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Setting Up a Wood Shop for Kids

A Kids' Wood Shop

Setting Up a Beginner's Wood Shop

Here are ten inexpensive items to equip budding woodworkers.

1. Balsa wood assortments: Balsa wood is the easiest wood to work with and, though very soft and lightweight, it is perfectly adequate for many small projects. It comes in board-shaped "sheets," rods, and blocks. It can be cut with a craft knife or small hand saw.Economical bags of assorted balsa pieces are great for kids who don't know yet what they want to make. Balsa wood is available at craft and hardware stores and online.

2. Woodsies: Assorted flat wood shapes, such as teardrops, triangles, and ellipses. These are great for adding decorative touches to projects. They're available at craft stores.

3. Brads: These small nails can add strength to glued joints.

4. Glue: There is special wood glue, but regular white glue seems to work fine.

5. Saw and/or craft knife: Balsa wood can be cut with a craft knife (such as X-acto®), or a box cutter, but the thicker sheets take a long time to cut that way. A small hand saw (with fine teeth and a blade about six inches long) makes straighter cuts and works more quickly. The craft knife is good for cutting curved shapes out of thin wood sheets. This is obviously the most dangerous tool in the shop, so supervise older children, teach them safe cutting techniques, and do the cutting if you feel your child isn't ready to do it safely.

6. Hammer: Not strictly necessary for getting the brads through balsa wood, but you feel like a woodworker using it.

7. Tape Measure - the retractable metal kind, not the cloth kind.

8. Small carpenter's square for measuring, drawing straight edges, and creating ninety-degree angles. A ruler will work well in a pinch.

9. Sandpaper: Light sanding with sandpaper of around 320-grit makes a tremendous difference in the quality of the finished product. With Balsa wood you can even use sand paper to shape and sculpt, for example, rounding sharp edges.

10. Acrylic craft paint for finishing: Those little two-ounce bottles go a long way, and I've found them on sale for less than fifty cents each.

 

 

 

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