Woodworking merit badge - Boy Scouts

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by Plumbseed posted 10-15-2007 06:26 PM 3158 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Plumbseed's profile


2 posts in 3839 days

10-15-2007 06:26 PM

Topic tags/keywords: projects boy scouts handtools

I’m scheduled to run a Woodworkinmerit badge course over the Christmas holidays at a winter camp. I’m trying to come up with some simple woodworking projects that can be built with limited material and handtools and give the boys practice in simple joinery as well as the satisfaction of making something themselves.
I’d love to get some ideas from other folks.

8 replies so far

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1519 posts in 4087 days

#1 posted 10-15-2007 07:02 PM

I’d consider a bit about your hand tools restriction. Maybe there’s some way you can let ‘em do a number of the cuts with power tools and a lot of supervision? My middle school shop had me using power tools in 8th grade (and my dad and grandfather’s shops earlier, but I’m trying to be reasonable for “most kids”), and I’ve helped a developmentally disabled man who, despite being in his early 30s, has the mental development in the 2-4 year old range, make a birdhouse with a Festool saw on a rail for his cross-cuts (although we did have four hands on the jigsaw while cutting out the bird hole).

Sometimes a power saw way less dangerous than a hand in front of a chisel…

A recent Woodworking had a rather nice shelf with a pull-open cubby for mittens and such that looked like it’d be a relatively simple project, you could have ‘em cut the curves with a coping saw, so probably do most of that by hand.

Aaaand… I know that in 8th grade woodshop class I tried to do an inlaid harmonica box. The inlay wasn’t terribly great, and I was pushing well beyond what my classmates were doing, but if in high school (when I was ticking off Merit Badges) someone had showed me the basics of how to do a hand-cut dovetail and let me go to town, I would have been ecstatic to both learn that skill and have anything like it. I still have the musical instrument I made for some merit badge (a Laosian two stringed bowed instrument built with a coconut for the sounding board that I can roughly transliterate as a “hsee sa-u”), had I had the chance to do a hand-cut dovetail box in high school I’d definitely still have that in a treasured place.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 3858 days

#2 posted 10-15-2007 07:34 PM

Plumb—- how many kids? I would think the number of kids would limit the difficulty of the project. If there were only a few and you could supervise more closely then a more challenging project would be at hand. If there were a lot of kids—- then not so challenging.

I remember my brothers making a tool box that was all butt joints, glue and nails. They had to cut the angeled ends with a hand saw and drilled the hole for the dowel handle with an old-fashioned hand drill. As I recall they had a good time with it and the boxes managed to hang on for quite a while.

If there were a lot of kids—- you could do some pre-sawing and let them do a little hand work before the assembling of a project.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View ThreeJs's profile


84 posts in 3902 days

#3 posted 10-15-2007 07:35 PM

Peg together some bird houses, or dove tail some tool boxes. I have to do a similar project for my webelos sometime this year, and will probably do most of the major cutting at the house before I bring the items to the meeting. What I do bring will at most involve drilling, but then again, I have first year Webelos. If you are talking about boy scouts, I think it would mostly depend on their maturity level, but they should be able to do most simple projects.

By the way, this is one of my favorite sites for getting ideas to do in den meetings. Comes in very handy.

-- David, Charlotte NC

View WayneC's profile


13753 posts in 4060 days

#4 posted 10-15-2007 09:29 PM

You may also want to check with David….

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View joey's profile


396 posts in 3866 days

#5 posted 10-15-2007 10:32 PM

I taught woodworking at a summer camp for 3 years. I had 6 to 16 year olds, both boys, and girls. What I did and it worked for me was to pick several projects that would appeal to them and cut out most the pieces leaving enough for them to do to make it interesting and fun. Now for the older guys I didn’t have to do a lot, but the younger one I did. I alway made a finished example of the project, cut all the pieces that was needed and put them in a plastic bag along with clear instructions and a set of plans, plus a list of tools they needed to complete their project. They built projects like canoe seats, big foot trucks, gum ball dispensers, jewelry boxes, rubberband boats, rubberband guns, flutes, tung drums, and a group of them even made a 17’ sea kayak. The only power tools I ever let them use was sanders, drills, the drill press, and the scroll saw. I let them do all the joinery with coping saws and chisels. I hope some of this helps….Joey

-- Joey~~Sabina, Ohio

View Dadoo's profile


1789 posts in 3953 days

#6 posted 10-16-2007 12:17 AM

Wow, there are a lot of ideas that come to mind. What does the camp need? Shelving, closets, kitchen cabinets? A log bridge over a small creek? Community projects like this are great, especially if they can help the camp and leave the troops mark for future scouts to see. What our boys liked the most was building and racing their own snow snakes and a dogsled that they entered in the Klondike Derby. Something else might be a shadow box for them to display their own badges, etc. I might also suggest cutting and carving a 2 piece hiking staff, which could help them to earn both the woodworking and wood carving badges. Here’s the link to the requirements.

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View Drew1House's profile


425 posts in 4050 days

#7 posted 10-16-2007 01:23 AM

I have a friend (Eldon Greenhaulgh) who is a professor at Utah Valley State College in Orem Utah… You have to do the rest of the work to contact him as I dont want to put his stuff out here without permission… he will be doing this for the scouts and has for 2 days a year for 17 years. He usually runs through 400 boys a day. Call him and he can help you figure out a project… He usually does a tic-tac-toe box where youuse a DP and a table saw.


-- Drew, Pleasant Grove, Utah

View David's profile


1969 posts in 4101 days

#8 posted 10-16-2007 01:23 AM

One thing I did during a recent woodworking merit badge class was to use Miller Dowels – very easy to use and a doweld project satisfies one of the requirements. I also had the boys build a simple bench hook (a very useful device indeed!) with only hand tools (square, saw, brace & bit) which also satisfies a requirement. We started off the course building cedar bird houses which everyone completed in on afternoon. The boys were excited becuase they completed something the first day and they got to take the project home – really fueled thier interest! I can send a PDF of the outline we used if it would be helpful. I gave the boys sampes of timber from my shop to identify and write about the uses and benefits of each species. We also completed a group service project utilizing woodworking skills which also satisfied a requirement.

Good Luck!

Thanks for helping Scouting!



Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

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