When I first searched for woodworking projects it didn't take long to realize that there's an abundance of projects available. The difficult part is figuring out how to put it all together in an order that teaches rather than overwhelms!
We have been implementing Charlotte Mason's philosophies in our homeschool this year. Part of that method encourages working with handicrafts on a regular basis. We’ve never really focused on them before, at least not as structured lessons. I know how to knit, crochet, and sew and have tried to include Princess Dork in these activities whenever possible. She is, however, more of the chain mail making type.
Nerdlet is very interested in woodworking so I’ve put together a few projects to complete this year. Since I am not particularly handy with power tools and more apt to chop off a finger than complete an actual project, I’ll leave all of this fabulous woodworking to Nerdy!
Before we even begin handling tools and lumber I felt it necessary to at least become familiar with the tools, their uses, and the techniques mentioned in the project instructions. Nerdy probably won't need any of this, but since I may have to step in and help with these projects from time to time I figured a bit of learning was in order.
If you're already familiar with all the things involved in making stuff from wood you can totally skip this part!
- Popular Woodworking Magazine has a nifty little handbook called I Can Do That which will teach you all about tools, techniques, and materials. It's in PDF format so you can even print it out if you're so inclined.
- Here's a nice article about woodshop safety from Woodshop for Kids (who sells what looks to be a nice woodshop course book for kids as well - I haven't used it though).
- Finally, here's a list of basic hand tools that you should have access to.
Now, if you're anything like me you looked at that list of basic hand tools and thought, this is going to cost me a fortune! I personally didn't want to spend a fortune on tools for a six-year-old who may, or may not, even care about woodworking in 3 months!
So, instead of buying everything that's listed, find the projects that you'll be working on, make a list of tools that are needed for those projects, and then buy what you need.
Here are some tips to help you build your tool and materials stash.
- Only buy what you need to complete the projects that you know you'll be working on. While a rasp might be listed as a basic woodworking tool, if you don't need it to build the birdhouse you've picked out then don't buy it!
- Yard sales are a great place to find tools, particularly estate type yard sales. If you're lucky enough to have an estate sale auction nearby you can often pick up entire boxes of tools for a few dollars.
- If you have a source for free pallets go pick up a few and take them apart. Old pallets are a great source of free lumber. (P.S. I strongly recommend a Sawzall for taking these things apart.)
- Do you have a cabinet shop or other builder's shop nearby? If so, ask them if you can raid their scrap pile. You may find some gems you can use to complete your projects.
- The same goes for a building site. Stop by at quitting time and see if they have some scraps you can take home.
Now that we have all of that out of the way, on to the projects!!
You'll notice that I kept things pretty simple and I didn't choose a whole boatload of projects. I wanted to keep things realistic and try to finish what we have planned. I can always add to these later.
Wooden Robot Buddy
Seriously, how stinking cute is this thing!? Adventure in a Box hit the jackpot with this one!
You just can’t have a kid’s woodworking course without a birdhouse! This one from 100 Things 2 Do includes lots of photos and instructions.
Bookend with Letter
Can never have enough bookends in this house! Nerdlet actually needs a set for his dresser, so these will work perfectly! So cute and simple, from Pretty Handy Girl.
Fruit & Veggie Baskets
Ok, ok, this one is a little selfish on my part! I love this thing! With a bit of paint and distressing it will be beautiful! Believe it or not, it looks super easy to put together. I think they can handle it!!
Since it's from Instructables, you can download a PDF version of the plans and print them out!
Homemade Candy Dispenser
This is probably the most advanced project of the list so we’ll save this one for last after he’s had some experience with the tools. From Boy's Life.
Looking for a woodworking course that is a little more put together and easy to follow? No problem! Here are a few to choose from.
Woodshop 101 for Kids is written as a woodworking curriculum for your kids, it's not just another book that has woodworking projects for kids. Each lesson is laid out step by step so it's easy to understand. You only need simple hand tools to build every project in the book. This is much safer than using power tools and allows younger kids to get involved.
Woodshop for Kids has you everything you’ll need to know to get kids (ages 4-12) started using real tools to build real projects. Safety, tools, wood, measuring, hammering, nails and screws are discussed. Included are many tricks gleaned from Jack’s 15 plus years of helping kids build with wood. Construction details for 52 projects are given.
The Kid's Building Workshop book. This kid-friendly guide covers the essentials of carpentry, including the proper way to drive a nail, the safe way to drill a hole, and the importance of measuring. You’ll be amazed at how fast your miniature carpenter acquires the skills to complete 15 projects.