Shop Time With Kids

Shop Time With Kids

In last week’s issue, Rob’s memories of time spent with his kids in the shop prompted him to wonder about similar memories you’d be willing to share. Several of you have, with photos! – Editor

“I have four sibling granddaughters ranging from age 4 to 10. I wanted to give them a chance to learn some basic woodworking, as they already love to come into the shop — if just to play darts! Last year for their birthdays, I made each of them a simple pre-cut toolbox kit. Within a few months, I made time for each of them to work with me in the shop to glue and assemble the kits. They took them home and gave them custom paint jobs! They loved spreading the glue out with their fingers, carefully using the nail gun and having the exhaust blow their hair about, and drilling holes with the drill press, with their eyes looking through the safety glasses. For me, it was all about spending time with them and seeing their enjoyment and excitement with the finished product. This year I made birdhouse kits that we will assemble later this summer. My first two grandsons are coming up soon, and I plan to do the same with them.” – Bruce Johnson

“Some of the very best time I spend in my woodshop is with my two grandsons Jacob and Nathan (see photo, above). Over the course of several weekends together, spent entirely in the shop, the boys each built an Adirondack chair for their parents. Jacob built one for dad and Nathan built one for mom. They helped with everything from surfacing the lumber all the way to finishing and final assembly. We used cypress lumber, which is plentiful here in Florida. I made the templates that we used to make the parts, but then the boys took over and did pretty much everything. This is the result of their efforts.” – Jerry Carpenter

“I’m certainly not a father, but it was my own father, now gone, who sparked my interest in woodworking. When I was seven, we bought a little Cape Cod house in a tract, just like so many did in the early 1950’s. Daddy got the option with the unfinished attic, and he used the savings to get a Sears table saw. It stood on a big pedestal, and it was the ‘latest-and-greatest,’ with a steady table and a tilting arbor instead of the other way around. I was forbidden to touch it. I’ve lost track of how many Saturday mornings I spent with Daddy in that unfinished attic that he was finishing in knotty pine paneling to make a bedroom and playroom for my sister and me. My job on those mornings was to hold the other end of the board. When he was cutting short pieces off the long pieces of pine, I held the floppy end and walked it forward while he guided it through the blade with the utterly inadequate miter gauge. When he ripped a long piece, I caught the end and steadied it as it slid between blade and fence. I marveled at the dado set he got, which made mouldings. Eventually we had a lovely pine paneled bedroom, with built-in desks and cubby holes for school books and special items. Some of the best times I had with my father were those Saturday mornings. And above all, I didn’t touch the saw. Not until I was a grownup, but that is another story.” – Louise Heite

“These are my daughters, who are now in their 30s, and my grandson (see photos, above). I started them all early with the safe stuff — no power tools until they were tall enough to control them. Today my daughters are both very handy and creative.” – Rob McGloin

“My daughter, who now has 5- and 8-year-old boys, would spend lots of time in my shop as she was growing up. Her first activities that I remember fondly were her occupying herself with the shavings from my hand planing. With paper bags from the grocery store she’d draw eyes, nose, ears, mouth and so forth on them with a Sharpie. She would then busy herself with glue and all of those fine plane shavings adding hair, beards and mustaches to them. To this day, I’m reminded of that whenever using my planes! As she got older she had her own tools to work with, but seeing her creating faces on bags has a special memory for me.” – John G. Eugster

“When our kids were in first grade, their teacher tasked them to create a ‘Leprechaun House’ to share with the class for St. Patrick’s Day. My younger daughter, Barrett, took on that challenge with relish when she and I built her version from wood (see photo, above). She’s always been a tongue-biter when she’s really focused on the project at hand — and I think that habit may just have started with her efforts here. She’s nearly 19 now and busy with all things college. But this time spent building that little project still stands out in my mind as a special one. We’ve got it tucked away in a toy room in the basement to this day. In a few years when she moves away for good, I hope she’ll want to take it with her as a special keepsake from shop time spent with dad.” – Chris Marshall


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