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    Patrick Walsh

    1986 Altendorf F45

    Thread Starter: Patrick Walsh

    So I have a opportunity to purchase the above machine for a fair deal from my employer. I am aware of the phenolic guides being pop riveted I the the sliding table along with not availible for replacement. So my question is as follows to those in the know with regard to the phenolic ways....

    Last Post By: Patrick Walsh Yesterday, 6:41 PM Go to last post
    Greg Parrish

    Combo jointer / planer question

    Thread Starter: Greg Parrish

    First question, would anyone regret going from a dewalt 13” with shelix head and 6” powermatic 54a with shelix head to a 12” combo unit with straight knives? Second question, How do the pack compare? What is the best machine for the price now? Looks like the jet units cost as much as the...

    Last Post By: Ben Rivel Yesterday, 11:38 AM Go to last post
    Brian Holcombe

    Maka SM6-Pii

    Thread Starter: Brian Holcombe

    After a long but mainly passive search, one of these machines came up for sale near me. I plan to restore it. It runs well and the pneumatics function but it has a few points i need to address. If nothing else I can greatly admire whomever designed this machine, it leaves me in awe...

    Last Post By: Joe Calhoon Today, 10:30 AM Go to last post
    lowell holmes

    Chris Swarz surfaced at Highland Woodworking.

    Thread Starter: lowell holmes

    I wondered what happened and he left Lee Valley. I logged on to Highland woodworking and an article he wrote popped up. While on a trip that passed through Atlanta, I visited their store.

    Last Post By: Kory Cassel Today, 7:36 AM Go to last post
    Malcolm Schweizer

    Share your stupid moments

    Thread Starter: Malcolm Schweizer

    I always say, "I love a good laugh, especially when it's on me." Here's my latest "duh moment." I spent a long time with a combination plane hand-rabbeting some pine boards for building a steam box. (Note: I do this by hand because I enjoy it and not for bravado.) All I had to do was drill the...

    Last Post By: Kris Cook Yesterday, 10:31 PM Go to last post
    Malcolm Schweizer

    What are your UNIQUE TO YOU safety rules in the shop?

    Thread Starter: Malcolm Schweizer

    We all know the basics- wear a dust mask, don't wear long clothing around moving parts, never reach behind the saw blade... but that's not what this post is about. This post is about your own personal safety rules for your shop based on what your own past experience. I figure we can all gain...

    Last Post By: Robert Engel Today, 10:21 AM Go to last post
  • Woodworking With Kids

    Jack Explores the excitement and some of the challenges he faced when
    introducing children to woodworking.


    Article by Jack McKee

    The excitement and interest of my own kids about using tools, about building, and about woodworking taught me how competent kids could be and inspired me to do volunteer woodworking at my sonsí school. My plan was for the children to arrive with an idea of something to build and I would help them build it. From woodworking with my own kids I knew enough to collect a workbench, kid-sized tools, and some scrap wood.

    Not suprisingly it was a bit more complicated. Six kids arrived. Two had some idea about what to build and I was able to help them get started, even though I had to demonstrate a tool or help with a design problem. Some didnít know where to begin and I didnít know how to get them started. I tried to create, with words, an image of a project that would capture their interest. I asked, "Would you like to build a boat, (candle holder, key ring)?" The answer came back something like, "maybe" or "let me think about it." Other kids had an idea about what to build but no clue how to begin, so I had to figure out construction details off the top of my head and communicate those details to the child in a way they could understand. No one got hurt. I didnít get mad or upset and make anyone hate woodworking, but the class was confusing for the kids and hectic for me. And not much was built. I went home to evaluate.

    I had expected too much. Perhaps I made unconscious and unfair comparisons with my own children who had been around tools since birth. I had assumed kids could use a vice. They couldnít. I assumed they knew enough to keep their fingers away from the saw teeth. They didnít. Later I asked and none of the kids had ever used any tools before. How could they be expected to know what to do?

    I needed to review the way I used tools to see if I could break down actions that I did automatically into steps kids could understand. I started with a safety demonstration: how to carry the saw, how to put a piece of wood in the vice, and how to use a saw. This was a step in the right direction and gave kids enough background to begin using tools without getting hurt. I became intrigued by the details of how to use tools at a beginning level. Over time, I refined this introductory demonstration and developed short lessons for each tool.

    I was also expecting children who had never picked up a tool to be able to figure out what they wanted to make when the whole idea of making something was foreign. I decided to take a boat and a candle holder my son had built to the second class to see if this would help the children visualize a project. When I showed the boat and candle holder, the kids reacted with excitement and enthusiasm. Everyone wanted to build both a boat and a candleholder. The class was still hectic, but it was amazing to me that a few tool lessons and a couple of projects could change the class tone from hectic and lost to interested and excited. Everyone went home with a project. The kidsí enthusiasm was contagious and I went home and thought up more projects.

    I had so much fun I approached the local Park Department with the idea of a summer shop class for children. Even though I didnít have much teaching experience, they were enthusiastic. I, however, was more than a little unsure about how things would go. Could I duplicate the playful atmosphere that prevailed at home with my own boys? Would other kids respond? Could I keep them from hurting themselves? Would they be interested in the projects I had created?

    I need not have worried. That first year, half of the projects I developed were too complicated, but the other half worked surprisingly well. Other children responded much like my own. They appreciated real tools and engaging projects. They worked hard to be safe. The kids got a taste of the magic of building and I got a taste of the magic of kids.

    It was the most meaningful, fun, and interesting woodworking Iíd ever done.
    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Dave Gaul's Avatar
      Dave Gaul -
      Great article Jack! I have a 6yo step-son at home, and I am his only father-figure (he calls me Daddy-Dave! He was 3 months old last time his sperm-donor was around). I have been trying to start him in the shop slowly, he loves tool-time. I recently took the easy route I guess, because "Santa" brought him some tool kits & project kits from Lowe's, the Red Tool Box stuff. Over Christmas break he used the tools, built two projects, and he loved it! I am a teacher/trainer/instructor for my day job, so that does help for me. It can be challenging to remain patient and calm, especially when he has his ADD moments!!!