Canadian Woodworking

Wanted: shop kids

Blog by Rob Brown
recipe box

Over the past couple of years, I’ve been trying to bring more youth into our print pages. In every other issue (or so) we’ve run projects made by kids between the ages of 10 and 18 years old.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve been trying to bring more youth into our print pages. In every other issue (or so) we’ve run projects made by kids between the ages of 10 and 18 years old. The projects are always good challenges for kids, but they can certainly be interesting for adults to build. We’re not talking about making toy trucks or simple games that only a child could enjoy using. The list of projects we’ve featured include a recipe box (coming out shortly in our Dec/Jan 2023 issue), a step stool and a coat rack, to name a few.

I’ve had fun working with the kids to edit the articles and get their work into our pages, but it hasn’t been without its challenges. For starters, it’s been hard to find kids who want to build a project, take photos of the build and then write it all up afterwards. Thankfully, I have two kids, aged 11 and 13, who between them enjoy spending time in the shop and can write up the article afterwards. I take the photos as we go. I can only push them so hard before they want to stop working; I find short sessions are the answer, and the thought of getting paid $50 each for their efforts — which is what we pay other kids who have written articles for this section — sure sweetens the deal.

Recipe Box

This is a recipe box my kids made recently. It will be featured in our Dec/Jan 2023 issue, which will be showing up in mailboxes and newsstands in the next week or so.

recipe box

Good Fit

Here, my son fits the tenon of one of the recipe box’s sides to fit into the mating groove

Good Fit

Rustic Coat Tree

This is the rustic coat tree project we ran in our print issue a few months ago. Simon Keene, a skilled young Canadian woodworker, built the project and wrote up the article.

Rustic Coat Tree

Keep It Straight

Here, Simon shows you how he keeps the handsaw perpendicular to the workpiece while making the base of the coat tree.

keep it straight

Any other woodworking kids out there?

I don’t want to turn “Kids’ Corner” into “Rob Brown’s Kids” show. I’m sure there are many other young woodworkers out there who would love the chance to tackle a fun project, take some photos during the build and write up an article afterwards. When I think about it, there are a lot of skills involved in making an article. The building is only a small part of it. Taking photos is something everyone thinks they can do, but getting good photos that are clear, well-lit and tell a story about how a technique is performed isn’t easy. And writing a step-by-step article describing how to build a woodworking project can be a challenge for many adults, never mind many young people.

If you know of anyone who might like the challenge of having a woodworking article published please have them contact me. I’m always happy to work with them to give them tips on all the aspects of getting their work in print. And the chance to earn some money while doing so is sure to put a smile on any kid’s face.

Gone to the birds

Speaking of kids working wood, I’ve been talking with some of the organizers of the Canadian National Wildfowl Carving and Wood Art Competition, and they mentioned they received an entry from a young Canadian carver for their last show. Birds are obviously a serious challenge to carve, and for a less experienced carver to tackle a project like this is very impressive. The result is one I’d be exceptionally happy with, and I’ve been working wood for about twice as long as this entrant has been alive.

The carved head of the bird is especially incredible. To form a three-dimensional object like a bird’s head, with all its hills and valleys, and to make it look natural, is an impressive skill.

I did actually carve a loon when I was about 17 years old. I started with an example to work from, and it still looked questionable when I was done. I wish I still had it so I could share a photo of it. It was good for a first try, but it still lacked a whole lot. Carving in the round takes a lot of practice and skill. We’ll be including many of the award-winning carvings from the show in our Feb/Mar 2023 issue, but for now I’ll include one of the more impressive carvings here

Young Carver

This is a carved waterfowl made by a young Canadian carver that was entered in the recent Canadian National Wildfowl Carving and Wood Art Competition. The head shows great shape with lots of intricate details.

carved mallard

Incredible Carving

Just one of the many wonderfully carved birds in the show, this semi-palmated plover was carved by Jim Edsall, from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

Incredible Carving
Last modified: November 10, 2022

Rob Brown - [email protected]

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

1 comment

  1. I wish my daughter had been able to document her school project this year. She made a beautiful cutting board out of western maple and black walnut.
    Maybe we will try our hands at making the recipe box with some fir scraps or possibly milling down a small round of maple I took from a felled tree in our neighbourhood.
    She could be a regular feature in the future if the wood bug bites her at 12. She’s already a talented artist and shows an aptitude for woodwork.

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