14 July 2015 at 2:37 pm #128506
Just wanted to share this project with you all.
My daughter is staring her A-Levels next term and one of the subjects she has picked is ‘Product Design’. She went for an introductory day recently and came home slightly dismayed that it was ‘all machines’. It turns out she really wanted to work with hand tools the way I do.
After a bit of conversation it we decided that she could supplement her learning by having her do some hand tool projects at home. I cleared out and area of the workshop for her to use and she’s now building her first workbench.
We’re having to build this on an absolute shoestring of a budget so the benchtop is a left over bit of our kitchen worktop and everything else apart form the aprons is made out f scrap timber.
Since I already have a 6 foot long bench (and space isn’t limitless), we’ve opted to make her a three foot long bench. It’s a bit early to say but I’d say she shows some promise and more importantly, lots of enthusiasm. Her mortises have all turned out nice a crisp and square and she’s really bothering to get things right.
Keep Calm and have a Cup of Tea14 July 2015 at 10:04 pm #128521jgust747Participant
Very nice, it’s always a joy to have the kids in the shop.
Dallas, Texas15 July 2015 at 12:31 am #128523Derek LongParticipant
Fantastic! I hope my daughter is as enthusiastic when she’s that age.
Does her school have anything like “Independent Study” here in the US? Perhaps she could create her own curriculum for handtool coursework on a project like that.
Denver, Colorado15 July 2015 at 1:12 pm #128525WesleyParticipant
that’s a great looking bench. i wish my bench mortises look as good as those.
oh, and I can see daddy’s toolbox in the back. nice piece of work.
Wesley15 July 2015 at 3:50 pm #128540
Thanks for the kind comments guys.
Derek: I’m not aware of anything quite like you describe but she will have to come up with her own project ideas. she’s hoping she can focus things more on the hand tool side of things. We will have to work out a way of proving that the work is hers but I can’t see why a bit of video work can’t do that.
Wesley: I was a bit taken aback when I saw her joinery: it makes the M&T joints on my beck look a bit rough. She’s already planning a toolbox build of her own. She lingered around the shop quite a bit when I was building the box in the photo.
We’re both hoping to have the bench finished this weekend – including the vise. I’ll put up a photo or two next week.
Keep Calm and have a Cup of Tea16 July 2015 at 1:04 am #128547Matt McGraneParticipant
Very nice, NikonD80, on the bench, the tool box and getting your daughter involved. You never know – this could be a life-changer for her.
I never had any kids of my own, but it makes me a little nervous seeing sharp tools in their hands. As long as they learn a very healthy respect for sharp metal, they should be fine. But it sometimes takes grown-ups a bit of time (and maybe a small accident) to gain that respect. Any comments on how you (and other members of this forum, if they wish to chime in) handled that?
Matt, Northern California - Started a blog in 2016: http://tinyshopww.blogspot.com/16 July 2015 at 5:19 pm #128558
You’ve pinpointed the thing I’ve found hardest about encouraging my daughter in all this. It’s been quite hard to step back and allow her to get on with it rather than so her how to do things. I’m less worried about her hurting herself than I am that she produces work she wont be disappointed in and so get discouraged. For the bench, I did all the milling so she could get onto the more fun aspects of the work but I wonder if I’m doing her a disservice; for all I know, she may really enjoy that part of the project.
From a safety perspective, I showed her how I sharpen and then demonstrated the level of sharpness to her so she’d appreciate how easily the blade could cut her if she didn’t pay attention to what she was doing. The only real problem I’ve noted so far though was her tendency to allow the tips of her fingers to overhang the edge of a rule when cutting a knife wall. Luckily, I think we’ve broken that habit now.
Keep Calm and have a Cup of Tea7 August 2015 at 1:37 pm #129173
My daughter and I finally found some time to finish off her workbench.
Despite having to use a lot of scraps left over from previous projects, we’ve managed to put something together that’ll more than do the job. The original idea was for this to be a bench for her to use for smaller projects suitable for her A-levels starting next Sept but she’s already decided she wants to build a new bed. I am starting to think I may end up using this bench myself sometimes 😉
Luckily for her, my workbench is 6’6″ long so the bed can be made on that bench.
We’re now starting to scour the internet for a some of the tools she needs. My Aldi chisels have mysteriously ended up on her bench as has the mallet I made for myself and my day-to-day tenon saw. I hope the enthusiasm continues once term starts and she’s got to make room for studying again.
Anyway, just wanted to share the photo of the finished product.
Keep Calm and have a Cup of Tea7 August 2015 at 4:31 pm #129176Marilyn MorenoParticipant
It’s a great workbench. So glad to see her taking this on at her age. She seems to be highly motivated which is wonderful.
Hope she keeps it up.
Marilyn - Lehigh Valley, Eastern Pennsylvania - USA
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