…that my daughters are awesome.
Last night as I was cleaning up the shop I moved the workbench that I made for them to a spot that was more out in the open. They already play on it, but to encourage its use I also put a few tools on it for them to use. A square and pencil, some mallets and an old Stanley Handyman no.3 that I had restored some months ago. It wasn’t all that sharp to begin with but I had the blade fully retracted.
This morning my three year old daughter wandered into the shop while I was gluing up a panel for a shelf and she wanted to work alongside me so she went over to her bench and started playing around with scrap wood. It wasn’t long before I heard:
“I want to make shavings, Papa.”
“Grab some from my trash can and pretend” I said (preoccupied with the glue-up), but that answer wasn’t good enough. She wanted to make her own. She actually wanted to see her actions affect something. Good for her.
I tightened the clamps, wiped the hide glue off of my fingers and went over to her bench.
I gave her a piece of scrap pine to clamp up in her vise and helped her hold the plane correctly. We advanced the blade just enough and after one or two passes with my guidance and she was off. I watched her “work” and was stunned by just how well she did. She had good body position, and even though she wasn’t hogging off huge shavings her range of motion and attentiveness to the tool were astounding.
Soon my other daughter was there working with us too. I used it as an opportunity to talk about about not touching the sharp bits.
I think it’s important never push my girls to work with wood. I give them the tools, let them explore and help them when they ask. It’s impossible to know what interest they’ll have in woodworking as they grow, but it certainly was a wonderful way to spend some time before this morning.