Christopher enjoying the hand drill
Chris and his dad in the Cottage Workshop
My Godson's 12th birthday is this weekend. Christopher, like most young boys I'm lucky enough to know, is a wonderful kid with a deep imagination and a desire to make and tinker with things. Earlier this year I brought him into the cottage workshop during a birthday party to show him a few of my hand tools. I let him use some hand planes, a spokeshave, a bit & brace and a hand drill. The hand drill was his favorite. It was really nice to have a little one-on-one time with him which I rarely get. His dad came in a bit later and joined in. I took some pictures and excused myself so they could have this experience to themselves and I made sure to keep the other little ones away from the cottage for a while. I had a similar experience with my own son last year during our yearly family cabin retreat. I can tell you that times like those are truly priceless.
This year for his birthday present I've decided to make something for him. At first I wanted to get him some tools to start out with. Nothing fancy, just enough to make some sawdust with . Then I thought he'd need a tool box to keep them in. Perhaps something he could also use as a saw bench. Of course the whole thing would have to be sturdy, built to last and look nice. So here's what I came up with...
I used southern yellow pine for the bench. By using dovetails for the joinery there's no worry about strength. I designed the top with a slit so he could saw into it with the boards supported on either side. Now that I think about it adding some holes may have been useful for pegs or bench dogs. I can add that in later. I used some oak ply for the tray with and some cherry for the edging and attached it to the bench with pocket screws. I finished the whole thing with boiled linseed oil which I think makes the pine look fantastic.
I went to Harbor Freight and found some basic tools for the tool tray. As much as I wanted to include
a hand plane or a spoke shave I decided against any razor sharp instruments. I did find a decent miter saw which cut a bit slow but left a respectable finish and was easy to start. I also got a couple hand screws, corner clamp, a small 8oz. hammer and some drill bits for the old hand drill he was so fond of.
I think it's great to teach woodworking to others and to make something nice in the process. But sometimes making great memories is what it's all about.
As always, you can see the rest of the construction pictures on my flickr page.