tool set for kids?

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Forum topic by Wingstress posted 09-03-2010 12:54 AM 12476 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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337 posts in 3539 days

09-03-2010 12:54 AM

Topic tags/keywords: kids junior

My daughter is turning 8 this month. She has done some marquetry and scroll saw projects with me, but usually she just glues all my scraps together. Anyway, I’d like to buy her a tool set and for her first project build a little work bench. I’m having trouble finding a junior tool set. I was looking for one that has a hand drill, a back cutting saw, small hammer, and maybe some other stuff. I’d also like to buy her a nice woodworking kit that I could help her put together.

Unfortunately, when I google it, all I find is some crappy black and Decker or home depot cheap plastic crap.

Doe anyone know if a good place like Lee Valley, Rockler, Woodcraft, etc sells junior tools. Any websites would be greatly appreciated.


-- Tom, Simsbury, CT

18 replies so far

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 3722 days

#1 posted 09-03-2010 01:52 AM

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 3722 days

#2 posted 09-03-2010 01:58 AM woodworking kits
Maybe able to get it in the US.

View swirt's profile


2780 posts in 2996 days

#3 posted 09-03-2010 07:00 AM

I haven’t found much in the way of kits, but there are some nice options if you are willing to pick them up one by one.

Vintage hand drills are great if you can find them at garage sales or even on ebay. If you want new, Fiskars makes an interesting little model.

I found a recommendation as well as other info for the Stanley miterbox with saw and built in clamping pegs on and have been happy with that. It keeps little fingers out of the saw.

My son is only two, but whenever possible I try to buy adult tools that are appropriate for him, instead of specific kid tools. I bought an old stanley handyman planefor $5 and took the blade out so he could “use it like daddy does”. When he’s older, I can put the blade in and he’ll have a fully functioning plane. He has a blast with an ordinary rubber mallet. I’ve seen stubby versions of hammers…. I’m a little on the fence about those. A hack saw makes a good reasonably safe saw for kids to cut dowels.

If you find a good set, I’d like to hear about it.

-- Galootish log blog,

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3133 days

#4 posted 09-03-2010 08:07 AM

Morning Tom,

I think it is great that you are working on getting your daughter involved in woodworking. I hope you might find the following helpful. I had a woodworking session with my boys that I blogged about here. The blog shows some of the tools I used to keep them safe and to keep them interested.

Awhile back, I looked at the Jr. kits and found them very cutesy but not very practical. The tools usually are undersized, not very strong, and sometimes more of a danger because the saws are not very sharp, the hammers too small, which results in too much frustration for the kids and the temptation to over compensate by forcing the tool rather than letting the tool work.

If I were to recommend a tool list for young woodworkers, I would go with the following -

Hand Drill – Try to find an old working egg beater style drill. If one is not available used, look for a Fiskar hand drill. They are inexpensive, work good for small hands, and are much safer than electric or battery pack drills.

Miter box with back saw – A Stanley back saw and miter box combo works pretty good for small pine pieces. I can tell you that kids do get bored very easily when you attempt to cut the pieces for them. With the miter box, you can teach them how to mark the length and saw a board and a real back saw can cut rather quickly without too much effort. The miter box helps hold the piece and keep their hands away from the blade of the saw.

10-12 oz hammers – The Jr. Kits have hammers that are way too light weight for pounding the nails. I do see hammers in this size range at the big box stores. With a pre-drilled hole, kids can hammer rather quickly without going nuts banging on the hammer. I saw a kid’s project in Wood magazine once where the author would have kids draw out their names on a board and hammer brads along the lines until their first name was filled in with silver brads. I did this with my youngest (8 at the time) and it worked rather well. The board was a little beat up, but it taught him how to hammer a nail in no time. No pre-drilled holes for this project and it worked rather well as a start.

Coping Saw – Don’t skimp, look for a good one online and keep sharp blades on it. When you mention woodworking projects in the beginning, don’t be surprised if you get responses like “I want to make a man” or a horse, or some barn yard animal. The coping saw allows them to cut circles or other shapes and you can use dowels to make a neck for the head, or arms and legs. Again, the temptation is to use duller tools but they create more accidents than sharp ones. Good cutting blades, when taught to use the tool in a way to keep the hands free, will reduce accidents rather than create them

Past that, your basic glues and sandpaper. Let the kids tell you what they want to make and use your imagination to figure out how they can do it. You will get much further if you let them decide rather than decide for them. Lesson learned from experience. Keep the sessions at about 1-2 hours, unless they are really into it. Long sessions without breaks will cause them to start concentrating on just getting the thing over with, rather than enjoying each step.

And when they say they are done, they are done. Encourage them to sand until the project is safe to use, but don’t get too picky about their finishing and sanding jobs. As long as there is little risk of splinters and other unsafe aspects of the project, they are good.

Hope this helps,


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

View MrsN's profile


986 posts in 3550 days

#5 posted 09-03-2010 07:17 PM

David had some great ideas. I agree that for an 8 year old, the juinor tools will cause more frusteration then good. Using good quality adult tools with proper supervison and explaination should work well.
It is also really helpful to build projects that the kid wants to build. A project that a kid is excited about will come out a lot better. also, make sure that the project you start actually gets finished. If it is going to take 3 shop sessions, pick a week or weekend that gives you the time to do it. If the schedule is packed, try a simpler project that will fit.
Good Luck

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2867 days

#6 posted 09-03-2010 07:48 PM

This may be thinking outside the box for some people, but I suggest getting her a cheap or used scroll saw and helping her build a stand where she can learn to do projects on her own. You’d be surprised how many children as young as her are making beautiful scroll saw projects on their own.
There’s a kid out in California (sorry, I lost the link to the article) with downs syndrome who has turned his scroll saw hobby into a five figure a year living. Now I’m not saying everyone can do this (I sure haven’t been able to do it), but if he can do it, I have confidence your daughter can too.


View Mogebier's profile


170 posts in 3057 days

#7 posted 09-03-2010 08:55 PM

Lowes just came out with some new kids’ projects and some tool sets for older kids 8+.

-- You can get more with a kind word and a 2 by 4, than you can with just a kind word.

View Wingstress's profile


337 posts in 3539 days

#8 posted 09-04-2010 04:51 AM

Thanks everyone so much for your help. I’m glad to see I wasn’t nuts for wanting to get my kids in the shop.
I think I’m going to order a couple tools that you suggested. I like the miter box idea and the hand drill. I can’t believe I didn’t think of a coping saw. Ever since I bought my scroll saw, I have forgotten that I own one… The first project will be a kid size work bench for her to keep all her new tools. (Right next to mine)

-- Tom, Simsbury, CT

View Smaug's profile


5 posts in 2846 days

#9 posted 09-04-2010 10:03 PM

Why all hand tools? Being small and female, lack of muscle might be frustrating to her.

How about this:

- Jigsaw (the safest power saw)
- Cordless drill
- Mallet
- Screwdrivers
- Chisels (she’ll need supervision at first)
- Kreg Jig
- Clamps
- Vise
- Yellow glue
- Block plane
- Cutoff jig for jigsaw
- Shooting jig for block plane
- Drill bits

Teach her the basics of safety by supervising. One can hurt oneself pretty badly with hand tools if one is not careful. (chisels especially) But chisels are as essential as the safety knowledge they require to successful woodworking.

Another advantage is that power tools make it more interesting. Maybe that is just for boys, but maybe not. ;)

-- "Well begun is half done."

View Wingstress's profile


337 posts in 3539 days

#10 posted 10-24-2010 06:11 PM

Hey guys, thanks for you for all the help. My daughter and I just finished our first project…

Click for details

-- Tom, Simsbury, CT

View DanCo's profile


66 posts in 2923 days

#11 posted 10-24-2010 06:51 PM

Mogiebear is right. I just saw the ad for a junior set at Lowes. It was in their latest woodworking mailer. I am buying one tomorrow if they have it in stock. Cute girl, my daughter is almost 8.

-- Daniel

View rivergirl's profile


3201 posts in 2863 days

#12 posted 10-24-2010 08:31 PM

Another thought- some companies make smaller tools for women- that are lighter in weight etc. Instead of looking for children’s tools, maybe look at some that are designed for women. :)

-- Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 3008 days

#13 posted 11-07-2010 05:30 PM

Daniel, Did you pick up that set at Lowes? If you did what is your opinion of the tool sets there. The one kit with the handsaws looks like the handsaw was the only thing that I felt would be useless due to the temper being lost along the teeth. Thought I might get one for my 4 year old grandson. They also had some stocking stuffer tools I thought might also help to build up a tool kit with.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 2805 days

#14 posted 11-09-2010 02:47 PM

Lee valley does have some “kids” stuff, and usualy about this time
of year it pops up in the Christmas listings ?

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View helluvawreck's profile


31378 posts in 2891 days

#15 posted 11-09-2010 03:10 PM

I wood think that an 8 year old would be able to handle some dovetail and backsaws, coping saws, handcrank drills, fret saws and such. A scroll saw would be nice. Build the workbench with the right size vice. I think it’s best just to improvise on this sort of thing. You can build a lot of fun things with a few basic tools. Even a child of eight can become a Lumberjock I would imagine. When I was that age I built some bird houses and the birds actually moved in. Hey, I built a squirrel trap and caught a squirrel. Kids pretty much know how to have fun and learn things with most anything – of course some things need to be supervised. Go ahead and get her those tools – children just love to be creative – it’ll teach ‘em all kinds of things that are worth while in life.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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