Cub Scouts make a tablet

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Project by Spur posted 10-26-2014 10:30 PM 1253 views 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So I always rail on about how kids nowadays are not exposed enough to practical/handy stuff around the house. A few years back I took matters in my own hands and starting with my oldest sons den (I am a den leader in scouts), every year I spent at least one den meeting teaching the boys how to use hand tools and then build something with hand tools. Every year was a progressively more challenging project they had to do. I continued that tradition with my younger sons den for 2 reasons. I want to make a difference, however small, with these kids and how to use a darn screwdriver, and because the kids and parents absolutely love these kind of den meetings.

This year for my 7 year old boys, I went with a tablet. I saw this at the local science center when they were doing a thing on Roman engineering. Using 1/4 inch plywood I precut the wood backs and the thin strips the boys would glue around the border. They had to cut the thin strips to length for the border (hand mitre it using my mitresaw). Using clothespins as clamps, they glued the border on. Using sanding blocks they had to ease the corners and edges. Using a hand drill they had to drill the holes for the twine to secure the two sides together like a book (problem here, I only have 2 eggbeater drills and those boys love to make holes). I used paraffin I tinted and thinned with Vaseline, and adults ladled the melted wax into the tablets. The boys took dowels and sharpened them in a hand pencil sharpener for the stylus. They then took the sharpened to the bench sander to flatten out the other end as an eraser and blunt the point if necessary (I actually held the end near the sander and they held the end away from the sander and I talked them through it as if they were doing it, but I really controlled it for safety sake).

Huge hit with many stories of siblings fighting over the tablet.

Picture 1 is my practice one, a finished product (I build everything first to gauge difficulty and time)
Picture 2 is a work in progress
Picture 3 is closeup view of various stages and materials all in one spot
Picture 4 is view of all materials and various stages of project.

-- Henryk, South Carolina

2 comments so far

View mramseyISU's profile


594 posts in 2552 days

#1 posted 10-26-2014 10:50 PM

That’s really cool. I just took over as a cubmaster and that’s a great project.

-- Trust me I'm an engineer.

View jakeprater's profile


90 posts in 2596 days

#2 posted 10-27-2014 11:20 AM

That’s a great project! What kind of wax are you using?

We did a woodworking night with our scouts, with routers, planes and combination planes. Kids love to make the tools work, and a lot of times it’s the only way they’ll be exposed to actually using tools, Le you said.

-- All this sawdust.......wait........ what happened to my board???

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