What makes a great tool set for kids?
Well that depends on what your child is into but if you’re reading this then it’s probably woodworking - yay!
In my experience running children’s woodworking courses at Ash & Co Workshops - any child getting into woodworking is going to want to:
- Hammer something - either a dowel or a nail
- Drill a hole
- Cut the wood
- Shape the wood somehow (they’re not keen on sanding for the most part!)
So let’s build a tool kit that matters based on that.
- Hammer something - A great option here is a stubby claw hammer. You can hammer in big and small nails and use the claw to pull them out again. Perfect
- Drill a hole - These days small power drills are so readily available, you can buy a good quality small cordless screwdriver for around £30. They’re not too powerful, easy to hold and drill small holes and screw screws in. What a fab present for any child. Sure, they need to be supervised but they will LOVE it.
If you don’t fancy that, then you can buy a ‘bit and brace’ which is a hand held drill - they’re tricky to use though and kids often lose interest so I’d suggest the power option. In the workshop, kids as young as five use our power drills with me holding the drill at all times. They LOVE it.
- Saw the wood - steer clear of power saws and go for something with fine teeth as they’re easier to get started in the wood when you’re a beginner - one like this is cheap and perfect for the job - it’ll stand up to some abuse too which is what you need.
- Shape the wood - There’s three perfect tools for this - all of them low-cost. First is a rasp - it’s just a roughed up piece of metal on a stick but it’s a great way to remove material quickly and easy for kids to get into.
Second up is a file. When they’ve removed the material with a rasp - they can smooth it down with a file. Simples.
Third is a spoke shave - basically a blade with a handle on either side that ‘shaves’ off small amounts of wood. Now this is my favourite. Yes, of course it’s sharp and if you run your finger down the blade you’ll have a nasty cut but under supervision, they are a great way to shape lovely curves and rounded edges in seconds.
Of course you’ll want to add some other bits and bobs to that, namely - a tool bag, some safety specs, a ruler, a pencil and probably some hand held stubby screwdrivers. To make it amazing though, you’d be wise to add some panel pins (nails), wood screws, wood glue, an engineers square, masking tape and of course - some wood!
Wood wise, start with a balsa wood pack if they’re young (4-8), then move on to pine once they’ve mastered some of the tools. Mix that with a slightly unhealthy dose of YouTube watching for inspiration and away you go! Make a robot, a toolbox, anything they want - after all, you’ve got all the tools you need now!