Popular Woodworking 2009-08 № 177, страница 6

Popular Woodworking 2009-08 № 177, страница 6

- Out on a Limb —-

b¥ chbistophek schwaek, editor

The Best Teacher Might be a Rodent

had three hours in my Saturday to do about eight hours of work in the shop. So I pulled on my shop apron, crammed my hearing protection into my ears and reached for the table saw's switch.

But before I could depress thai blessed green button, my 13-year-old daughter Maddy and her friend Sierra walked into the shop. They announced that they wanted 10 build a house for Sierra's hamster.

My hand dropped away from the saw's switch and my head shifted gears. Instead of a dayof careful stock preparation and even more careful dovetailing, 1 was goingto help slap together a rodent shack

During the last 13 years I've found that when you bu ild th ings wit h children, you have to use an entirely different set of ski lis than when you build something for yourself.

You need to build quickly. If the process lakes more than a couple hours, many kids will lose interest. You need to allow t hem to do as much of the planning and assembly as possible. And yet the final result also needs to look somewhat presentable.

Accomplishingall that isharder Forme than building a dovetailed carcase. Luckily, nails and pocket screws usually make this a do-able task,

1 began by gathering scraps from the offcutbinandsendingthetwogirlsintothe other room to design their hamster bungalow. 1 told them I needed a drawing with measurements (here's a tape measure).! needed to see what the house looked like from the from and the side.

10 ■ Popular Woodworking Au£usi2O09

They came back withtheir project plans drawn in inkon a Kleenex. (Tobe fair, I've seen worse construction drawings from adults.) I gave them a combination square and made them mark out all the cutson the biisolscrapsl had gathered forthem. To save time, l made the cutson the band saw, I let them make measurement mistakes and figure out how to fix them. I told them to do a dry-fit of their parts to make sure everything would go together.

And then, with an 18-gauge brad nailer and a lot of glue, we nailed thelittle cottage together.

They were thrilled, but 1 wasn't. I've always wondered how to gel my daughters to bui Id something more ambitious than these little projects. So I was delighted to read Joseph [lardo's solution: ready-made kits. (See the "Out of the Woodwork" column at the end of this issue for the full story.)

These approaches share something in common: They focus onthe result and not the process. Most peopleget into the crafl because they need some shelves, a cupboard or a barn Tor some plastic horsies. Only after they complete that project do they think; Wow. I really liked building that. What should I build next?

Those are the first steps to learning the most difficult skill in woodworking: patience, pw

"1 T 7 POPULAR I .

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