Woodworking with My Children: A Photo Essay

I have been working wood only a little longer than I have had children, so my kids have grown alongside my skills.

Daughter #1

My first workspace was in the middle of my kitchen. My kitchen islands had vises on them, and I had to sweep up if I wanted lunch. My oldest daughter, K, tried the shavings.

She had a great time looking over the tools for sale at Dowds’ midsummer tool and pie event in Garland, TX.

When I built my first real workbench, I put her to work sanding the small pieces. That lasted about two minutes.

She thought planing the top down looked like fun, so she tried out my little junker block plane. She is smiling more than I ever have trying to use that plane.

I don’t know where that saw came from (almost looks like a surgeon’s bone saw), but she loves it.

Later on I made her a marking gauge out of curly maple and purpleheart.

With her growing tool kit, she needed a place to put them. We built a small tool chest together. She helped drive some nails and screw on the hardware. Painted purple, of course.

For Christmas last year she got a #2 smoothing plane. She loves making shavings.

   Daughter #2

Once our second daughter, A, started walking, she hung around the bench, just observing. She does that a lot.

Recently she swiped a small screwdriver from the toolbox, found a Lincoln log, and set to work. When mom asked what she was doing, she replied “I carving.”

All my kids love to read. Here A is reading The Anarchist’s Tool Chest by Chris Schwarz. She is working on identifying tools by name.

When I made a batch of joiner’s mallets, I made a couple small ones for the girls.

     Daughter #3

I was literally fitting the last joints on the cradle when my wife went into labor with our third child. Talk about a rush job!

A year later, she’s getting the idea.

She is a very helpful little girl. Here she “helps” her big sister drill some holes. Eggbeater drills continue to be favorite kid tools around the shop. Many of the scraps in my scrap bin have several holes drilled through them in random locations.












Son #1

Our fourth child, a son, was born this past summer. I’m trying to start him out right.

I am optimistic about the future of woodworking.

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11 Responses to Woodworking with My Children: A Photo Essay

  1. Lois Hall says:

    Lots of love shown here!

  2. What a great post, Steve! I have a hacksaw identical to the one you showed (bone saw). It’s great to see vises on your kitchen islands, too! Also, Daughter #2 is a quick reader… she must get that from her dad.

  3. Katherine Abernathy says:


  4. Bill Schmidt says:

    Didn’t Abraham Lincoln entreat us, “With ‘mallets’ toward none…let us strive to finish the work we are in..”, at least no mallets toward your siblings.
    Too cute, you must have a very patient spouse.

  5. Steve Massie says:

    Steve …….. I Love it, and what a great looking family you have there. I am sure you are a Proud Papa and Husband for sure. I am thrilled to see these Girls taking a liking to “playing” with hand tools and I am sure with your’s and your Wife’s guidance they will learn.

    I have a 5 year old Grandson who likes hanging out with Papa and has a ball drilling,nailing into scrap wood also. I have not turned him loose with a saw yet but will before long ( with my help ), I have a small gents saw with his name on it. He actually holds a hammer correctly and does a better job hammering than his Dad.

    Thanks for sharing this experience.


  6. Bethany Bear says:

    I love these photographs, Steve! I’ve always enjoyed seeing how your girls join in your craft work. Just imagine the things they will be building for themselves in a few years. I envision towers going up in the backyard before you and Grace realize what’s happened.

  7. sarah says:

    This is great. I’d say you have 4 excellent reasons to be optimistic for the future–whatever it holds!

  8. sarah says:

    I also meant to add that the picture of shavings all over the kitchen floor makes me agree that you must have a very patient wife! But I’m sure the results of that woodworking make some shavings worthwhile!

  9. It;s very nice to see that little children is using the woodwork tools.

    [Edited by administrator]

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