Pass It On #1: New Year's Resolution

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Blog entry by Russel posted 11-28-2007 11:26 PM 965 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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There have been a few posts lately about Teaching/Inspiring young folks in woodworking. Over the years I’ve worked with church youth groups, assisted a junior high band teacher and coached volleyball. Each experience was more rewarding than work. As it turns out, I actually like working with kids.

Now, I’m not the greatest woodworker, but I do know a thing or two; certainly enough to pique the interest of young folks. Shop class (or Industrial Arts) is pretty much a thing of the past and I believe that there is a deficiency in the education of our kids as a result. The ability to work with your hands requires a type of thought that you don’t always get with Reading, ‘Riting and ‘Rithmetic.

The recent posts about teaching and inspiring have impressed upon me the need and desire to pass on what I know and share the enjoyment that comes from a completed project. So, I hearby resolve to develop the resources; lesson plans, skills, etc. to establish a youth woodworking class.

My plan is to document the process here in the hope that when it is complete it will be useful for anyone else who might have a similar interest. Additionally, I plan to steal as much information as I can from the folks here because, well, there’s just so much expertise here. I will gladly take any suggestions, ideas, plans, pointers or anything this group is willing to give.

At this point in time, I have little but an idea. I figure by putting it here I’ve said something publicly and as a result will be held accountable for following through. Wish me luck.

-- Working at Woodworking

10 comments so far

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3899 days

#1 posted 11-28-2007 11:47 PM

Good luck. This sounds like a wonderfully fulfilling opportunity. I’d suggest, at least for the first project, that it be quite simple and “finishable” (as in completing it) Then go for something more complex.

View Mark Mazzo's profile

Mark Mazzo

352 posts in 3937 days

#2 posted 11-29-2007 12:11 AM


Sounds great! I’m in search of a simple project to do with my son’s cub scout den in the near future. Any insight you could provide would be welcomed.

-- Mark, Webster New York, Visit my website at

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3987 days

#3 posted 11-29-2007 01:05 AM

Great Idea, Russel. run with it.We’ll help all we can from here.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Dadoo's profile


1789 posts in 4015 days

#4 posted 11-29-2007 05:02 AM

Try this: and see if it helps.

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4124 days

#5 posted 11-29-2007 05:13 AM

I am interested in seeing how this goes.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 3963 days

#6 posted 11-29-2007 01:42 PM

Thanks for the link Dadoo … that brings up one or two of the issues I’m starting with; 1) Do I start with basic assembly of pre-fabricated parts or should I start with basic skills like cutting a straight line (I’ll have to learn to bake bread for that). And, 2) what age range should I gear up for? The dexterity of a 12 year old is significantly greater than that of a 9 year old . . . and then 14 & 15 brings up the possibility of power tools and such. Fortunately, there is no demand for my talents in this area, so I’ve got time to plan and develop a workable program.

-- Working at Woodworking

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4185 days

#7 posted 11-29-2007 02:09 PM

and as you progress, keep in mind the Roarockit skateboard kits – their goals was to teach kids how to think and how to use their hands, and in the process build a skateboard deck. (See my interview with them)

the basics is good but kids need to see results at the same time.. maybe something small and easy that uses a few basic skills so they get success and lesson all in one???

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Dadoo's profile


1789 posts in 4015 days

#8 posted 11-29-2007 03:10 PM

My plan with my 6 y/o grandson is to first get him interested in the ease of assembly of the pre-fabbed parts, so with my “kit” I included all the screws needed and his first Phillips screwdriver too! (I got a drawer full of Chinese screwdrivers!) Later (in a couple of years and a few more pre-fabbed projects) we will delve into how those pre-fab parts came to be, like how 4 little boards, some glue and nails make a roof. And then we’ll explore the various cutting techniques that create these boards, and it just keeps building from there. Ya gotta play to the attention span of your pupil. 6 y/o kids want to play constantly and have the attention span of…well, this isn’t a video game. Older kids will sit longer while adults (Yep, I’m also teaching my son as well!) will grasp the concepts of angles and tenons and rabets, etc. Ya just gotta be careful not to burn them out with too much too quick.

Check out this book shortcut Gizmodyne left:

What’s that old Chinese proverb? “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”.

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 3963 days

#9 posted 11-29-2007 11:14 PM

Results, seem to important. That makes sense since that’s what I still look for. And, kits seem to be the logical place to start. The queston that comes to mind is what would be the minimum age to start with. I have a 6 year old grandson and a 13 year old grandson. I’m not sure the 6 year old is quite ready, but the 13 year could have started before now. I’m thinking that 10 or 11 to be a good starting point; particularly since I’m looking beyond family. In developing a reproducible structured program, what might be a reasonable starting age?

-- Working at Woodworking

View Dadoo's profile


1789 posts in 4015 days

#10 posted 11-29-2007 11:42 PM

Russ, check this out. He’s been beating on this since he was a little over a year old. His cousin, who’s presently two, is drawn to it like bees to honey! So, just how old would be a good starting point? I guess it really depends on the kid. Toss a sheet of paper on the table with some finger paints and you’ve created a two year old Picasso. Now do the same with a primed birdfeeder…? I would say a good age would be about 5-6.

*Now if I could get someone to explain why my photos won’t show here, I’d be happy!

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

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