Abe and Me (1)I don’t know if anyone else noticed, but at the Baltimore Woodworking Show this past weekend I didn’t see but a handful of children. This was so last year as well. In fact, ten years ago there were children at the shows on Saturdays and Sundays. Not so in general any more.

PICT0012 6Now the show organizers are not in the least to blame for this because they offer free admission to children under 16 when attending with a paying adult, so it is concerning to me as to why children and indeed young people under 25 years of age are such a scarcity at venues like the woodworking shows.

CB12So, once again (this was the same concern I had last year too), I wondered if we could turn this thing around and so I am calling on anyone coming along to the Springfield MA Show this upcoming weekend to bring along their sons, daughters, grandsons and granddaughters. If you can make this happen on Saturday I will dedicate my 2pm demonstration to woodworking with children and show  you how I trained my boys in the art. We have to get kids back into the home woodshop and on into training as craftsmen and women for adult work and it starts with us inviting them into our world of working wood. Will you do that? Will you come to the show fired up and bring them along to my booth at 2pm? Will you come along whether they are with you or not too? I will show you the first important steps to sparking their interests in woodworking and then how to sustain their interests as they grow in their love of woodworking.

11 Comments

  1. Eric Potter on 9 January 2013 at 3:05 pm

    As one of the few Baltimore attendees with children in tow last Saturday (and last year), I really love the free admission under 16. Makes it much more attractive as a family outing.

    It may be a self-perpetuating problem, but it’s obviously tied in a lot to the industrialization/mechanization of home woodworking. Children like to do things. I’ve noticed that my children will get very interested in demonstrations like Paul’s, or watching someone turning, or trying out the saws at the leevalley booth, or even watching someone cutting some artistry on the band saw. Basically there’s interest where someone is showing how to do and create. But 80+% of the Baltimore show is just vendors selling sandpaper and the latest router bits. Which is boring to me even when I’m looking for something.

    If someone following Paul on here and attending the Springfield show could video the 2pm presentation about children, then share, that would be awesome. Steve Branam, are you out there?



  2. Ed on 9 January 2013 at 4:03 pm

    If it turns out that you give a session on woodworking with children, would the show allow you to record it and add it to your youtube collection? It might help many people at home who do not attend the shows. I try to engage my 9 yr old daughter at home (and she’s interested!), but confess to being afraid of handing her a sharp chisel so things are stalled at the spokeshave.



    • Paul Sellers on 9 January 2013 at 5:19 pm

      Great, and we will do what we can to video. If we don’t we will do one from the shop.



  3. McGlynnOnMaking on 9 January 2013 at 5:37 pm

    My 12 year old works with me in the shop. He and I went to WIA together and he had a great time.

    The guys at the Lie-Nielsen booth were amazing, and spent a lot of time with him showing him how to plane and sharpen and adjust.



    • Eric Potter on 9 January 2013 at 6:00 pm

      That’s awesome. I love the balloon text, as that’s what’s written all over his face.



  4. Scott Smith on 10 January 2013 at 1:26 am

    That would be so helpful to have a video on ways to introduce kids to woodworking. I have 4 nephews I would love to spend some quality time with working wood. I took yourv three part intro course in N.Y. But that obviously too advanced for them. If you can’t tape at the show maybe make one at your studio? Either way I hope to see you in Sommerset. Scott Smith



  5. jmpurser on 10 January 2013 at 4:46 pm

    I know you’ve got a lot on your plate BUT….

    Sign me up with the people who’d like a video of your “Introducing Children to Real Woodworking” video! My girlfriend’s grand kids love to do “real” stuff with grownups like cooking, gardening, tending the chickens, etc. and they are encouraged to do so. I think woodworking with hand tools (no painful noise levels and flying dust) would be very attractive to them as well.



  6. Paul Sellers on 10 January 2013 at 6:24 pm

    I think it is up to us to make up the difference and I know it is difficult if you don’t have the skills and knowledge. That’s why we started the online broadcast workshops to encourage and train people to retake control.



  7. Paul Sellers on 10 January 2013 at 10:23 pm

    Great, Mark.
    It will be good to see you if you make it. Please stop by and have a chat if you do. It’s always good to talk to fello woodworkers.



  8. Paul Sellers on 14 January 2013 at 2:59 pm

    Amen to that!



  9. J Guengerich on 14 January 2013 at 8:33 pm

    A couple of months ago I saw an ad on CL for a woodworking class that emphasizes hand tools but many electric tools are available too (band saw but no table saw, some scroll saws, a mid size lathe, and a jointer which I’ve never seen used). This is at a middle school classroom. There are pictures all around the classroom of what the kids are making in school and they are allowed to come to the night classes if a parent accompanies them.
    They put me to shame with a coping saw and they looked at me funny the first time I tried to use the hand powered miter saws.



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