Moderators: Random Orbital Bob, nev, CHJ, Noel, Charley

By Bodger7
I have a (small) 6 year old grandson who likes to come into my workshop and play with wood. Under careful supervision I have let him try using my tenon saw, small plane, mallet and hammer. He has a small tool set bought for him at Christmas 2018 but, frankly, the tools are useless. I have tried sharpening the chisel and plane blade but the steel is of such poor quality that it won't take an edge. My tools are simply too big for his small hands but he still tries very hard with them.
What I would like to do is buy him some proper mini tools that will fit his hands. I have looked on eBay but what is on offer does not look very promising. A saw, hammer and plane would be a good start and I am sure that there are many dads and granddads out there who have been in the same position. Any suggestions as to how to find suitable tools would be very helpful. Thank you.
By novocaine
my six year old has a block plane (stanley 102), a cut down 1/2" chisel with a smaller handle that I made for him, a small gents saw (8"), a cross pean hammer (really for panel pins) that I fitted a short shaft too, a 4 way farriers rasp and a selection of screw drivers and pliers from pound store. he uses the drill press with me over his shoulder while I'm still looking for a decent hand drill for him.
he has used my "grown up" tools but as you suggest his hands are a bit small and it can get a bit hairy with a 1" chisel or a full tenon saw.
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By MikeG.
Well, a block plane for the plane would be a start. Maybe a gent's saw. With a small round handle I reckon a youngster could use it OK.

Have you tried heat treating the kiddy's tools that currently won't take an edge?
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By nev
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By thetyreman
spokeshave and coping saw for making shapes, I would encourage them to try and come up with their own designs and ideas.
By lurker
My kids found a metal block plane difficult but I found them a small woody that they could get their hand at the rear.
You can get wood blades for junior hacksaws.
By Vann
Children need smaller tools. For a nice plane, buy him a Stanley No.1...


Cheers, Vann.
By D_W
rasps, files, a stanley 41y (I think that's the number - maybe it's yankee branded pre-stanley...don't know), a gents saw with small teeth and sandpaper.

Those are enough to keep my kids busy. My boy at a younger age stuck his hand against a CBN wheel when I turned my back and sanded the skin off of the back of his hand. He's forbidden in the shop now (maybe until age 21) and could never be trusted with a chisel. I think he experiments on purpose, as he's rasped and sanded his fingertips beyond what a non-experimenter would.

My two tend to be interested in getting a minimum amount of woodwork done on something, and then switching over to decorating whatever they've hacked out. skew plane and plow plane shavings become hair on a wooden figure, etc.
By Bodger7
Thank you for all your suggestions. I bought my grandson a junior hacksaw and that was an improvement on him trying to use a tenon saw. However, on a trip to Axminster this week I found a small Japanese pull saw and he is now practising quit successfully with that. As far as a plane is concerned I had tried a block plane but he couldn't manage to hold it at the back and his hands are too small to hold it one handed. Vann suggested a Stanley No 1 plane and this seems to be an ideal tool for a child (although I hadn't heard of them previously). I will now look out for one (or a "woody") although I believe that they are quite rare. In the meantime I will let him use an old wooden spokeshave. For a hammer I will cut down a small pean hammer and if that doesn't work buy one from Corvus.
Thank you all again for such helpful replies.
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By Stanleymonkey
All good ideas. Kids love files and sandpaper blocks. Sandpaper on a weighty board that they can rub the wood over can be quite useful. If you have a bench hook with a thin fence to press the wood against you can use a couple of small ratchet clamps to help hold the wood in place.

On a lighter note - little sundries like ball bearings (mini marble run / maze), pipe cleaners (robot with bendy arms) and wooden wheels will get his imagination going. My 6 year old loves using a treadle scroll saw. I have to help a bit with the pedalling - but they love making jigsaw puzzles etc.

Good luck - hope he has a great time with you.