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Thread: power tools and kids - how young is too young?

  1. #1

    power tools and kids - how young is too young?

    My older son (9 yr) has started to use the power drill - no drill bits allowed for now, only drive bits, he uses it with drywall screws to assemble small plywood parts for his projects.

    So far, no accidents. Today, together with his little brother and an older boy from the neighborhood, they made a cart from a plank of wood and 4 training wheels - leftovers from their old bicycles. It actually worked although it's probably not the most solid construction in the world.

    Am I a bad parent if I allow him to continue using the power drill? I did my best to teach him how to use it, but 9 years seems pretty young.
    Florin Andrei

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Camas, Wa
    I think it completely depends on the kid. I don't remember when I started using power tools. It probably started with a drill and jigsaw. I cut my leg open with a hand saw(I don't remember my age). It probably would have required stitches but I was afraid to tell anybody. Accidents happen with or without power tools no matter the kid/adult. I'm just saying.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    McKean, PA
    With supervision, 9 isn't too young to start with power tools as long as they are taught the safety rules for that tool, which includes putting it back where you found it and treating the tools with respect. I started using tools about that age. If I violated the rules for any tool, I had to go tools for a period of time determined by my Dad. Hand drills, jig saws, scroll saws and mounted belt/disk sanders are all relatively safe for young hands.
    Lee Schierer
    Captain USNR(Ret)

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Collegeville PA (30 min west of Philly)
    Blog Entries
    A spectrum:
    I know 6 years old (the age of my son) is too young, but he's been able to use a non-powered screw driver to help build some bird houses with me. Based on the learning curve I'm seeing, I suspect by the time he's 9 years old, I'd be ok with him swinging a small hammer and possibly using a drill driver under supervision. By 13 years old (or so) kids are taking woodshop at junior high school (in those schools still lucky enough to have a program) and learning to use serious equipment. By 16 years old a trained kid can build serious stuff at high school woodshop.
    - Bob R.
    Collegeville PA (30 minutes west of Philly)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Grand Forks, ND
    I have a 9 year old also, he uses a power drill to drive screws into scrap wood and 2x4's. His grandfather gave him his old delta srollsaw a few weeks ago. I have let him cut quite a bit of 1/4" plywood with it . I think it really depends on the kid also, while my son is still very immature he is very careful and responsible. I had a 9 year old at my house for a cubscout event, he could drive 2" screws flush by hand! So there is a wide variety of capabilities out there.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Commerce Township, MI
    I have 7 kids and 15 grandkids. One son was great with tools at an early age, the other I don't trust today (he's 35)! One grandson has helped me and learned respect for tools at 6, his male siblings have shown no interest at all. My youngest daughter helped me a lot when she was 5 but outgrew it when she found out about boys!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Monroe, MI
    I let my 8yo use the scoll saw. And last weekend I let her put stuff in the shred side of our wood chipper with the rule that her hands didn't pass the mouth even though she couldn't reach the dangerous parts if she tried. Of course we are right there the whole time.
    Last edited by Matt Meiser; 03-28-2011 at 10:13 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Lawton Oklahoma
    Depends on the kid, level of supervision, which power tool. Both of my 8 yr old twins have turned pens with a tremendous amount of supervision, but I wouldn't let either one of them near the table saw, router table, or jointer. They use drills and jig saws all the time (with supervision), but no circular saws yet.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    El Dorado Hills, CA
    Not a 'bad parent' at all; looks like a great project and they got a sense of accomplishment.

    I got my son a cordless drill and driver for his 7th birthday. I preferred the cordless over corded because it stops immediately when you let off the trigger, and it has a clutch, so it's a little more forgiving if it catches. Twist bits only; no spade or forstners. That and the random orbit sander are only power tools I let him use unsupervised. Obviously it's not the first time he's had a power tool in his hands; he'd been working his way up to it under close supervision for several years. It'll be awhile before he's ready for regular stationary tools.

    He is required to wear safety glasses if he picks up so much as a piece of sandpaper. Any lapse of safety results in a discussion of the issue and usually putting the tool down for the day.

    It all depends on the kid.
    Last edited by Ed Jolin; 03-28-2011 at 10:05 PM.

  10. #10
    My 3 year old knows the difference between a philips screwdriver and a standard screw driver and how it is supposed to work. If a toy has run out of battery she will find the appropriate screwdriver and attempt to take the batteries out so they can be replaced. (All with supervision of course). But power tools for her are still several years away.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Victor, Idaho
    My 2.5 year old plays with my 12volt bosch drills all the time with drivers. If I start the screw, he can drive it.

    It really does depend on the kid--ours is very careful and listens well.

    I'll probably wait a year or so before letting him use small drill bits.


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Cincinnati Ohio
    I know some guys in their 30's that should not touch tools.
    "Remember back in the day, when things were made by hand, and people took pride in their work?"
    - Rick Dale

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    The Hartland of Michigan
    Quote Originally Posted by Florin Andrei View Post
    Am I a bad parent if I allow him to continue using the power drill? I did my best to teach him how to use it, but 9 years seems pretty young.
    You worry too much.
    We used to build go carts with 3 million nails in them, take them to the hill, and crash them.
    Half of us were younger than 9.
    Let the kid enjoy life. Don't be a worrier.
    Never, under any circumstances, consume a laxative and sleeping pill, on the same night

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