Woodworking Perspectives #2: Woodworking - The Next Generation

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Blog entry by Todd A. Clippinger posted 01-26-2010 09:59 AM 1439 reads 0 times favorited 25 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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Passing the Torch

With the passing of iconic woodworkers and one retiring a TV program in 2009, there was a lot of talk about who would take up the cause and so generously share their time and knowledge? Who would lead, teach, and inspire the woodworkers of tomorrow?

The answer is pretty simple as I see it, it is You and Me.

Inspiring the next generation of woodworkers is as simple as allowing the kids, grandkids, or someone you are mentoring share time in the shop.


More Than Woodworking

Spending time in the shop is about so much more than woodworking. It is about being creative, developing problem solving abilities, motor skills, and building relationships.


When the grandkids come out to the shop I am amazed at the cooperative efforts that they share. This seems to take place on it’s own with little guidance from me, but I am always quick to reinforce it with a positive response.


Like Peanut Butter & Jelly

Kids and the shop go together like peanut butter and jelly, and why not? It is like the ultimate craft room in their eyes! You can cut and glue and hammer with out fear of really damaging anything. Compare this to attempting to do crafts at the dining room table.


Only One Rule

When the grandkids come out to the shop, safety is the only rule. I teach them how to use tools safely (only the ones that are appropriate for their age) but other than that, there is no structured guidance. I let them completely express themselves.

There are no standards they have to live up to, only have fun, be creative, cooperative, and safe.


It’s That Simple

You don’t have to be famous to influence the next generation, you just have to share your time.


Share the Love~Share the Knowledge

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

25 comments so far

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


16729 posts in 2764 days

#1 posted 01-26-2010 10:18 AM

Great time with them, eh Todd? :-)) Looks like they are big enough to learn to ride, rope and shoot to!! After all, they are in Montana.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View GuyK's profile


356 posts in 3167 days

#2 posted 01-26-2010 12:20 PM

Todd those photos remind of the day my grandaughter and I built her a small dog house for her stuffed puppies. One of the best days ever in the shop. It looks to me like woodworking will not be lost in your family.

-- Guy Kroll

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 3249 days

#3 posted 01-26-2010 12:31 PM

I’m guessing that you are the most famous and the most impressive woodworker in the world in their eyes (as well as many of us here as LJ, I might add).

What a wonderful blog, time, example. Thank you

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View WoodSparky's profile


200 posts in 2190 days

#4 posted 01-26-2010 12:50 PM

It is up to us to pass the torch. When the school budget gets tight and the ax falls, the shop classes get cut.

-- So Many tools, So little time

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2136 posts in 2197 days

#5 posted 01-26-2010 01:31 PM

You have a great shop area for working with the grandkids. Looks like their experiences in the shop will make them woodworkers for life :) Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences.


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 2910 days

#6 posted 01-26-2010 01:38 PM

Todd, this is a nice blog and it really look like you are having a ball. Not only are you and the kids having fun and getting to spend time with one another but they will come away with some wonderful memories whose value they will better appreciate when they are older. It is nice to see them just having fun and enjoying themselves, which is the way it should be.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2655 posts in 2615 days

#7 posted 01-26-2010 03:04 PM

Thank you for being you… and reminding us what counts.

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View rsladdwoodworks's profile


311 posts in 2257 days

#8 posted 01-26-2010 05:21 PM

I love to have my oldest grandson be out in the shop .just watching a young mind grow is the greatest \thing for me . I have the the kids come on most Saturday to build bird house and that is the moses t fun for me .

-- Robert Laddusaw and no I am not smarter then a fifth grader ( and no I canot spell so if it is a problem don't read it ))

View PurpLev's profile


8522 posts in 2737 days

#9 posted 01-26-2010 05:26 PM

that is AWESOME Todd!

and what a better way to share something we really enjoy with those we really love?

for the kids its also great since they get to do what “daddy” or “mommy” does all the time, just need to pay extra attention to everything that goes around.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View jm82435's profile


1284 posts in 2830 days

#10 posted 01-26-2010 05:35 PM

Great job passing the torch Todd. Seeing your grandson with the nail gun reminds me my daughter is still scared of them. She is going off to college now, the other day she was cleaning her room and getting rid of some of the old things she doesn’t use anymore, and I noticed she still has the doghouse we built for her pound puppy, “Lucky” when she was probably about four years old.

-- A thing of beauty is a joy forever...

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13347 posts in 2761 days

#11 posted 01-26-2010 05:45 PM

That is great Todd, I hope to do the same if I have some kids.

View Jack Barnhill's profile

Jack Barnhill

366 posts in 2454 days

#12 posted 01-26-2010 06:02 PM

Thanks for this blog, Todd. Ever since my son, grandson and I spent an afternoon in the shop last summer working on a soap box derby car together, I have wanted to get us and my granddaughter back in the shop to build something else, but what?

Your blog showed me that you don have to have a specific project or plan. You just have to proved the means and the materials, the kids provide the imagination and, together, you see where it goes from there.

Great pics too.

-- Best regards, Jack -- I may not be good, but I'm slow --

View blockhead's profile


1475 posts in 2396 days

#13 posted 01-26-2010 06:27 PM

You are so right about passing the torch. My 9 year old has taken an interest in woodworking. He asks questions and has no problem giving honest feedback. He wants very much to start building a project but my wife is so scared he will hurt himself. I am working her slowly on the idea and hoping to get him in the shop very soon and actually have him doing something. I do look forward to building many projects with him. Thanks for posting Todd and the pictures are fantastic.

-- Brad, Oregon- The things that come to those who wait, may be the things left by those who got there first.

View a1Jim's profile


113823 posts in 2665 days

#14 posted 01-26-2010 06:33 PM

Hey Todd
Thanks for the reminder of the important things in life. your A grand, granddad.

-- Custom furniture

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 3027 days

#15 posted 01-26-2010 06:59 PM

Way Cool. Can’t say much more than that.

-- Working at Woodworking

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