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The Wood Shoppe at Timeless Treasure Trunk
Since Timeless Treasue Trunk is a family oriented site we would be remiss if we did not include the joy of spending quality time with a child in your workshop. Though this will have many rewarding benifits, certain things must be taken into consideration, above all safety must be taught from the beginning and limits established as to which tools are okay to use.
Most tools in a workshop are dangerous if not used properly, from a hammer to a large power tool. Respect for a tool must be taught, not fear, simply telling a six year old that he will cut his fingers off if he ever uses the table saw will scare him for the rest of his life. Explaining the inherent dangers of using a table saw, and how one must be big enough to operate it safely will accomplish the same objective, so that when he is big and old enough to use the tool he can concentrate on the job at hand instead of cringing when he has to use that dreadful machine.
Use a waterbased latex paint so clean up will be easy and drying time will be fast, use paper cups to hold small quanities of the paint in case of accidents. Work on newspaper and dress child in old clothes, and have them wear latex gloves. Some parts are best painted before assembly, to hold the parts drill a small hole in a side that is hidden and insert a dowel. Drill holes for the dowels in a scrap length of 2 X 4 to hold the parts until they are dry.
Young children are usually more intrigued with the actual act of using a tool than how the finished product turns out.
A brace and bit will keep a young person boring holes for hours, another alternative is an eggbeater style drill. Older children making a specific project may be capable of using a power hand drill or drill press with supervision.
Start with light hammer, a hand full of 1 1/4" common nails and a scrap length of 2" thick soft wood such as pine or spruce. Just let them pound nails, you will be amazed at the amount of time this will keep them occupied.
Give them a bunch of offcuts from your scrollsaw or popsicle sticks and a small bottle of carpenters glue, let them stick shapes together.
A small hand plane such as a block plane will provide hours of enjoyment, have a vise or workmate to hold the wood.
Phillips or square drive screws are easier to drive than slot head screws.
Kids can saw boards for hours, the main thing is to fasten the board to a bench at a suitable height for the child. A workmate with the short legs folded up is about the right height for most children and it is fun for them to clamp the boards into it as well.
Hacksaws with coarse blades, short backsaws or coping saws are all good choices as a first saw. Younger children may find it easier to use a miter box to help guide the saw.
Wrap some medium grit sandpaper around a block of wood and fasten it with a staple.
When a child wants to make something remember two things, they have a short attention span and a vivid imagination. Some of the projects may need to be prepared for younger children, holes drilled etc. Dig through your junk drawers for odds and ends to use for decorating, bottle caps make headlights, spools make smoke stacks, popsicle sticks are always handy.
Three pieces of wood will make an airplane for a beginner, in fact they can make three of them, one nailed together, one glued and one fastened with screws.
The same three pieces with refinements will keep an older child busy for a while, cut some wheels with a hole saw and give them a length of dowel for an axel, you can drill the hole through the body if they are too young to use a drill. Mark the cut lines on the wood and let them do the sawing, sanding and assembling.
They can make a set of blocks to give as a birthday or Christmas present, give them 1 1/2 " square and 1 1/2" X 3/4" strips to cut with a miter box. With the child's help make a box to hold the blocks, this then becomes like a puzzle. Make a ruler marked in multiples of 1 1/2", let the child measure, cut and sand them, this can be a long project so have the child take a break and do other projects and then come back to work on it again. This is a very good project to learn to use a ruler and the logic of sizes required to fill the box.
A car can be made from four pieces of wood and four wheels cut with a hole saw. Older children can shape the body with a saw after they cut the pieces.
Print the child's name on a sheet of paper, place the paper on top of a scrap board and punch through the paper with an awl to outline the the name. Let the child drive screws into the wood to make his name. Phillips or square drive screws work best for this.
Add a couple screw eyes to the top of the board and a length of string and the child has made a sign for his room . Variations on this could be " I love Mom" or Dad.
There are children's tool kits available, some are okay, generally small sized real tools are much better to use. Make up a tool kit, but let them borrow tools from you as well within the limits you have established.
Build this toolbox with your child or make it as a gift, filled with small size tools it makes a fantastic birthday or Christmas present. You will probably be asked to make one for adults as well, it is handy in the garden or workshop as a tote for small tools and supplies. If it is a gift include some precut parts for projects.
1 - 13 1/2" X 5" length of 1/2" plywood for bottom.
2 - 14 1/2" X 2 1/2" lengths of 3/8" or 1/2" plywood for sides.
2 - 6" X 5" lengths of 1/2" plywood for ends.
1 - 14 1/2" length of 3/4" dowel.
14 - #6 X 1 1/4" flat head wood screws.
Cut the above pieces, then complete the ends following the drawing below, drill the holes for the handle first, then trim the tops.
Insert the dowel into the holes in the end pieces, then with # 6 X 1 1/4" screws and glue fasten the two ends to the bottom as shown:
Fasten the two side pieces to the ends with # 6 X 1 1/4" screws and glue. Slide the dowel out until it almost comes through one end, apply a small amount glue to the exposed end of the dowel, and to the cavity in the opposite end, slide the dowel back in to position. Drill a pilot hole from the top down into the dowel and insert a #6 X 1 1/4" screw at each end.
Using five pieces of wood a train engine can be made. Cars can be added using rectangular blocks with wheels for box cars and flat boards with wheels for flat cars, even a caboose could be added, cup hooks make simple connectors.