Tom Iovino, over at Tom’s Workbench rallied the online woodworking community to create Get Woodworking Week. Uniformly we are all onboard – we love bringing others into the craft. It’s why we blog, and why we #woodchat. Tom’s been noodling on this idea since Woodworking in America 2011, and started driving the effort back in October. I’m sure it’ll be an annual event, and I can’t wait to contribute every year.
Some of my fondest memories woodworking weren’t what you’d call woodworking, I guess. As a kid, a garage full of tools is a wonderland, I spent lots of time in the garage building all kinds of things. I never really thought about the safety risks I was taking everyday, I just enjoyed building. I especially enjoyed the times when my Grandfather would join me in the garage and spend time with me teaching me skills. Not only was he a great teacher, but I really enjoyed the one-on-one time with a great man.
I want my kids to have similar memories, so I often have a visitor in the shop, my almost five year-old daughter Hayden. We sweep, handsaw, and she works on her little block of scrap walnut. She even has a toolbox full of real tools and a canvas apron from Ace Hardware.
Red Toolbox Bug Barn Kit
Today we built a Kit I bought at Woodcraft in Seattle. The store was remodeled in the last year or so, and is huge and well stocked. The owners are awesome, and let me do some filming in their classroom recently when Darrell Peart presented. I had Darrell’s permission too, and that video series will be posted as soon as I can get to the editing.
The Kit was a Bug Barn from Red Toolbox. The Kit was $16 and came with everything needed except for the glue. The instructions were clear enough for Hayden to understand, the build was quick enough to keep her attention, and the piece went together well. All the pieces were pre-cut and pre-drilled, and fairly smooth on the surfaces. Clear plastic panels were pre-cut to size and drilled with vent holes. Assembly only required a screwdriver and a bit of glue. My only negative feedback with the kit is that the screws were low quality, with one being entirely unusable. Beginners should open the kit while they’re still in Woodcraft, and pick up any supplies they need. The Kit was unfortunately built in China.
Call to Action
Kids are easy to find: nieces, nephews, grandkids — and you can even make your own! Go find one, and build a kit with them, or send them a kit. You don’t need to buy a kit – you could make your own. Birdhouses, bug barns, small toolboxes, cookbook holders, pine derby cars, toys, etc. Amazon has a lot of books with plans to make wood toys. Pick a plan and mill the parts. Gather the hardware and even the tools and assemble your own kit. Work through the kit with the kid you found, or send them the kit along with a letter and instructions. Offer your support, time, and encouragement, and get pictures of the final build.