Of Kids and Hand-Crank Thingies

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by handsawgeek posted 08-11-2014 09:02 PM 1962 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Whenever my grandkids come into the woodshop, the first thing they do is to make straight for the hand crank grinder attached to one of the workbenches. They can’t resist standing there turning and turning and turning that silly thing, watching the little two-and-a-half inch wheel go round and round.

The very next stop is the shelf holding my collection of various eggbeater drills. They try out each and every one, fascinated with all the mechanical wizardry happening before their very eyes.

Then it’s off to the wood and machinist’s vices for a go at turning the handle and watching the jaws go in and out.

Oh, and let’s not forget the vintage pencil sharpener hanging on the wall. It’s not quite as fascinating as the other devices because it has no visible mechanical movement aside from the crank handle itself. It just makes a lot of noise, but it’s fun, nonetheless.

Kids just love these things.

So do I, for that matter.

I would wager that most other people, woodworkers or not, would share the same fascination. I’ve often thought it would be fun to take an old cast iron and wood crank handle, attach it to a wall in a high foot traffic public area, and sit back to observe. I would be willing to bet that at least 90% of passers-by could not resist giving it a few turns to see what it did! (Yeah…OK…these are some of the kinds of weird things I think about from time to time).

Anyway, back to the handsawgeek shop….

Given my own fascination for such devices, I am always on the lookout on Craigslist for one of those old post drills that were popular in the olden days. The ones that not only turn the drill chuck, but also automatically feed it into the work. That would be a really nice up-grade from my Ryobi drill press! Maybe in the meantime I can attempt to convert that old breast drill hanging on the tool wall into a sort of drill press.

That hand crank grinder I have attached to the workbench is scheduled to be converted into a small sanding disk driver when I get around to it. It should be perfect for finish shaping the edges of small wood toy parts. Maybe I could have the grand kiddos over on sanding day. They would love the opportunity to have some quality time with that hand crank, while actually doing something useful with it!

I suppose the beauty of these types of devices lies in the ingenuity involved with converting human power into useful functions via all manner of gears, cams, levers, and pulleys. You can watch the many parts work in harmony…see the work being done.

Hands down, though, the coolest hand crank device I own is this:

It’s not a woodworking tool (even though the manufacturer is Goodell), rather it’s a kitchen tool.
An antique apple peeler to be exact.
The idea is to clamp the device onto a table top, impale an apple on the tines, and turn the crank. This sets in motion machinery that rotates the apple while sending a blade around the perimeter of the fruit to shave off the peel. I’ve never tried it to really peel an apple, but I do get a kick out of operating it just to watch this ingenious device go through its motions.

Yep……kids and hand crank thingies……

-- Ed

5 comments so far

View NormG's profile


6252 posts in 3149 days

#1 posted 08-11-2014 10:37 PM

Start them early and they will follow


-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View stefang's profile


15947 posts in 3480 days

#2 posted 08-12-2014 12:25 PM

The kids fascination with turn stuff should give a good clue to what will be a popular wooden toy for them. Wooden geared things?

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View handsawgeek's profile


648 posts in 1541 days

#3 posted 08-13-2014 04:57 PM

Yep, I’ve already had the kids working on a small project in the shop when they are here. I’ve given them each a foot-long chunk of 2×8, some small hammers, a handful of nails, and a small eggbeater drill. After I clamp the wood to the saw bench (perfect height for them), they go to town pounding and drilling.
The 3 year old recently persisted for 15 minutes in trying to drill a hole through his board with the eggbeater and 1/8” bit. He was ecstatic when the bit finally popped through!
As for projects for them, I have a couple of wooden fishing reel games, that are in mid-construction, and I have some ideas floating around in my cranium for a marble race track that uses a hand crank device to get the marbles to the starting line. Might be the subject for a future blog entry…

-- Ed

View CFrye's profile


10419 posts in 1985 days

#4 posted 02-14-2018 02:59 PM

That is one cool tool, Ed! I like it way better than my newer version. Probably “the grass is greener” kinda thing. LOL! Have the grandkids outgrown their fascination with the hand crank thingies?

-- God bless, Candy

View rbrjr1's profile


170 posts in 351 days

#5 posted 02-14-2018 07:24 PM

you’re lucky.. mine just grab for the belts on my table saw or any sharp (or heavy/unstable)object close to their grasp..

-- only an idiot dismisses an intelligent statement because they dont know anything about the person delivering it.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics