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Thread: tool box/tools for 8 yr old

  1. #1
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    My nephew, 8, is interested in building things - his dad (my brother) occassionally takes a day off to work with him on a project.

    I'd like to get him his own tool box for Christmas, and some tools to boot. What would be appropriate for a guy his age? His dad is fairly handy and has lots of tools - primarily power, but I'd like him to start his own collection.

    Your help is much appreciated.

  2. #2
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    It doesn't really take that much...my father gave me a tool kit when I was about 5 or 6 and the key things, as I recall, were:

    1. A small hammer.

    2. An egg-beater drill with a few drill bits.

    3. A small back saw.

  3. #3
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    a small try-square is nice, some pencils, a pair of pliers, a couple of screw drivers.

  4. #4
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    I like the pevious suggestions, but dont make the hammer too small, it's got to be heavy enough to actually work.

  5. #5
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    I hammer I had was a proper claw hammer, but it would probably be classed as a large tack hammer, and as I recall it worked just fine for me (for a few years until I was old enough to use my Father's tools). At age 8 I was usually not trying to pound in 16d nails! I'd guess that most of what I was doing called for 4d and smaller nails.

  6. #6
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    A small tape measure would be fun. And maybe a nail apron like from Home Depot as a place to put his stuff while he's working.

  7. #7
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    coping saw

  8. #8
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    Lee Valley has tools, and safety equipment in kid's sizes.Never too early for safety.

  9. #9
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    I buy my grad-kids a 16 oz hamper for 3year XMas and saw at 4 and tool box at 5. The 16 oz is easier for them to actualy pound nails. You must help them aim however. I'm considering a small battery electric drill for 6 year old grand-daughters Xmas this year. She's really into tools and building.

  10. #10
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    Lee Valley's Pocket Hammer. 7" handle, 6oz head, rounded edges on the claw. Great little tool for $10.50.

    <img src= "http://www.leevalley.com/images/item/gift/50k3701-dsp.jpg">

  11. #11
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    We got all the kids toolboxes for Christmas a few years ago. Each year they get a new tool or two. They've got tape measures, hammers, screwdrivers(4 in 1 type), pliers, combination squares. Haven't picked anything out for this year yet.
    When my late friend Norm Cote taught woodworking to total beginners the first project was an old fashioned tool tote. Basically an open wooden box with a piece of closet pole for a handle. But the sides angled out nicely. Some of them really came out beautiful. Some were a little rough. [img]smile.gif[/img] A fun present for a kid would be some tools and the materials for the toolbox and an IOU for a toolbox making lesson.

    Steven

  12. #12
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    My 4-year old is fascinated with the brace and bit. He likes the spiral chips.

    Remember this, however: give a kid a hammer, and suddenly everything looks like a nail.

  13. #13
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    Originally posted by Hughman:
    My 4-year old is fascinated with the brace and bit. He likes the spiral chips.
    I thought the brace looked pretty cool too as a kid, but the damn thing drove me nuts when I tried to use it...I probably didn't have the strength to turn it with the lead screw actually grabbing and the (likely somewhat dull) edge actually cutting, or for that matter the weight to push down to get the lead screw started.

    Remember this, however: give a kid a hammer, and suddenly everything looks like a nail.
    I'm told that one of my favorite activities as a kid was to be given a scrap of wood and a hammer and a box of nails...and you can guess what came next. Let's just say the piece of wood ended up a good bit heavier than it started and the box of nails ended up a good bit lighter!

  14. #14
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    Originally posted by Donn:
    Lee Valley's Pocket Hammer. 7" handle, 6oz head, rounded edges on the claw. Great little tool for $10.50.
    Actually, even for a kid I think I'd go for a hammer with a more normal length handle, if for no other reason than that it would be better for learning proper hammering techniques...

  15. #15
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    These kids sure liked the shop time [img]smile.gif[/img]



    Givem some scrap pieces and roofing nails , and small hammers , and then some water paint and you got treasures for your dresser Paul

  16. #16
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    My friend, Skip Elliott, "Elliott & Pattison Sailmakers", gave each of his sons a tool belt when they started crawling around the sail loft floor. Each belt had a full set of tools consiting of knives, scissors, spikes and needles. Both of Skip' sons are fully grown now. But neither of them ever cut or spiked themselves. I guess its the same as Eskimo kids getting a knife for a first toy. I started with saw, hammer and chisles plus a hurdy gurdy drill ,in my dads boat shop, at age four. I have never stopped working on wooden boats since that day. By all means give a kid real tools that really work and teach him how to use and appreciate them!
    JG

  17. #17
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    This is a great idea. Both of my sons hung around the boat shop with me starting around 5-years old. It was wonderful to have them there. They both became proficient with tools though they do not use them in their professions today. Here are some ideas for you:

    1. Kids can handle many tools from a fairly young age. I started my kids with a sharp hacksaw and western red cedar at about age 4. A saw like this can and will cut them but is not very dangerous. They had a lot of fun with their hacksaw and lightweight hammer.

    2. The next step was a short crosscut saw. Full size is too long for even most 8-year olds to handle. Make sure it is sharp so they do not have to work too hard or force it. Even crosscut teeth are a bit too coarse because children do not have the needed finesse or strength. I think 14-15 TPI, with plenty of set, would be perfect for children but never found such a saw without a back on it.

    3. One of the best uses I ever found for 'Harbor Freight Tools' was to fill up a toolbox full of them for my kids. Children can't put enough power into a screwdriver or wrench to damage them. So after a little tuning up, these relatively poor quality tools actually work fine for them (usually). I eventually added a well used but reasonable quality, block plane, 2 rubber-sanding blocks with 40-grit and 60-grit sandpaper, a round-over plane from my Grandfather, a good square and a tool belt (cut down to size).

    4. The first power tool I bought my kids was a hot glue gun. This combined with the hacksaw gave some pain sometimes but allowed them to build elaborately. I think tools should be used under at least general supervision but I didnít always stop the boys from hurting themselves. When misused tools cause a little pain, an extremely valuable lesson can be learned. So I usually wouldn't protect them from such errors (only console afterwards).

    5. I let my kids use vibrating sanders at about age 6 (1/4 sheet size). A lightweight saber saw with a sharp, fine tooth, metal cutting blade and the tip of the saw blade ground to a radius can be handled at about age 7.

    6. I did not let my kids use an electric drill or similar rotating power tools unless my hand was on it too. They are too heavy for them to control until they are 8 or 9 (and experienced) and clothes and cords can get wound up on them. I did allow them to use my brace with their bits and to use my eggbeater drill with their bits whenever they needed to. They need help getting the bits into these tools correctly at first.

    7. The first major tool for kids to use was always the band saw. This came at about age 6 or 7, after a few years with hand tools. The trick is to always lower the upper guides until they are just above the work. That way the blade cannot come out of the machine if it breaks (at least not my machine, better check yours). Also, little fingers can't get to the blade between the work and the guides. Once they learned this tool (my hands on theirs) I stood at their elbow whenever they used it until they were 11 or 12.

    8. My kids didn't learn to use a circular saw until age 13 and a table saw at 15. I always felt they were too risky, and too heavy to adequately control. They had been using tools for years at this point and really thought they could handle them earlier, but I thought the risk too high.

    9. I bought high quality safety glasses and fit them to my sons from the beginning. They were not allowed to even be in my shop without them. My father is blind in one eye from driving nails when he was 7-years old. A nail chip flew into his eye. I urge you all not to neglect this.

    10. Some tools young children should not use without a hand on theirs are power stapler and grinder.

    11. Some tools are O.K. to use but not to have for their own. For example, a chisel, scratch awl and so forth fall into this category because someone could fall on them.

    David Mancebo

  18. #18
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    A coping saw or a fretsaw is a good suggestion, patterns are available for a wide range of projects out of plywood or thin stock. I found that brief instruction and letting them learn by experience worked well for my kids.
    On a non woodworking theme I remember cracking off tight nuts on a motormower and letting the little fella wind them out and put them in the dish when he was about four years old.

  19. #19
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    My Grandad bought me a kitset saw horse which we both assembled, an eggbeater drill and bit set, a good hammer, a good saw.

  20. #20
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    Kids seem to enjoy using rasps.

  21. #21
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    A fair amount of the time, the holes kids need to drill will be small pilot holes for finish nails (once they discover that they need to drill such holes to keep the wood from splitting). Small drill bits are, as we all know, pretty darn easy to break if you are not careful. My Uncle, who taught woodworking classes for kids, came up with a clever solution, which was to substitute a small finish nail for the drill bit. In small sizes this works suprisingly well (in pine or other soft woods of course)...

  22. #22
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    I helped my 5 year old grand-daugther build a 8' MiniMost last spring, she had a great time and so did I. Her Xmas tool box last from last year got her thinking. So far she has a hammer, hand saw, amd tape. Thinking of getting her a small battery drill. She can handle her Moms now.

    Half way thru project she asked me when I was going to help her 2 year old brother build HIS boat, "he needs HIS OWN boat".

    Now my kids have said I started a new family tradition, when a grand-kid is 5 I get to help them built their first boat. Only two grand-kids now with one on way. Thats grad-kids from first daugther only, one more daugther and son with no kids yet! I could be busy for a long time.
    http://www.nwsca.com/minimost/john_pics2

    [ 12-04-2005, 10:00 AM: Message edited by: JohnPlatou ]

  23. #23
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    My Grandpa got me started when I was 5, in his workshop. The first thing I built was a tool box to hold the garage sale/ flea market tools Grandpa and I searched out together. I still have that tool box and tools 38 years later. Means more to me than nearly any other possesion.

    Eric

  24. #24
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    These are super ideas - and quite touching stories. I talked w/my young nephew (9 years) this morning and probed a bit about his interest in tools. I think he'd be into it if his dad could help out.

    Are plans available for a simple tool box or some other wooden "thing" that could be made with tools I could give him? In other words, is something out there that, with is Christmas tools, his dad's help and instructions, could be built by he and his dad? A tool box, etc?

    Thanks for all your replies - I am not a woodworker, altho I aspire to be. So please forgive the "innocence" in my questions.

    Thanks! - patito

  25. #25
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    Here is a generic plan for a toolbox I found somewhere along the way. I am not sure of it's copyright status...

    http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b4...w_measures.gif

  26. #26
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    A man I worked for in Condon, Oregon told me the story of a man during WW2 that went to the local hardware store and asked for a 1/4 pound of 4d common nails. Well the clerk questioned the man as to whether he needed that many nails, after all there was a war going on and we can't waste vital metals. the man told the clerk that his grandson was getting of a size to start learning to use a hammer and he thought it would be nice if the boy had some nails to drive. the clerk looked at the man and asked if a 1/4 pound would be enough.

    [ 12-05-2005, 07:45 PM: Message edited by: ssor ]

  27. #27
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    Boy this brings back memories. I got my first real tools for Christmas when I was 8 too. I still have some of them. I think there was a 13 oz. claw hammer, a 1/2" chisel, a copeing saw, square, an egg beater drill and a few bits, a Stanley Sureform block plane, a four-in-hand rasp, a couple of screwdrivers, a small crosscut saw, and maybe two or three c-clamps. It was the second best Christmas I remember. The best Christmas was when I was 12. I got a Skillsaw. [img]smile.gif[/img]

    Ken

  28. #28
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    I have a copy of a popular Mechanics " the Boy Mechanic" probably 1948 ed. Has several boat plans in it.

  29. #29
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    That's absoluuuuutely marvelous!!!!! [img]smile.gif[/img]

    Must be presentely about a billion small kids who would have loved to build that...and five more not so small who would have loved it too.... [img]smile.gif[/img]

    A set of their own tools is always great (and for girls too!)....but, to do that boat, there need a grand-dad too... [img]tongue.gif[/img]

    Just one word about the tools: quality! (I was so sad when my first tool kit prooved rubbish: saws that don't cut, screwdrivers that twist, hammer that get chips broken off and whose claws were unable to grab a nail....)

    I think that a good little battery powered drill is a better idea than a hand one, which is very difficult for kids....I both cases, a drill is just about as "interesting" as a hammer!

    [ 12-05-2005, 09:48 PM: Message edited by: Lucky Luke ]

  30. #30
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    Originally posted by Lucky Luke:
    I think that a good little battery powered drill is a better idea than a hand one, which is very difficult for kids....I both cases, a drill is just about as "interesting" as a hammer!
    You may be right, but it was 1958 when I got mine.

    Interesting that you posted that pic. The first boat I built, was a Minimax, very much like that one. It was 1960-61. That's right, it took me two summers working on my parents carport. It didn't look as good as that one but it was great and it was MINE. The next Christmas is when my Dad gave me the Skillsaw. He said it may make the next one go a little faster.

    Ken

  31. #31
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    Grand-daugther is presently helping me rebuild a 1960 Glasspar G3. I know its glass but will be really neat when we get thru. She getting good at using her Moms Porter Cable 9.6v drill, its a lot lighter than my Bosch 18v drill. Had 6th birthday last week.

    [ 12-05-2005, 11:37 PM: Message edited by: JohnPlatou ]

  32. #32
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    You want him to start out on a win.

    The easiest way to ensure this is to build him a kit project.

    For instance a toolbox or birdhouse with the difficult cuts done in advance.

    We found a 12 ounce hammer to be a good size for our younger kids and a useful tool on occassion once they were older.

    Howard

  33. #33
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    Boy, does this bring back memories at Christmas. When I was 5 years old, we were living in an apratment. My Dad died the year before, and our next door neighbor took over. I used to go down to his workshop and he would let me sort nails. It was a mentallity from the depression.

    Later, he taught me to straigten the nails. We would work together in a basement storage room set up as a small workshop. He would show me how to oil his fishing reels and watch him repair clocks, his hobby.

    On my 5th Christmas, he took my mothers storage room next to his and built me my own 3'x 5' workbench and got me some tools (used).

    Be sure to get real tools. A kid knows the differance.

    I am now almost 62 and would you believe, I still have that little workbench in my large workshop. And, yes, I still know the names of all the nails. So, get a nail chart for the wall.

  34. #34
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    When I was 9 my grandmother bought me a Sears toolbox and started buying real tools to fill it. I still have the box and many of those tools 50 years later. My daughter worked with us during vacations from school and when she went to college, she was the only one in her sorority house with a full-blown toolbox and battery drill kit - and she knew how to use them.
    We used to have "kids' night" in the shop where I would do the dangerous cutting or drilling and they would build great stuff. Try to find a copy of Richard Starr's "Woodworking with Kids". He has a lot of good ideas such as clamping the work down for them and having them wear leather gloves. You'll have as much fun as they do.

  35. #35
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    The key in building the 8' Minimost with my 5 year old grad-daugther was to involve her with material buying, carying wood, layout,tools getting, ROUGH cutting, (not fitting), and assemply and painting. In her eyes boat went very fast. ROUGH cut pieces were temporarly clamped in place so she could see her work. I carefully fit rough cut pieces after she left. We then glued and screwed finshed fited parts a the next session. The other key to hold interest was letting her brother and her sit in the shell of boat at end of each session, with steering and engine clamped on so they could better imagine there completed work. Work sessions were a max of 2 hours and usually 20 min to 1 hour. "15 Hour Boat" took almost 3 months!!!!

  36. #36
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    I got a small Warrington pattern cabinetmaker's hammer for my youngest, 'cause it was lightweight, and I had a use for it if he ever tired of it. Hasn't happened yet.

    He's now 7, and does well with his own eggbeater drill, coping saw, and sliding combination square. And he does well with one of my block planes too. I built a movable bench/box so that he can stand at my workbench, and plane at the right height.

    This Christmas, Nat will likely get a small Disston crosscut saw - a 22" panel saw will be about the right size. Lee Valley also has child-sized toolbelts.

  37. #37
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    Many thanks, guys. It's great to hear your stories.

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