It's always fun to have folks come to the shop and build something. This time it was especially fun. My good friends' son Glenn came down for a day, and we built a toolbox for him from start to (almost) finish.
Glenn is 10 years old and I wasn't initially sure how we should approach the project. This was a learning experience for me too. The way my brain works, I would have spent a lot of time talking about the properties of wood, wood movement, joinery, etc. Hmmm...maybe a PowerPoint presentation? Luckily, my wife Cheryl chimed in. She suggested that the most important thing was for Glenn to see a project come together...all the way from beginning to end. Exactly!
So, with that in mind we bolted right out of the gate. We cut the 8-foot poplar board down to rough parts, jointed, thickness planed, edge jointed, ripped, made finger joints, cut grooves, etc. The pace was fast.
Glenn ably performed most all of the work. I only took over on a couple of the more difficult steps, but these were few and far between. Add in a smattering of "Safety first!" and "Measure twice, cut once..." , and we had ourselves a solid day of Woodworking 101.
I was thoroughly impressed with Glenn's enthusiasm and natural ability. He was comfortable with the tools. He was was fluent in 1/16ths, 1/8ths, adding/subtracting fractions, etc. He soaked in the procedures and techniques one after the other.
And...he had the best design insight of the day...
We had milled up all the sides of the toolbox to 3/4" thickness. Glenn picked up the pile of boards and said (paraphrasing) , "Is this how much it's going to weigh? I think it's going to be a little too heavy."
He was exactly right. After a few more passes through the thickness planer we were down to 9/16ths. The toolbox would now be more manageable, and it would have a much more refined look. Good call Glenn!
There are still a few things to finish (hinges and a small tool tray), but in a single day Glenn worked through a project from start to finish. He and I both left the shop feeling pretty good and with smiles on our faces. Down the road, I'll break out the PowerPoint and we'll get around to all of the details.