Canadian Woodworking

Kid’s working wood and a Newfoundland maker

Blog by Rob Brown
Evans workshop

In late March I wrote a column titled “Calling all (wood shop) kids!” putting out a call to find young Canadian woodworkers between 10 and 20 years old to contribute articles to our magazine. I was contacted by a few kids, though I was only able to get an article from one of them. Evan, a 13-year-old from Toronto, wrote an article about how to make a black walnut stool. It will run in an upcoming issue. You can learn more about Evan on his website,

I’d still like to connect with at least one or two more young writers before I start running these columns, because I want to make this column a regular feature in our publication. If you know a keen young woodworker who might be up for the task please have them contact me. I’m happy to talk to them about what it takes to be included in CW&HI. It’s a lot easier than most people think.

Making things, whether from wood, yarn, metal, recycled materials, etc., is becoming more popular every day. I think people are finding themselves less satisfied with sitting in front of a computer and want to use their hands to actually make something that’s not only useful but beautiful, all while having fun doing so. Having something to hold in your hands that you’ve made yourself is a great feeling. I’m hoping I can inspire more kids to take up woodworking by giving them an opportunity to publish an article about the things they’ve made out of wood.

Newfoundland maker

The other day I was contacted by Shannon Keats (, a maker from Newfoundland, who makes scroll saw art. Shannon lives and works in a tiny town called New Bonaventure, on the Atlantic, north of St. John’s. His work immediately reminded me of an article by Lesley de Abaitua in our current issue (Aug/Sept 2021) about how she makes scroll sawn and painted signs. Making signs can be a very simple process, or be taken to the next level. It’s sort of a “choose your own adventure” woodworking project that could be taken on by woodworkers of just about any skill level.

I remember one of my very first woodworking projects was a scrolled cedar sign for my dad, that simply read “DAD.” I still have it, even though my dad isn’t alive to see it anymore. Scroll sawing is a great point of entry to woodworking. Once someone sees how easy and fun it is to make a sign that can be enjoyed every day, they might want to purchase a few more woodworking tools to see what else they can do.

What I also liked about Shannon’s scroll saw work were a few teachers’ gifts he has on his Instagram account (@keatswoodworkinginc). It reminded me that it’s been six weeks since the end of school and my son has yet to do any work on his spoon for his teacher. In fact, I’m the only one who’s worked on it at all. Maybe that’s a project for today, as rain is threatening.

Back to making fun and simple signs…using a scroll saw is fun and relatively safe. A scroll saw isn’t overly expensive and will allow you to make intricate, curved cuts in wood. And since scroll saws might be the gateway drug to the greater world of woodworking, I’m sure many budding woodworkers will enjoy the hobby for the rest of their lives.

Evan’s Workshop

As of now, the only article written by a kid I’ve received is about this black walnut stool, made by Evan in Toronto. It’s a great article, but I’m hoping I can find more kids to write about a woodworking project they enjoyed making.

Evans workshop

Lesley de Abaitua

Lesley wrote an article for our current issue (Aug/Sept 2021) on how she makes scroll sawn signs. It’s a great primer on all the basics.

Lesley de Abaitua

My First Sign

I made this “DAD” sign more than 30 years ago, and still enjoy seeing it today. A scroll saw was the only machine needed.


“Best Teacher Ever”

Shannon Keats, from, made this box for a teacher as a thank-you gift.

best teacher ever

Customized Gift

Another scroll sawn teacher gift by Shannon Keats. A simple, customized gift like this will go a long way to thanking a teacher, or anyone for that matter.

customized gift
Last modified: May 15, 2022

Rob Brown - [email protected]

Rob is a studio furniture maker and the editor at Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement. Instagram at @RobBrownTeaches

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