The Editors Mailbox

The Editors Mailbox

The Future of Woodworking is Looking Good

comments (4) April 14th, 2013 in blogs

BetsyE Betsy Engel, contributor
thumbs up 7 users recommend

Jordans and Benjamins boxes: 10 in. wide by 5 in. deep by 4 in. high
The proud builders: Jordan, 8 and Benjamin, 6
Alecs box: 8 in. wide by 5 in. deep by 3 in. tall 
Alec, 16
Annas box: 8 in. wide by 4 in. tall
Anna, 12. The antler contains the magnets needed to open the box and secret compartments.

This is a good sign for the life of woodworking. A few weeks ago I received emails from 3 different people proudly showing off the work of some young woodworkers they know. The kids range in age from 6 to 16 and they made some nice looking boxes. It looks like these kids have caught the love of woodworking. I too want to brag about their work.

The first email I got came from Brian, the proud father of Jordan, 8 and Benjamin, 6. Every year, Brian has made something for the kids for Christmas, but this year he decided it would be nice if they did the building. So over a few nights each child worked separately (and secretly) on a box to give to the other child. The boxes are made from a red oak tree that was in their Aunt's yard. Brian and the kids laid out the pieces on the oak, setup the saw to make the cuts and then Brian did the cutting. The kids then took over and sanded, assembled and finished the boxes.

The next email was about 16 year old Alec, a student in Cambridge Mass. Wood shop teacher, Tony, sent photos of Alec's box and proudly pointed out what an outstanding job he did with the finish. In fact, Alec did a great job with each step in the building process including cutting the miters and fitting the top perfectly.

Last, but not least is Anna's bandsaw box. Shop teacher Fred boasts that Anna, 12, found a chunk of walnut in the scrap bin and had the imagination and drive to create this unique box. She designed the box and was then eager to learn the skills needed to create it. The box includes six secret compartments and requires two magnetic tools to open it, releasing an internal latch. Anna also burned the unique picture on the lid.

If you know other young woodworkers and have pieces to show off, you can add them to our online gallery. We would love to see them. Here's another great piece made by Maya, 9:

To say the least, these kids have created some really great work. I think it is fantastic that they are already so into woodworking and I can only imagine what they will be building in 5 or 10 years! I can't wait to see.

posted in: blogs, , boxes, kids, children woodworkers

Comments (4)

DougStowe DougStowe writes: Betsy,
Thanks for showing some kid's work. Those are some very nice boxes, and I hope more readers will send in examples of their children's work.

I am a regular reader of Wooden Boat Magazine, partly because I love and admire wooden boats, and secondly because they take a position of unabashed advocacy of hands-on learning. Never a issue passes by without featuring kids learning hands-on through the making of wooden boats. Like boat making, woodworking in general is a great way to make all other subjects come to life in the student's hands.

I frankly wish that Fine Woodworking could take a greater role in promoting wood working in schools and hands-on learning in general, as most woodworkers know that we learn most deeply and to greatest lasting effect when we learn hands-on.

Besides making boxes and furniture in my own shop, I teach woodworking pre-k through 12th grade at the Clear Spring School, so seeing amazing work done by kids is an everyday thing for me. But far too few kids these days have the kind of opportunity to make beautiful and useful things from wood. Let's change that.

I write about woodworking education and the necessity of hands-on learning in my blog,
Posted: 1:11 pm on April 20th

elizh elizh writes: Awesome job!

Posted: 8:19 am on April 18th

NikonD80 NikonD80 writes: Good grief!! Let's hope this young woodworkers keep with it. If their work is anything to go by, we are in for a treat in the next few years.
Posted: 7:15 am on April 16th

Periodcraftsmen Periodcraftsmen writes: It is great to see, but we need a lot more. Period furniture making is still a dying art.

Posted: 8:09 pm on April 14th

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