My older son has been running out of place for his books in his bedroom, so when he got a brand new, hard bound edition of Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stonefor Christmas he decided it was time to build a bookcase. I don’t remember now if it was his idea or mine that he design it himself, but using his sister’s a model, he drew up blueprints for two different styles of bookcases, complete with measurements and exploded diagramming of parts (I didn’t teach him that–where did he get that from?).
Finally he selected the design he preferred, and we bought materials. He would have wanted to get started right away, but that was a busy saturday, and we had to wait until the following week. But the next Saturday we got going after breakfast. Fortunately it was a sunny day, as it was cold enough as was in the garage.
First we cut the boards to length, cut the embelishments, and then routed grooves in the side pieces for the shelves to fit into. Then we used a different router bit to shape the edges and make a fancier look to them. Next we sanded all the pieces, and finally we assembled them all. It turned out pretty good.
More importantly it was a good experience for Walter–and for me. He was able to handle the router on some of the cuts, ran the sander quite a bit, and drove in most of the screws. He got to help take his own idea from concept to finished product, and he was pretty excited. We got to
work together on something that we could both be proud of. I’m more proud of him, though. I expected to end up doing most of the work alone, but he stuck with it the entire project.He also handled it well when we had our obligatory goofs.
It was certainly a memorable experience for both of us, and created a bond. The next day walking to and from church he wanted to hold my hand. That’s pretty big for the dad of an eight-year-old. I figured those days were long gone already. Something like this makes me think that perhaps I’m doing something right.
I had a lot more fun than I expected, too. It was good to have an assistant who could help with some of the things I usually have to work around. I enjoyed explaining things and teaching him how the tools worked. I’ve resolved to spend more time with my kids, and I’d have to count this attempt as a success.
Of course he’s already planning our next project for this summer–a four-foot catapult for use outdoors. If we can make that one turn out well, I’ll be “in” for at least a month!