Those of you that know me, know that I sign my posts on woodworking forums, "Larry Wyatt(Cole's Dad). Yes, I am the proud father of an 8-year who has begun spending some time with me in the shop. This past weekend it was his time to build his first real project in the shop where he sawed, planed, joined, and finished all the pieces himself. I also wanted him to use primarily hand tools.
The plans for the toolbox came from Woodworking with Kids. He had to read the plans and understand them as best he could before we started.
We started with an 8' 2x8 and went from there. First, I taught him to select each piece from the 2x8 for maximum yield. You see the picture of this along with the clamp that he used to secure the 2x8 to his "bench." He measured and marked all of the pieces himself with a tape measure and a Crown square that I gave to him. He also learned to mark out the waste with an "X" so he was sure to cut on the waste sides of the lines.
Next, he sawed each of the pieces to length using a Jorgensen pull saw. It fits just right in his hand. I bought it for him and showed him how to saw and had him practice with this and a small dozuki saw before beginning on this project.
Here he is with the "dry fit" toolbox after sawing all the pieces. It was quite an experience for him learning to keep the saw square in all three dimensions. And although that didn't happen, he got better with each try.
The next step was for him to plane a small chamfer along all of the edges of the sawn boards. He did this with a small squirrel tail plane that he bought for himself(Dad already had one...LOL) with money that he received for Christmas from his grandmother. Of all the processes that he's learned so far, planing is by far his favorite!
After planing all the sawn boards, he then had to drill holes in the tops of the sides so the dowel could fit into them to make a handle. Here, he received his introduction to the brace and bit. We started with a 1" bit and he practiced on a scrap piece. The hole was too small, so he stepped up one size, rechecked the fit and voila', he had a good fit! Here's picture of Bonan, The Mighty Woodworker, using the brace and bit. You can see that it's not quite vertical. That happened when he struggled to bring the arm around on the right. It's also the reason I just ordered an auger bit file from Lie-Nielsen to sharpen the bits.
The last thing to do before putting this bad boy together was for him to sand each piece. I was going to have him hand sand, but figured that he would get frustrated and want to quit, so we opted for the Dewalt finish sander.
After putting the box together with drywall screws and a cordless drill, he was ready to finish it. He wanted a dark stain, so I found a can of old Spanish Oak stain in my chemcials cabinet and he went to town. I would have taken pictures, but I didn't want my Canon 40D anywhere near him and wood stain! LOL
Here's the final finished product. My little man was so proud of what he did that he even cried. When I asked him what was wrong he said, "nothing, Dad. They're tears of joy!"
If you haven't worked with a child in the workshop, it is one of the most rewarding things I have ever experienced. Instead of Take Your Child to Work Day, plan a Take Your Child to the Shop day. You'll be glad you did!