but instead of her staring at me while I built it, or coming down to the shop every 10 minutes to see if I’m done yet, I invited her to actually help build it.
She wanted a Country-style five-board bench for our porch to hold potted plants, and having made several over the years I thought it was the perfect project for her to get a feel for just what it is I do down in the shop all the time. The bench came out fine, and Sally had a great time doing it.
For her part, I had her measure the intended spot on the porch and come up with the dimensions she wanted for the bench, and then mark the workpieces. Although I cut the main components to width on the table saw, she worked the outfeed side. I set up the miter saw and, after demonstrating a cut or two, she cut the sidepieces to length and did the bevels on the ends herself. Same thing on the band saw with the rabbets on the tops of the support legs into which those sidepieces fit.
After marking the pieces and setting things up and, again, showing her how, I had her go to town with a finish nailer. A few of her first nails didn’t sink fully, but she quickly got the hang of it. Afterward, I showed her how to sink those high nails with a hammer and nail set.
Bottom line was that we had fun doing a project together, she was thrilled to use some of my shop equipment for the first time ever, and I earned serious brownie points. Win-win-win all around.