Carpentry season

Advay, my 8 year old, has developed a liking for carpentry off late. His first tryst with carpentry was two years ago when he was frequently visiting Aarohi. Since then he would take up carpentry projects every once a while.

One of my close friends, Murali Krishna, has recently renovated his house and dedicated half of his terrace to his carpentry workshop. He keeps doing some woodwork or the other.

This photo was taken a long time ago. The place is now filled with tools, resources and and workbenches.

Whenever we visited his house, Advay would notice with interest the wood work that Murali would have done in his workshop. He would come back fascinated by it.

About 5-6 months ago, my father-in-law commissioned carpentry job at his new house. Whenever Advay went over, he would sit with the carpenters and observe with interest all their carpentry work. He would occasionally gather leftover wood pieces and combine them into something new.

Over the past few months he kept sharing with us during dinner, also during the time we were in the car driving over to someplace and also at other times when just Nandini and I were around; that he really wanted to do more carpentry. Sometimes he even went to the extent of saying that he wants to be a carpenter when he grows up.

So when a carpentry workshop got announced in April 2019 near our house, he jumped at the opportunity. Although the workshop was for kids older than 10 years, we requested them to accommodate Advay. They obliged!

On the first day of the workshop, before he went in, Advay told us – “Thank you for enrolling me to this workshop. I really love it. I am going to learn as much as I can. I am taking my first step to realise my future as a carpenter!” We were moved by all that intentionality.

Among the various projects suggested at the workshop, Advay chose to work on a key-holder. Over the 5 days of the workshop he learned about various tools and various types of wood, about how to saw wood into various shapes, about scrubbing wood with sandpaper, about various types of sand papers, about the importance of measuring before cutting wood, about fevicol, about polishing and a whole lot more. At the end of the workshop he came home with his creation: the key holder. We have begun using it at home already.

After the workshop he kept sharing how much he loved carpentry and how he would love to work on some projects at home.

Last week, we went out and bought a few basic carpentry tools. Advay already knew what tools he needed since he had just finished his workshop.

We did not have any workbench for him at home. So, we had to either buy a new one or build one at home. But Advay couldn’t wait until he had a workbench to start using the tools and do some woodwork. He was eager to start something right away.

We searched for a small block of plywood at home and an old wooden stool, which acted as a makeshift workbench. He got started with some carving work on it. The first thing he made was a “I love you” mast for his mother, since her birthday was coming up.

Needless to say that Nandini loved her birthday present. She is surely going to treasure it for life.

Day-by-day Advay’s (and my own) restlessness to setup a workbench went up. I harvested some of the left over plywood pieces and fevicol from my office and got it home. My friend Murali Krishna and I, with Advay’s help, put together a foldable carpentry workbench in our backyard.

The next day, Advay scrubbed his workbench in sand-paper and prepared it for his use. We had to build shelves, for a storage box we had at home, to make space for keeping his tools.

Since finding tools quickly was very important to his carpentry work, he took some time to arrange them nicely.

Now that his workbench was ready and his tools quickly accessible, Advay took started to recreate the key-holder he learned at the carpentry workshop; this time without any “adult-mentoring”. Work on that is underway and he is making good progress.

Since carpentry is a subject-of-exploration that he chose, I find him making a lot of time for carpentry at home. Around now, he is at it for 5-6 hours every day.

After finishing the second key-holder, he is interested to make something for use at home. He keeps asking Nandini if she wants something at home that he can make using wood. Whatever he makes, we are going to using it!

UPDATE (One Month Later)

Chopping Tray

With my friend Murali Krishna, he built a tray. It can be used as both vegetable chopper and a tray for carrying water from kitchen to the dining room / living room.

Dice with a twist

We made a dice-set that was more than just numbers. Our dice set would be 3 cubes. One had odd-number, another had even-numbers and a third one had math operations. We have to roll the dice by saying “odd / even” first. Then perform the math operation on the two numbers. Watch this video:

Masala Bottle Holder

We had bought a bunch of “masala container bottles” a few months ago. Since the time we bought it, we had not begun using it because we couldn’t find a place for those bottles in the kitchen cabinets in a way that would make those bottles accessible.

Advay & I saw a need for some sort of furniture for this. He came up with an idea and together we built this.

Phone Stand

Every once in a while, Nandini takes on cooking something new. She refers to YouTube videos from her favourite channel for recipes and makes something interestingly new. Advay had noticed that it was a bit painful to refer to the phone with both hands, put it back it on the kitchen table top, do some cooking and then pick up the phone again and so on. Sometime last year he had put together an initial prototype for a phone stand. But it was not fully functional. Now that we had all the carpentry tools, I suggested to him if he wanted to make it all over again this time. He got excited. He went about building a new one. I helped him with scrubbing & polishing.

Nandini has already begun using it. I must say, I use it too – to watch news videos while having food. I know, I know – bad habit and all. Buzz off dude, its my son’s phone holder. I will use it any which way I want.

Kitchen Tray

We re now in the process of making a tray for keeping kitchen top vegetables and consumables (like Oil, Ghee etc..)

Since it was a rather large project, I suggested to Advay that he design the tray first on paper / computer before we started sawing wood. He had learned basics of Sketchup a few months back.

Watch Advay explain his design to me.

When he showed this design to his mother, she was not entirely convinced that this would solve her problem. She said that the tray wouldn’t accommodate kitchen tools (like knife, peeler etc) or consumables like oil, ghee etc.

Advay and I thought for a while and came up with another solution. Which he has designed like this.

When he sought feedback again, Nandini had more comments to offer. Then he & I both sat and made this design.

The tray in the middle would be where we keep vegetables (like Onion, Ginger, Garlic etc..) On the side trays (marked in gray color), we could keep oil & ghee bottles AND a tall tumbler in which we can keep kitchen tools (knife, peeler etc).

To this he design he felt that we should have a handle or a “second floor rack” as well. So he went ahead and made this new design based on some of the ideas we had discussed.

At this point he was beginning to get bored of doing only design. He wanted to start making something, even if it meant working on a partial design. So he pulled out some old plywood, marked dimensions on it. He cut some of it and I did some more. We both polished the wood and put it together to make the middle tray.

There is more work to be done, I will update this blog when we finish it.