This weekend I worked with my youngest son on projects for his Craftsman badge in the Mental Skills series. (Unfortunately his brother is sick and couldn't join us.) While I am - if I do say so myself - pretty patient and very handy with tools, my boy is – well let’s just say he was a very excited 9-year-old who had his own hammer. He was very disappointed when I informed him the first step in building his first project was reading his Webelos book.
After he read the entire Craftsman section of his book, my son and I sat down and discussed a few different ideas for projects to build; we settled on a measuring cup & spoon rack, a set of horizontal shelves and a pair of half-moon shelves. He sketched out the plans for each project and I helped him figure out how to determine what the dimensions of each finished piece should be. Once we had the plans fully drawn, we descended into the recesses of the basement to gather our materials and tools.
Armed with wood, wood glue, nails, hammers and a lovely assortment of power tools, my son and I began work on a saw horse. We didn’t already have one and would need one so I figured a saw horse would be a good “practice piece” for him to hammer on. (Incidentally, building a saw horse is a requirement for the Handyman badge. Good thing I took pictures of him working on it!) He bent a few nails and split a piece or two of scrap wood but overall he did a pretty good job and we now have a sawhorse.
My son measured each piece of wood he needed – twice – and marked what needed to be cut. He learned how to safely use a jigsaw (he wasn’t happy about being allowed to actually use the saw) and tricks for not filling pilot holes with paint. I learned its okay to relax (a little) when he’s swinging a hammer. We didn’t get all the projects finished but we did make great headway. He has one rack which is beautifully painted a soft, buttery yellow (I’m kind of hoping that’s my Christmas present) and needs only hooks and he has a nice shelf set which is finished and just needs to be painted. We didn’t get to the smaller pair of shelves but I’m sure that will be happening soon enough.
I am really proud of my boy for his enthusiasm and his willingness to give up a Saturday afternoon with his friends to work on his Scouting requirements. He worked hard and did a great job! I hate to say it but I think he’s growing up despite my best efforts to keep him from doing so.
Connor, if you’re reading this, mom loves you and I couldn’t be more proud of you!