Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The First of my Grandkids to Hit The Shop

  It isn't Christmas, but it felt like it. At Christmas, though, there are so many little kids running around feeling up the Christmas tree, that my efforts are directed on mob control more than shop directions.  This summer, I was fortunate to get a one-on-one with a single nine-year-old grand daughter, who lives 200 miles away.  I asked if she'd like to learn to use the lathe in my shop. She thought a minute, looked at her mother, and grinned, saying 'Yes' very quietly.  I think I beamed.
   I offered her several kits I had available: a magnifying glass, pens, key rings, and a touch screen stylus. She chose the stylus, much to my surprise. Her mother said, "You do realize that only does what you already do with your finger, don't you?"  She laughed and said, "Yes, but it's so Cool!" and I said, "Stylus it is, then."
  So, with her mother fluttering like Henny Penny every time I introduced a machine to the girl,
we forged ahead. I used the radial arm saw while she watched, with safety glasses on. I shielded her bare arm from the spinning drill chuck.  I positioned her so her pigtails wouldn't swing into the headstock on the lathe. We adjusted the face shield to perfection.  I explained what a tool bevel was, showed her what was about to happen with the lathe spinning, and stood behind her to help control her first moves with a spindle roughing gouge.
  She took to it like a champ. She listened well, was cautious with all that was new to her (she had no problem with sanding; her dad is a remodeling contractor and she'd been in his shop) and did exactly what she was told. She was only distracted by the baby lizard that ventured inside the garage door to sunbathe on the concrete. Five minutes with that and we were back to turning.
  She is one of eight grandchildren, so far. The others want their turn, too, so the future is bright.
And I must say, there is nothing quite like the bursting pride a youngster shows when they've completed their own project.  Her mom wrote me after returning home, saying "Thank you for that. She's completely enamored with it."   And I with her.   It was a Great weekend!

Very First Turning