Sunday, June 12, 2016

getting started with your child in woodworking

The following is from Catalog of Play Equipment by Jean Lee Hunt, 1918:
The carpenter equipment must be a "sure-enough business affair," and the tools real tools--not toys. The Sheldon bench shown here is a real bench in every particular except size. The tool list is as follows:
  • Manual training hammer.
  • 18 point cross-cut saw.
  • 9 point rip saw.
  • Large screw driver, wooden handle.
  • Small screw driver.
  • Nail puller.
  • Stanley smooth-plane, No. 3.
  • Bench hook.
  • Brace and set of twist bits.
  • Manual training rule.
  • Steel rule.
  • Tri square.
  • Utility box--with assorted nails, screws, etc.
  • Combination India oil stone.
  • Oil can.
  • Small hatchet.
Choice of lumber must be determined partly by the viewpoint of the adult concerned, largely by the laboratory budget, and finally by the supply locally available. Excellent results have sometimes been achieved where only boxes from the grocery and left-over pieces from the carpenter shop have been provided. Such rough lumber affords good experience in manipulation, and its use may help to establish habits of adapting materials as we find them to the purposes we have in hand. This is the natural attack of childhood, and it should be fostered, for children can lose it and come to feel that specially prepared materials are essential, and a consequent limitation to ingenuity and initiative can thus be established.
On the other hand, some projects and certain stages of experience are best served by a supply of good regulation stock. Boards of soft pine, white wood, bass wood, or cypress in thicknesses of ¼", 3/8", ½" and 7/8" are especially well adapted for children's work, and "stock strips" ¼" and ½" thick and 2" and 3" wide lend themselves to many purposes. –Catalog of Play Equipment, Jean Lee Hunt, 1918
Some may be old enough to remember when you could get crates from the grocery store that were made of wood and useful for basic woodworking. Peach and apple crates provided both thin wood and thick and all you had to do was pull a few nails and get exactly what you needed for free. But those days were disappearing as I was a child and are long gone. Still, scraps from a construction site can keep a child's hands and imagination working for months. The lovely photograph above is a great reminder that girls can partake successfully of the woodworker's art.

When do you think the time might return that adults involved in education will come to their senses and begin to understand that children can and must be involved in doing real things, of which woodshop is an example?

Make, fix, create, and extend to others the joy of learning likewise.

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