Monday, November 25, 2019

Rubber Band Powered Paddle Boat Scroll Saw Pattern

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The kids will be out of school for the holidays and they need something to do. If their attention span has started to increase then this project may be something you can work with them on in the shop. It may also be something fun for you to make for your weekly bath. :)

There are just three easy pieces to cut with no interior cuts. You will probably have enough scraps in the shop to make a couple of these for just pennies. With your help, they can hopefully finish the boat in an hour. 

I did not get carried away trying to waterproof the boat. I just applied four coats of spray acrylic. I did make sure to get a thick coat on the end-grain and the paddle. You might want to make a few extra paddles if the grandchildren live far away.

I found that using a longer rubber band and doubling it around the posts twice work best. The skinny rubber band worked better than the stronger thick rubber band. My boat will go the length of the bathtub by winding 15 turns. 

Children in the shop?

The scroll saw is an excellent tool to begin to get children interested in woodworking. The child needs to be old enough to follow instructions well. That is different with each child but somewhere around 8 years old is a good place to start. 

The first thing you need to do is introduce the child to safety. Show them the proper use of a tool. Remember that their hand strength is less and they are smaller. You may need extra safety considerations. A child my be coordinated enough to use a hand drill but they may not be strong enough to hold it safely. Their hands are often too small for many tools. Evaluate every tool before you let them use it. You take over any task that does not look safe.

When you talk about safety don't scare them just inform them. Young children are not ready for many power tools. Personally, I would never let a young child use a table saw. For me, the table saw is only available to a teenager. Not a 100% rule but close for me. Injuries on some tools are catastrophic. An accident on a table saw is almost always much worse then even the worst accident on a scroll saw. I call the scroll saw a bandaid machine. You might see blood but you won't lose a finger.

Attention span if often the toughest skill to overcome with children. Plan on taking a few sessions to complete a project. For the paddle boat, you may teach them how to select the wood and apply the pattern in the first session. The two of you can cut the pieces in the second session. Take more breaks if needed. If they get bored neither of you will have fun. Let them stop at the first sign of boredom. If boredom sets in a couple minutes into the project then they may not be interested or ready to learn this skill.

It is absolutely critical that you make it a golden rule that the child use a dust mask and hearing protection when called for. On the scroll saw they should have a dust mask for sure but hearing protection is optional. 

When I am showing a child how to use the scroll saw I put the hold down foot back on the saw. We are not going to be cutting intricate patterns with children so it won't be in t