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Woodshop for Kids: 52 Woodworking Projects Kids Can Build Review by Stephanie D. Scarborough

Jack McKee
IllustratorRusty Keeler
Hands On Books
1117 Lenora Court
Bellingham, WA 98225

When I saw the Woodshop for Kids book, I was titillated with the possibilities. My husband is very accomplished in his home workshop. He has designed, drawn, and built things for many, including me, the woodshop clueless client. The challenges I present as I conceive and describe what I want are, when he is finished, always 100% more than I could have dreamed.

Now, if you're wondering why I wanted this book so bad, my husband doesn't teach unless I lay out for him exactly what to do, which is hard since I don't know much about woodshop projects. This book has combined a love for teaching and a love for woodworking for us. It also has the perfect number of projects for him to do one every week. I'm already imagining my long naps.

Before starting that nap of mine, I like knowing that safety has already been dealt with. Thus, I won't be awakened by a scream and a trip to the emergency room. Mr. McKee has included the use only of tools appropriate for children. Moreover, he has also included ideas for finding free wood for budget-minded individuals.

The book has methods to allow the children practice using the tools before diving into the projects. I can, however, hear my children saying, "When are we going to make something?" Consequently, they will be learning the character trait of patience.

The projects are engaging to children who have grown up in a technology-driven world. The simplicity is reminiscent of toys I've seen only in pictures and books. A few of the toys are puzzles, wooden airplanes, boats, and hovercrafts. There are games: ticktacktoe, personal ping-pong, and marble rolls. For the movers and shakers there are stilts, and for the animal lovers, a bird feeder. My personal favorites are gift projects that will become treasures we will put in our memory boxes to show our grandchildren.

The tool lists include suggestions about what to buy and what to avoid, such as very cheap tools. Moreover, my husband appreciates the fact that caring for tools is emphasized. Tools can break, but there is nothing more frustrating than a broken tool due to misuse. I can relate this to my sewing scissors that would be ruined if used on paper.

The wonder of this book is that I could even use it with my limited woodshop and tool experience, but I think I'll leave it to the "experts" and go "saw some zzzzzs" in my cozy chair. Later, I'll awaken to priceless treasures formed by my children and memories of times with their talented dad.

Product review by Stephanie D. Scarborough, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, August 2006