By Page Burch
I recently went to the Color Wheel After School Art Studio in Decatur, Georgia during their Children's Woodworking Camp, where I spoke to a group of children ranging from six to nine years old about being a woodworker.
I wasn't really sure what to expect from a group this young and I was pretty nervous about it! I must say though, when I got there I was quite impressed. They were in the process of building small wagons and had just finished making small catapults. More impressive still, they were doing it with traditional hand tools. I had expected these kids to believe a plane was something you fly in and that a rabbet was nothing more than an animal. But, here they were using handsaws, bit braces, and eggbeater drills with ease! It was very refreshing to see that Color Wheel was teaching traditional woodworking to children.
I spoke for almost an hour and was quite happy that the children stayed pretty attentive. It was nice to see how simple, fun projects had piqued their interest in woodworking. I explained to them that there was much more to woodworking than they had yet seen and that every bit could be as fun and rewarding. I told them a little about traditional woodworking and tools and how modern technology has shaped woodworking today. The real fun began when I explained to them that I made skateboards and gave them a couple of decks to pass around. Kids and skateboards are a natural fit, so I really enjoyed detailing the whole process to them. They listened attentively to the process from tree to deck to finishing and asked a lot of questions. Much to my surprise they really enjoyed listening to me talk about finishing. Most woodworkers know this is an abominable subject, but I guess they were too young to know better.
The hour at Color Wheel was very fun and the children kept me on my toes, especially with their questions. I was glad to see how enthusiastic they were about woodworking and really commend the Color Wheel staff for making such excellent choices in projects for the children. I would very much recommend their program to anyone interested in starting their children in woodworking and I hope to go back and have more fun with them sometime!