What age 2 begin working with powertools?

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Forum topic by kidi posted 10-04-2009 05:34 PM 1756 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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15 posts in 3477 days

10-04-2009 05:34 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question resource sanding joining milling

I am starting a project with a student of mine and we are building a drum. He is in 7th grade and I know I can trust him with using a table saw and other tools, but at what age do most of you start giving supervised use of big power-tools? I know that in the tech. classes where a teach (5-8 middle school, I teach music) they only using sanders, scrollsaws and occasionally the bandsaw. What are your thoughts on what would be possible to use in a setting such as this?

-- paul,

9 replies so far

View dusty2's profile


323 posts in 3694 days

#1 posted 10-04-2009 06:59 PM

Never too young to start learning and never too young or old to get seriously injured! The question is really how much skill must one have to be able to work safely around that equipment. I believe the table saw is probably one of the less dangerous because the blade is easily seen. The jointer, planer, band saw, scroll and power sanders can all do serious damage but they do not appear to be all that dangerous. It is this false impression that they leave that makes them so hazardous.

Seventh grade is NOT too young so long as the student has been properly and adequately trained in the procedures and the hazards.

-- Making Sawdust Safely

View papadan's profile


3584 posts in 3633 days

#2 posted 10-04-2009 07:09 PM

You really have to judge thier maturity, more than age. I have a 10 year old nephew that I can teach and trust more than my 12 yo grandson.

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4389 days

#3 posted 10-05-2009 01:34 AM

I recently helped my developmentally disabled brother in law build a bird-house. He’s somewhere between two and four mentally, so I had to set up the cuts, but I felt comfortable letting him push the saw on the rail.

I’m also mentoring a 10 and 8 year old, and I’m with notottoman, I’d teach ‘em hand tools first, but I’ve thought about doing some simple boat building with them and I’d let them use a drill or jigsaw with supervision. I’d wait on most stationary tools, though, and would only use a circular saw if it were plunge type on a rail.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View littlecope's profile


3072 posts in 3766 days

#4 posted 10-05-2009 02:32 PM

I took shop all 4 years of high school but gravitated towards Drafting. The first year, however, was an introduction to shop, where we spent a semester in each of the departments: Electronics, Automotive, Metal, and Wood Shop. We all looked forward to Wood Shop! We’d get to make something cool, maybe even score some points with our Mom’s!
Anyway, our first day in Woodworking the instructor was a few minutes late. He came in and apologized, explaining that he had had to go up to the Math department to get some paper because we were going to start class with a Quiz. Of course, we all groaned at that…He went to the head of the class and opened up the huge tool cabinet and said that he was going to point to tools and we were to write on the paper what those tools were… 25 tools later, he gathered our test papers, looked at them briefly, and threw them in the waste paper basket!!!
He then sat on the edge of his desk and said, “You’re probably wondering what that was all about…Let me tell you a little story…” He proceeded to tell us that when he first started teaching there was a day when they were assembling a small table on the table saw and he sent one of the students to get him a hammer out of the cabinet. Minutes passed, and he went to see what had become of the student… He found him in front of the tool cabinet staring blankly at all the tools…a Senior in high school and he didn’t know what a hammer was!! We all laughed, ha-ha! What a Dumbass!! But the teacher continued, saying that was his first reaction too, how could anybody reach that age and not know?! But it turned out, this kid was one of the smartest in the school, indeed he was class president. The thing was he came from a very affluent family and they just didn’t have need for those sorts of things, in short, he had no experience. There was a time for each and every one of us when we were ignorant of the simplest things too, but Ignorance is NOT Stupidity! He said that it had been he who had been stupid, assuming that common knowledge is universally common, so he liked to give each new class that little quiz, to see if there were any problems like that…Our class looked good so we could now get to work…
From this time and distance I don’t even remember that teacher’s name, but I’ve never forgotten that lesson…:)

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3992 days

#5 posted 10-05-2009 06:19 PM

remember that most power tools are meant to be used by people of a certain height. If you are much shorter, that can cause issues. even using a stool is tricky, because now you’ve lost your mobility.

View Abbott's profile


2570 posts in 3568 days

#6 posted 10-05-2009 06:59 PM

About 12 with hand tools and power sanders. I start them slow and let them get some experience with sanders and drills before letting them move on to saws and routers. I started using a Skillsaw at about 15 with one or two close calls so I am still a bit afraid of turning kids loose with a circular saw until I have seen them pick up some tool experience with my own eyes. Then I watch them like a hawk. I will let them make a few cuts on the table saw as it is a bit safer but only if I am standing right there to supervise.

-- Ohh mann...pancakes and boobies...I'll bet that's what Heaven is like! ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

View Broda's profile


313 posts in 3783 days

#7 posted 10-06-2009 03:28 AM

have a look at this thread

-- BRODY. NSW AUSTRALIA -arguments with turnings are rarely productive-

View captkerk's profile


170 posts in 3506 days

#8 posted 10-06-2009 04:14 AM

I have four small kids; 5, 3, 2 and newborn. The three older kids have “helped” me in the shop by holding stuff, but I have also let some of them drive screws, brad nail, and drill holes with a hand drill and the drill press. They all get close supervision and it’s debatable how much of the work they are actually doing based on the help I have to provide. They love it and it makes them interested in doing projects with Dad. They all are continuously cautioned that they are NEVER to try to use ANY of my power tools without my help and permission. I also have to make sure that the power tools are unplugged or child locked after every use, just in case the youngest gets a little too curious. They each have tried playing with switches on unplugged tools and were sternly reprimanded after doing so, to make sure they understand right from the beginning.

View a1Jim's profile


117459 posts in 3842 days

#9 posted 10-06-2009 05:42 AM

I think Dusty has a good handle on this subject.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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