The Woodworking in America conference naturally caters to the facial-hair-and-flannel crowd, but our experience this year was enriched by the “kids’ corner” set up by North Carolina Woodworker, a statewide association of woodworkers. They had several quick, kid-friendly projects for children, and my kids tried them all out.
K, my oldest, made a laminated bracelet, which was then ripped in half. She kept one half, and the other half went to a child in a local hospital.
I’ve never done a bent lamination before, so this was new territory for her as well as for me.
A lot of glue, a little blue tape, and a clamp was all it took, really. Names and/or initials can be carved or woodburned into the bracelet to personalize it. It’s an easy project, and the results come quickly.
Next time somebody asks about a quick, kid-friendly project, I’m going to recommend this.
Another daughter, A, chose a simple scrollsaw project. She was a little nervous around the machine, as it made a bit of noise. The biggest difficulty for her little hands was holding the workpiece flat on the table while the saw cut. Fortunately, she had some adult assistance with that part.
Drilling a hanging hole for it was a little easier for her. She’s done plenty of work with an eggbeater drill before.
A third project (of which I failed to take a process picture) was the light-saber. They had a couple lathes set up, where kids could turn a simple handle. They inserted a small LED flashlight on one end and a piece of PVC tubing on the other to make a glowing sword. It’s a fast, boy-friendly project that I highly recommend to anybody with a little boy and a lathe.
My son was especially fond of this project.
So once again, thanks to the North Carolina woodworkers who volunteered their time, tools, and materials to make this a family-friendly event!