I was contacted by an organization that works with kids who I had donated wooden toys for distribution at Christmas in 2017, 2019 and 2021. They asked if our Guild could do an event for them. I have learned to ask appropriate questions before making a commitment.

When – 4 days hence
Age of the children – 5 to 10
How many – 6 to 24
Length of time – 30 minutes

With these answers my initial response was 'no' ...

 However after some discussion it was agreed that I would try and put something together.

 Challenges were:
Short preparation time (could I find a Guild member to assist – I could not)
What type of demonstration(s)
It has to be flexible to accommodate an unknown audience size
We can't make anything given the 30 minute time frame

Three displays were created:

  1. A dozen scraps of wood of various sizes & species with a written label

  2. 8 projects with a document listing them and having the kids identify each

  3. A half dozen clamps and my benchtop bench (includes a Moxon vise) along with various scraps of wood

The projects included vehicles in various stages of being made, a wooden mallet turned on the lathe, a small bread board, toaster tongs, spaghetti gauge and an oven jack in the shape of a cat.

As a last minute thought I brought along a new roll of 1” wide blue painters tape as an example of a clamp. This was the most successful of the clamps as several pieces of wood were not so carefully wrapped in tape.

Fortunately the husband of the coordinator of the event came along and he readily agreed to be the clamp man as I was kept busy at the table with the other displays. Since the event was held at a gazebo in a small city park designed for kids there were several wooden benches for sitting on that were just the right height for work surfaces.

I arrived at the appointed hour and was set up and ready. Within minutes of the start time we were surrounded by close to two dozen children and their Mom or Dad. We were busy for an hour even through the lunch that was provided. A few boards and tools got a bit sticky but nothing long lasting.

A surprisingly successful event. The highlight was when I asked if the coordinator could give a presentation at our next Guild meeting about the day's activities and she readily agreed.

After recovering (I forget how much energy little people have) I went to the retirement community woodshop where I volunteer. A good decision as the temperature was heading into the low 100's for the afternoon and the woodshop is air conditioned.

On the way home it occurred to me that on this day I worked with members of our species ranging in age from 5 to 80. Woodworking for the ages.

Bill Tumbleson
Sunflower Woodworkers Guild
Wichita, KS