Woodworking for Children

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Blog entry by Furnitude posted 03-31-2011 09:35 PM 1617 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here is a fascinating article in the NY Times about teaching woodworking to children and all the issues that brings up. I’m not sure if this is behind their paywall or not. My favorite quote, “Tetherball is more dangerous than the shop.” This will spark lots of conversation, which I think is badly needed. Despite shop class in schools becoming a thing of the past, it’s nice to know there is still such great interest in woodworking for children (and adults).

-- Mitch, Also blog at

8 comments so far

View Roper's profile


1389 posts in 3737 days

#1 posted 03-31-2011 10:01 PM

My daughter joins me in the shop all the time, hopefully she will have great memories of this time like I have of spending time in my grandfathers shop.I do not think the shop is a dangerous place for kids as long as they know that non of the tools are toys.

-- Roper - Master of sawdust-

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 3008 days

#2 posted 03-31-2011 11:11 PM

Good article. I brought my daughter up in the shop and am now looking forward to bringing my grandson up in the shop. I enjoy bringing kids into the shop and find that they understand about shop safety better than most adults.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View JoeyG's profile


1275 posts in 2650 days

#3 posted 04-01-2011 12:50 AM

All three of my children love when we have shop time. My youngest is 4 and I let her watch and “help”. They love it and I try to come up with little projects they can help me with every couple of months. Just little boxes and things like that. They fill them with toys and tell all their friends that they made them. It is good times. I hope they continue to enjoy the shop.

-- JoeyG ~~~

View lighthearted's profile


142 posts in 3338 days

#4 posted 04-01-2011 01:11 AM


My kids and I were interviewed and quoted in the article! My daughter (who appears in my avatar) LOVES working in the shop with me. It’s the only place she asks “Can I clean up?” We finally got our lathe up and running this past weekend and the whole family had a great time. My son and daughter have turned several amazing pens and my son has about 8 Harry Potter wands he has turned. Even my wife has taken a turning class with me. I also never feel like I am abandoning the family to go down into my workshop. My wife has been very supportive of my obsessive hobby.

-- Chris

View Tedstor's profile


1643 posts in 2657 days

#5 posted 04-01-2011 06:33 AM

Good post, good article.
I spent about 3 years in the auto repair business between 2003-2006. I never ceased to be amazed by the level of helplessness displayed by the vast majority of Americans. Sorry if this makes me sound like a jerk, its not my intention to offend For example, barely a week went by when a car would be towed into the shop…....with a flat tire…....and a perfectly good, unused spare tire in the trunk. The first few times I encountered this, I expected the driver to be an 80yo woman. But more often than not, the driver would be a seemingly able-bodied man that either had no idea how to install the spare, or felt the task was “below their paygrade”. Some of these people were obviously well-educated and held good paying jobs. Yet, they didn’t possess the basic apptitude to change their own windsheild wiper blades or engine air filter. I doubt they even knew how to open the hood of the car if they had to.
My father is almost 70yo. I am 34. It seems that most of the men that I’ve met of my fathers generation hold at least a basic understanding of mechanics, carpentry, and other trade skills. Most of the men I know from my generation are basically clueless. Sure, they can sync their blackberry to their outlook account with their hands tied behind their backs. But if the toilet in thier home started to overflow, they’d have no idea what to do. Pathetic.

The shift away from industrial education in American schools is a tragedy. Expert after expert says this country needs more scientists, mathmeticians, physicists, and other “brainy” professionals. Finding people capable of teaching these specific priciples at a teachers salary is difficult. Yet no one seems to realize that industrial arts is actually a cirriculum in problem solving, engineering, physics, math, critical thinking, etc, etc. You know….brainy stuff. And finding someone to teach these classes probably isn’t as hard.

The same numbskulls that can’t install a spare tire are now raising children, paying taxes, and voting. They don’t want their kids to be (god forbid) an auto mechanic or cabinetmaker when they grow up. So they poo-poo industrial education in the public schools because they think biulding a bird house to be a waste of their little angel’s time. Very short-sighted in my opinion.

I’ve been blessed with three healthy boys (1,3, and 6). My six year old can already cut a decent line with a japanese saw, can use a hammer/nails, and can operate my drill press at a basic level. Some people think I’m crazy to let him handle these tools. Others applaud me for it. The people that think I’m crazy tend to be the people that can’t change their spare tire or fix a toilet and have no understanding that such activities are generally pretty safe when supervised in a controlled environment. They fear what they don’t know. Whatever, I personally feel that a person that is good with their hands will always have the ability to create and provide goods and services of value. If nothing else, they’ll be able to change thier own tire. LOL. That said, my boys will learn everything I know about trade skills, which isn’t much, but its more than 90% of their peers will ever have the opportunity to learn.

Sorry for rambling.

View amateur's profile


91 posts in 2682 days

#6 posted 04-01-2011 11:02 AM

Great article! As much as I love what we are gaining in this information age, I fear what we risk losing.

View christopheralan's profile


1126 posts in 3745 days

#7 posted 04-01-2011 11:49 AM

Amen Tedstor! Well said!

-- christopheralan

View naomi weiss's profile

naomi weiss

207 posts in 3418 days

#8 posted 04-11-2011 07:26 AM

Brilliant article! Thanks for posting!

-- 'Humility is a duty in great ones, as well as in idiots'--Jeremy Taylor

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