Before turning your kids loose with
the tools, though, talk to them about
safety and demonstrate proper tool use
for them. If they have never used hand
tools before, start with some scrap pieces
of wood to teach them the basics. Safety
is always first, and they may need to be
Saw technique is probably the hardest
thing to learn, and in my experience, kids
who have little or no experience with a
saw have a tough time securing the piece
adequately, and the hand that isn’t driving the saw finds its way into dangerous
positions. Remind them constantly to
keep their hands out of the path of the
blade, and you will build a habit they’ll
• 1” x 6” board into two 14½” pieces for
• 1” x 8” board into two 10” pieces (ends)
and one 16” length (bottom)
• 1” dowel to 14½”
To complete the end pieces, mark the
center of one side of each board. This
will be your peak. Use your square with
a 45-degree angle and draw your cut line
toward the outside edge. If you do not
have a square with a 45-degree angle,
simply measure your board from the
edge to the center and mark the same
distance from the top down each edge.
Connect the dots.
To avoid splitting the wood, drill two pilot holes on each side of the end pieces.
Note that the sides are shorter than the
ends, so do not drill your holes too high.
Apply glue and nail the ends to the sides.
See Figure 2.
Drill pilot holes around the perimeter
of the bottom piece and add glue. Hold
the box upside down while your child
pounds the nails in.
Finally, apply glue to the ends of the
dowel and position at the top. Drill a pilot hole and add one screw to each side.
See Figure 3.
The Creative Twist
My five-year-old twins love compartments. When we built their tool boxes,
they wanted to add something to hold
pencils. I had some extra PVC, so we
Start with a simple project and then
brainstorm creative design changes
and implement them together.
ABOVE: Figure 2, RIGHT: Figure 3