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Forum topic by becikeja posted 07-03-2018 12:30 PM 923 views 0 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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becikeja

920 posts in 2931 days


07-03-2018 12:30 PM

Let me start by saying I am a self taught hobbyist. I have never taken a wood working class not even shop in school. All learning has been by trial and error. I began woodworking as a hobby about 30 years ago as an adult, and have gradually collected tools and improved my skill level. YouTube is great, but not ideal to learn. I have been asked if I could teach woodworking to kids, and I am not sure what to teach and what age to teach it.

At what age do you start teaching what skills? Obviously would not put an 8 year old at a table saw. But what age is appropriate for a scroll saw, carving tools, band saw, lathe etc…….

-- Don't outsmart your common sense


28 replies so far

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John Smith

1309 posts in 280 days


#1 posted 07-03-2018 12:44 PM

just out of curiosity, who asked if you could teach woodworking to kids

my local Home Depot stores has “Kids Day” where kids get together
on Saturday mornings in a designated area and build birdhouses and
other wood toys with simple hammer and nails. this may be a way
to provide an entry level learning class of assembling pre-made projects.
but of course – those pre-made kits have to come from somewhere.
either you make them yourself or purchase them online or the Big Box Stores.
so there will be a cost involved. . . . the question is: who is going to pick up that cost.
as for the use of power tools – that is a nightmare waiting to happen insurance wise.
the sponsor’s insurance company must be consulted and permission slips from the
kid’s parents must be obtained. if you are using your own shop and your own equipment,
that in itself, runs a very high risk of liability. (age limit ?? = your shop, your call).
Have Fun and Work SAFE

these are some of the tools that I had to use when I took Wood Shop in high school:

.

.

-- some people are like a Slinky - - - pretty much good for nothing. But still make you smile when you push them down a flight of stairs.

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JCamp

796 posts in 668 days


#2 posted 07-03-2018 12:47 PM

To me the bandsaw lathe and scrollsaw are all fairly dangerous and I wouldn’t consider teaching those to kids till about 14 or so (same with a table saw)
What age group are you they wanting you to teach? If it is younger kids I’d suggest that you precut all the material for something like a shelf or box and then have them assemble it. For kids around 10-12+ you could teach them to use a drill press and drill out the holes. Younger than that you could predrill and have them use a hammer and nails or screws and a plain screwdriver to assemble.
I took a metal working class in college and there was a 40 year old guy in it and he was the first and only person to get hurt in it so safety doesn’t go just by age but in general the older a person is the less likely they r to do something risky

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

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Rich

3532 posts in 707 days


#3 posted 07-03-2018 02:51 PM


just out of curiosity, who asked if you could teach woodworking to kids

- John Smith

What does that have to do with anything?

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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Rich

3532 posts in 707 days


#4 posted 07-03-2018 03:13 PM

Since my father was a serious woodworker with a complete shop back in the ‘50s, I had the opportunity to learn from him and I can share the approximate age at which I did various things.

At age five, I started using a scroll saw. I got it for Christmas and while it was small, it still had enough power and capacity to saw plywood. I started using the band saw, jig saws, sanders, drill, etc, at around age eight. All of that was unsupervised once I’d been shown how to use the tool.

Dad had a RAS instead of a table saw. I recall using that around age eight as well, although I was always supervised. One tool I stayed away from was the circular saw. It was a big, heavy Porter Cable made back when they were all metal.

By the time I was eleven or twelve, I had free rein of everything in the shop. I always respected the tools though. Other than some cuts and scrapes, I managed to get through those years relatively unscathed.

Now, all that said, we all know that kids develop at different rates. I don’t think it’s possible to pick an age at which a child can use a particular tool.

Regarding your specific situation; there’s no way in hell I’d agree to teach woodworking to a young person. Teaching my own kids was different when they were young because I knew their abilities. None of their friends were allowed anywhere near the shop.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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Mainiac Matt

8345 posts in 2446 days


#5 posted 07-03-2018 03:32 PM


just out of curiosity, who asked if you could teach woodworking to kids
- John Smith
What does that have to do with anything?
- Rich

Understanding the format (i.e. scouts, relatives, kids of personal friends) would shed light on the specific nature of the question and facilitate a better answer.

Much more so than say, grumpy and argumentative comments.

But hey, YMMV

-- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

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Holt

272 posts in 2747 days


#6 posted 07-03-2018 03:34 PM

I don’t think you can get an empirical answer. Size, intelligence, maturity, any number of similar variables are in play.

What I do, is decide if the person is mature enough to understand any perils involved. Make a call on their size and strength in regards to the machine being considered. Most importantly, they will see me operate the machine in the manner I consider safe many times before they are allowed close to the machine. When I’m satisfied, they move up to assisting me, then using under my close supervision, and finally to being considered competent to use the machine on their own. That progression would not be automatic. based on observation, the person may never get beyond a certain point.

As to who I would consider spending this time with, for me, only a son or daughter. Too many things that could go wrong to allow some other parent to bail on their responsibility of safeguarding their child.

-- ...Specialization is for insects.

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Rich

3532 posts in 707 days


#7 posted 07-03-2018 03:39 PM


just out of curiosity, who asked if you could teach woodworking to kids
- John Smith
What does that have to do with anything?
- Rich

Understanding the format (i.e. scouts, relatives, kids of personal friends) would shed light on the specific nature of the question and facilitate a better answer.

Much more so than say, grumpy and argumentative comments.

But hey, YMMV

- Mainiac Matt

The pot calling the kettle black…lol. At least I answered the question. Quite thoroughly, I might add.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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clin

919 posts in 1114 days


#8 posted 07-03-2018 03:55 PM

I think it makes a big difference what the situation is. Is it one on one or a classroom full of kids? Also, kids vary greatly in their abilities and how serious they take things. You could teach some kids to use a table saw, other people should probably never use one.

I agree with what John implied. Lots of things to be done with hand tools. While there are many knicks and cuts to be had using hand tools, and even some pretty serious, it is very unlikely to cut off your fingers.

Also, nothing wrong with preparing some pieces yourself with machines. Maybe show the kids how you did it.

I think a really important thing is finding projects the kids want to build.

You also need to be aware of the liability you may be exposing yourself to. Small accidents will happen and there is always a potential for something serious. Make sure you’re covered.

-- Clin

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Woodknack

12331 posts in 2498 days


#9 posted 07-03-2018 05:02 PM

Situation makes a difference. If this a one off class then pick a simple project that can be built with a few tools. If an ongoing classroom then I would consult some of the many industrial arts books which give you a curriculum and projects. You can also look into educational sloyd.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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OSU55

1834 posts in 2107 days


#10 posted 07-03-2018 05:51 PM

Yes the target audience makes all the difference. Since ww used to be taught in schools, jr and sr high, there are old text books, and there might even be a syllabus or 2 around. Check with local schools – they might still have info that could help. Check with a local vo-tech school that teaches ww – some of the teachers may have had experience teaching different age groups.

The whole liability aspect is the most important though. Dont want to intend to do something nice for the kids and end up losing anything, possibly everything you own, due to an accident. Good intentions dont pay legal fees or court awards.

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

7124 posts in 3485 days


#11 posted 07-03-2018 06:20 PM

I started woodworking when I was 12 years old.
My dad had some tools that were suitable for woodworking but he did very little actual woodworking as he used the tools for the upkeep and maintenance on his apartments.

I tried teaching my kids, 2 boys 1 girl, about woodworking but they really never had any interest until my youngest son decided to become a certified CNC machinist. He has now passed me on simple things like speed/feeds/chipload and the like.

Sometimes it just takes time for interests to develop and if there is no interest they will never be driven enough to learn!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

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sras

4872 posts in 3247 days


#12 posted 07-03-2018 09:16 PM

Jack McKee has some4 good info on this in some of his posts here on LJs. Check his blog entries. He also has a website on the topic.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

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bigJohninvegas

484 posts in 1579 days


#13 posted 07-03-2018 10:04 PM

My first woodworking class was 9th grade high school wood shop. So 14/15 years old.
High School format. Could not touch a machine til the chapter on how to use it and safety was covered and passed.
30+ years later I pick woodworking back up. Found a local school that required all students take there basic class to get started.
So as far as what to teach.
Keep it simple, and pick projects that will cause the student to use every tool in the shop.
A basic cutting board for example will teach proper glue lamination. And the student will learn to use a Table saw, jointer, planer, router, sander, and some finish. And every mother can use a cutting board in her kitchen.

-- John

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Rich

3532 posts in 707 days


#14 posted 07-03-2018 10:17 PM


At what age do you start teaching what skills? Obviously would not put an 8 year old at a table saw. But what age is appropriate for a scroll saw, carving tools, band saw, lathe etc…….

- becikeja

The OP asked “at what age” for some given power tools. He said nothing about what projects, what setting, or picking things that can be done with hand tools. He specifically asked what age. Are you going to try to tell me that it matters whether the child is in scouting, is a cousin or neighbor, at what age they should use tools? I don’t buy that. It’s irrelevant.

Like I pointed out, all kids develop at different rates, so one child who’s eight might be able to handle a band saw like I did, but another might not be ready at twelve or fourteen. You can’t lump them all together.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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clin

919 posts in 1114 days


#15 posted 07-03-2018 11:22 PM


At what age do you start teaching what skills? Obviously would not put an 8 year old at a table saw. But what age is appropriate for a scroll saw, carving tools, band saw, lathe etc…….

- becikeja

The OP asked “at what age” for some given power tools. He said nothing about what projects, what setting, or picking things that can be done with hand tools. He specifically asked what age. Are you going to try to tell me that it matters whether the child is in scouting, is a cousin or neighbor, at what age they should use tools? I don t buy that. It s irrelevant.

Like I pointed out, all kids develop at different rates, so one child who s eight might be able to handle a band saw like I did, but another might not be ready at twelve or fourteen. You can t lump them all together.

- Rich

It’s a discussion. Who the hell put you in charge. Get over yourself.

-- Clin

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