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Tools for tykes

Basic projects are the most fun of all – especially when woodworking with a child.

Our grandson Jed came for his annual two-week stay this month, and just as with earlier years I made spending time with him in my woodshop part of our activities. He’s eight-and-a-half now, so he’s getting a pretty good grasp on the mechanics of woodworking. But what really guided our annual project was the fact that he’s begun taking his mom’s tools.

On the one hand my daughter and I are both thrilled that he’s developing such a strong interest in working with tools. On the other hand, well, he’s taking her tools. The solution was obvious: Time for him to have his own, and a place to put them.

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Since he’s older now, I gave him a lot more hands-on stuff to do than in previous years. For his toolbox, he drew the pattern for the ends and I allowed him to use a brad nailer to tack two pieces of stock together. I didn’t let him use the band saw to cut out the stacked pair of end pieces, of course, but I did allow him to smooth the edges on a spindle sander and, with guidance, bore the holes for the handle on the drill press.

He also applied glue and clamped things up, while we took turns shooting in a few brads. I signed the bottom, while the final sanding and brushing on a couple coats of poly were all his to do.

Jed was thrilled with the amount of hands-on he did this year, and it really showed in the pride he took in the project. Of course, the real delight for him was heading to the local home center – toolbox in-hand – to buy a selection of his very own tools. The result: One very happy grandson … and an even happier mom, whose tools can now stay where they belong.

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