Figured some of you might have some tips here too. On weekends in the
winter, the kid gets pretty bored and since she's 14, we've been starting
her on small safe projects. She can handle a hammer and nails at this age,
but we don't let her use the electric saw (she marks, Daddy cuts).
Today, she finished off a wooden toy box out of some leftover plywood. The
top makes a seat when down and it's going to double as a chair before the
It started as a 2x4 'box', heavy framed (more than actually needed) and then
the plywood was nailed to that and smoothed down with Daddy's help and the
sander. She did the finishing hand sanding touches. Then, digging through
my fabric piles, she picked out a pretty black cotton with little violets
and we brushed glue all over it then cloth covered it. A little lacey trim
here and there, and it looks pretty cool! I even had a fairly close
matching cushion to put ontop.
It's drying now. I figure about 2 days for hard set of the thicker glue
around the lace trim.
Anyone got any neat ideas for teaching kids that I might find handy? With
supervision of course.
Heck, at 14 I was using all the power tools. I think just about
anything she wants to do is fine, ASSuming that she's responsible and
careful and supervised by someone who can advise proper safety precautions.
I'm glad to see that she's showing an interest in making stuff on her
own and that you are encouraging it. I'm starting to think that I was
on the tail end of child-rearing when kids were generally allowed and
encouraged to *do* stuff as opposed to just calling a plumber, handyman,
Of course, my parents being hard-core DIYers and chea^H^H^H^Hfrugal to
boot didn't hurt, in my case. I probably end up doing stuff myself that
I would have been better off paying someone to do, but at least I know
whether it was done well or not.
But back to your original question; have you considered checking out a
good bookstore and seeing if there's a woodworking magazine that
regularly publishes project plans? might get some ideas in there, and
if you find one you like I'd be willing to bet that at some point
they've published a book of plans all collated together. Another idea
would be scavenging junk sales for old furniture to refinish, if she
tends more towards enjoying the finishing rather than the construction
(although methylene chloride is not wise to use indoors without
ventilation...) that was one of my mom's favorite hobbies.
Or you could send her over here and I can start teaching her how to make
paneled doors :) (got my grandpa's old router over xmas, happy happy
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
hah! I got a new belt sander for xmas as well. I managed to
resurrect an old third-sheet finishing sander that I'd picked out of a
pile that a friend was throwing out (?!?!?!?!) as well as getting a
really nice old (1940's) Craftsman jigsaw and the aforementioned
router from my grandma while I was home for the holidays. So I had a
very tool-enabled holiday. Life could be a LOT worse... although I
still would like to have a table saw and I'm going to have to buy that
myself, I don't know of any that I'm going to inherit (although I did
visit my ancient Delta drill press while at Grandma's, next time I am
going to have to take the pickup truck when I go to visit...)
Anyway, my advice is that while I understand that your more hirsute
half wanted to play with his new toy and that's understandable, I'd
say next time let her do everything, just do a small project so if she
destroys a few pieces of wood it won't be a huge deal to replace.
IMHO doing the tricky parts and getting them right is a huge
Of course, her mind may not work like mine (in fact, I'd offer my
condolences if it did <G>) so YMMV...
Cool! Ours is a simple craftsman hand held sander withthe round disc. It
was a bit overpowered for this job. I guess maybe we should have let her
run it, but at the start Don wasnt sure of the arm strength needed for it.
Rather than create a hazard with an unfamiliar new tool, she held the box so
he could press the sander on the edges.
Agreed. The wood is no issue. No reason for you to recall but we are the
ones who moved back from Sasebo Japan just recently and are having to fix
tons of things. So, we got wood bits of all sorts laying about.
She has a next project in mind. Our closets are the old small style. She
is plotting out how to use some 1x2 framing wood to make a riser and then
set a second pole lower down. She's not sure how to cut the round hole so I
let her chew it over. She figured out a method with just making as 'u' on
both sides to set it in <grin>. Hey, works for me! I have about 36ft of
that smaller framing wood leftover from doing the porch screening.
Her plan is to make a 3 sided box about 3 feet up then run risers from the
floor up to it to reinforce it. Using that to stabilize, she then wants to
run more risers upwards and raise the top bar which is set low in her closet
(kids room design) to 6ft then put a shelf at the top. The back bar wouldnt
be needed except she wants the extra to support the shelf and anything heavy
she may want to put up there. It will also allow her to put a shelf on the
I have to get her 1 item. A round bar for the lower portion.
She likes the fabric look of the toy box, so asked how to do that for the
closet. It's easy. You dip the wood in a bit of glue after cutting and
wrap in fabric then let dry. Nail in place with back edge to the wall.
Those smallish short flat nails with widish heads hold the fabric at the top
and bottom of each wood piece so it doesnt show any raw wood at the joints.
(hope I'm describing this clear enough to be followed).
I remember we did this with a kids room closet when Mom was fixing up
houses. Sensibly we had to use a dark fabric as it doesnt come off and cant
really be painted over the years. I've also used wallpaper for similar but
you need really smoothe wood or it will come apart.
I have some dark blue (almost black) fabric with tiny flowers and little
bears. About 3 yards which will be plenty. Oh, if considering such, do not
cover the round bar as it wont hold up to the hangars over time. Just paint
that and repaint as needed.
(reality, she doesnt need the back bar and it's risers but I think with the
fabric look, it will be nice and it's her closet project! so hush! Let her
Now, for parent help: We will use the table saw after she marks the wood.
We have enough that if she mismarks, we can make more. We will help her
hold it in place before fabric'ing to check measures. She will do any hand
lathe smoothing after checking with a level to see what's needed. I don't
think she'll need any more help other than holding parts while she nails.
Maybe I'll wrap the first wood piece so she knows how to cover the edges
without making a bulge.
Get a scroll saw, some simple scroll saw patterns, and turn her loose
to do her own work. The local highschools in this area that have
shops do that with their special ed students. A scroll saw may nick a
finger but would be extremely rare to do any serious damage. Some of
the scroll saw animals can be painted to look real cute.
When my son was 5 he wanted to try to drill a hole himself. So I
handed him the cordless drill and a piece of 2x6 and he took to it
like a fish to water (after the dril spun him around the first time).
Then when my wife came downstairs she had a knipshin fit, so to keep
peace he didn't drill again until he was 7. Anyway that 2x6 full of
holes we still have sitting on the kitchen counter makes a great
pencil holder, he's 10 now.
Chuckle. When one of my nephews was around 5, I gave him one of those
18" long wood-handled Stanley Yankee spiral ratchet screwdrivers for
Xmas. (New-old-stock at a ma'n'pa hardware going out of business.) It
was just like the one my father used to have, and that I started using
at around that age. (no cordless drills or screwdrivers back then.)
Aside from a few pinched fingers and blood blisters, I caught on quick
how to use it. Never heard back from my sister how he made out. She did
have to take away the 10" vise-grips I gave him, though. Last I heard,
he was working as a carpenter on school breaks.
(Looks on Google) Damn- those seem to be made of gold, now- cost more
than a low-end cordless drill.
The most vital lesson in life that kids never learn about in school -
how to maintain and do simple repairs
on cars. She wouldn't want her friends to see her working on a car, but
someday she might blow a
guy's mind by getting his jallopy going :o) At least teach her to
recognize basic problems, mebbe charge
a battery (with supervision and adequate safety gear). Don't let her
drive 'til she is 18, at least.
Red Cross First Aid, CPR and babysitting classes.
Volunteer (our high school gives credit for vol. They may require some
For fun - tile a trivet or small table top. Can do with ceramic or
glass mosaic, broken pottery, stone, etc.
Marbled paper. Messy.
Ceramics. Ceramics shops have lots of stuff to make - lamps, platters,
figurines, Christmas deco., mugs,
I had a nice Dremel jig saw for hobby stuff. Pretty harmless, but if
she likes wood doodads, she could
make funky stuff for her room. There are some little router bits for
Dremel rotary tools - I haven't tried
Sewing, especially quilts. Lots of pretty and easy styles to sew. Boys
and girls should know how to
In 6th grade, we had a class called "Home Mechanics". Separate classes
for boys and girls (thank God), but
we did the same things: sewed an apron, wired a lamp, made a plexiglass
key chain thingy with initials on it,
cooked spaghetti, cooked Eggs Benedict. The boys made great spaghetti
but didn't drain the pasta; just dumped
the sauce into the pot with water and all :o) Probably the most useful
class I took. Sure beat physics :o)
Damn, I wish I'd had that class in HS. I can fix a car and I can fake
sewing competently and I can even do basic carpentry fairly well, but
I'll be damned if I can make anything resembling an edible Hollandaise.
This is a serious failing for me as a) I love Eggs Benedict and b) I
can generally whip together a kick-ass breakfast of pretty much any
other egg, meat, and potato based type.
I do remember an ex of mine being horrified when one morning when she
actually woke up while I was cooking breakfast and discovered the
"secret" behind my fried eggs that she'd never been able to duplicate
(that secret, of course, is bacon grease... mmm, sweet, delicious
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
Get an OLD Betty Crocker cookbook.............1950's or so. You can't
miss with Betty. Of course, the secret to any egg dish to be cooked is
to not have ingredients too hot when the egg is added (one exception -
eggdrop soup:o). If you like, I can type the recipe and email it :o)
Absolutely. I was pretty much at the mercy of mechanics til I married. Now
my husband is at their mercy <g>.
I was thinking auto mechanics for 10th grade (next year is 9th with home
It works. I've heard the guys rave over how a girlfriend could get in there
and help with changing brakes and such. One of those silent 'selling
points' that come to play when one is over 20 (smile).
Aww, naw. I'll start teaching her to drive when she's 16 (after a drivers
ed class) and help her get a jalopy of some sort for those first few years.
Virginia is pretty tough on how much one is allowed to do before age 18, but
a car is something she needs to learn before she gets out of the house.
No particular interest on her part for that, but she's helping me with a
soup kitchen deal (we feed folks on Sunday, not a mega big place but church
run and only operates on Sundays).
I hadnt thought to check. Good idea! Could be we are knocking out an
'elective' right now and didnt know it. Charlotte helps make the food we
bring, then helps serve. All food is donated by the church members and a
few strays like us (not church goers but have nothing against it). She's
racking up about 3 hours a week would be my guess.
Humm! Good one there.
Sorry, lost me. I dont know what that is.
We have many crafty sets for kids. One is a pottery wheel. I need to get
her more clay for it.
So far, functional woodworking is her aim (see the closet idea). I dont
have a dremel but I have many other tools and still adding more. Before we
went to Japan, we had access to our FIL's workshop so didnt buy much. He
actually left it all to us but it got 'disappeared' when the MIL died in
2005 except a few precious things he brought over in person before we left.
Thanks for the ideas!
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