Kids' Building Workshop

Kids' Building Workshop

15 Woodworking Projects for Kids and Parents to Build Together

by Barbara Robertson, Craig Robertson
Publisher: Storey Publishing
Trade Paperback, 144 pages
Price: $14.95

The best way to keep kids safe isn't to hide the power tools--it's to show them how to properly use those tools. This is the premise of J. Craig and Barbara Robertson in The Kids' Building Workshop, in which they teach basic carpentry to children and their parents. Without the opportunity to handle tools and build things, kids' imaginations can't grow in certain essential ways, and in later life when such skills are genuinely useful they'll be at a loss every time they need to put up a fence or fix a chair.

From a decorated sawhorse to a puppet theater to a very attractive table, fifteen projects are clearly and thoroughly presented, each with plenty of black and white photographs, drawings and building plans. Some are more useful than others--the birdhouse and "book house" actually serve a purpose, for instance, as opposed to the string art template (which is just fun)--but all of them require specific woodworking skills and tools that will require kids to become comfortable in a variety of situations, not just hammering nails and sawing boards.

Parents already proficient in carpentry will probably want to skip the first 40 pages, in which the Robertsons describe and illustrate the proper use of a variety of hand and power tools. The emphasis on safety and the need for precision are good reminders for anyone, but if you've used a hammer before you won't need this book to tell you how to teach your kids to use one (and even if you haven't, you can figure it out). It is the projects themselves that make this book particularly useful, however, as you guide your kids to familiarity and proficiency in the all-too-often neglected art of woodworking.

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