Woodturning with the Girl Scouts

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Blog entry by TravisCorcoran posted 10-31-2008 12:29 AM 904 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A friend of mine is a Girl Scout leader, and her daughter (and my goddaughter) is a member of the pack (troop? quorum?).

We’ve been kicking around the idea of doing a little woodturning experience – we’ll let / help each girl turn a candlestick.

There are 12 girls, and I’ve got two lathes in my basement. I’d like to borrow a third mini-lathe, and then have three groups of girls, 4 girls each, rotating through a few stations:

(1) mark the centers of the spindle, use an awl to center punch them
(2) move to the lathe, rough the spindle, then do a bit of finish turning (with an adult holding the tool all the while)
(3) take the spindle off the lathe, and sand by hand.
(4) finish with a safe oil (maybe tung oil).

Has anyone else done a project like this?

Any pointers?

-- / /

9 comments so far

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 3668 days

#1 posted 10-31-2008 02:39 AM

My wife is a superviser for the Girlscouts of Michigan, Capitol City Councel and she just said that was a super idea as long as each girl was supervised on each lathe. For liabilities sake. She commends you for helping the girlscouts and said there should be more male figures willing to give time to the cause. She told me to give you a big thank you from the Girlscouts everywhere.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 3189 days

#2 posted 10-31-2008 04:04 AM

I commend you for volunteering your time and talents. Please use caution and check on your insurance, just in case.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View Grant Davis's profile

Grant Davis

760 posts in 3330 days

#3 posted 10-31-2008 01:24 PM

Travis, that is a great idea. If I may ask, where are you located? I would offer my mini lathe for use if you are close enough.

-- Grant...."GO BUCKEYES"

View TravisCorcoran's profile


15 posts in 2942 days

#4 posted 10-31-2008 04:25 PM

Hey, guys, thanks for the feedback!

I’m located in Arlington, MA , just west of Boston.

Trifern has an excellent point about insurance, and this is something I’ve been thinking about. Right now I’m inclined to see if I can get a signed disclaimer from a Girl Scout leader.

Mike, thanks for your wife’s thanks!

If it comes off, I’ll take pictures and write up an article.

-- / /

View Grant Davis's profile

Grant Davis

760 posts in 3330 days

#5 posted 10-31-2008 07:13 PM

Travis, how are you on pen blanks? Maybe some of us could donate a few to you for your session.

-- Grant...."GO BUCKEYES"

View TravisCorcoran's profile


15 posts in 2942 days

#6 posted 10-31-2008 07:29 PM


Thanks for the offer, but I’ll be able to scavenge up enough wood – 12 candle holders isn’t much, especially if I use the bandsaw to cut up a log I’ve been seasoning.

The most useful thing I can get is your well-wishes for this project!

...and, if it works out well, and I post details here, you can pass it forward by helping out some girlscouts or boyscouts, or other kids locally!

-- / /

View mmh's profile


3664 posts in 3144 days

#7 posted 11-01-2008 06:02 AM

Don’t stop at lathe work, try other wood working techniques that don’t require the heavy equipment. Maybe have them collect a found piece of wood from a hiking trip and then use a hand saw, or have someone help with using a band saw and show them how to use files, sanding tools to make a paper weight, brooch, bead or other simple object. Show them how to bring out the natural beauty of the grain of the wood.

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View fredf's profile


495 posts in 3132 days

#8 posted 11-01-2008 06:11 AM

Watch for long hair, have them wear bandannas or something to keep hair under control no loose clothing etc

-- Fred, Springfield, Ma

View CoolDavion's profile


419 posts in 3246 days

#9 posted 11-01-2008 05:35 PM

When I was in cub scouts I rember doing a couple of wood working projects.
You could google for more details, I don’t rember the exact dimensions, plans, rules.

1) the triangle puzzle. Make a triangle drill several holes sized for golf tees one lees tee then holes, and the object of the game is to jump the tees leaving 1 on the board

2) a rectangle with 7 holes for tees I think. 3 tees of one color 3 of another (or color the heads where the golf ball sits with a sharpie). the object of the game is to jump over the tees and switch the colors to the opisit side.

Some one else might have vetter details then me, but just a couple thoughts.

-- Do or do not, there is no try!

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