Our woodworking club has an "Outreach Trailer" full of tools that we take to any group who would like to get started in woodworking. We also take it to community days, fairs, etc. to help anyone who is interested in woodworking to get started by making their first project with our guidance. We provide everything free including some of our expert members to act as 1 on 1 teachers.
Two of the most wanted projects are whistles and light sabers that the children make from blanks provided using one of our three lathes. The wooden blanks are pre-drilled, but they get to shape the outside to suit them. Then for the whistle the notch is cut using a jig to keep it accurate, but they get to do this too. A wooden plug is then added to the end with a little glue and then trimmed off.
The light saber handle is also turned from a pre-made blank with holes in both ends, again shaped any way they want to make it. Then a 18" length of 1/2" PEX plumbing tubing is pressed into one end hole. PEX is available in white, blue, and red, so they also get to choose the color. Then an LED flashlight from Harbor Freight (red or blue) is pressed into the opposite end hole. These lights vary a little in diameter, so we have some tape handy to wrap around the flashlight body if it doesn't fit snugly. In reduced light environments, these light sabers are quite impressive with the whole length of the PEX tubing glowing from the light shining through it.
We make the blanks for both of these projects from donated wood scraps of domestic hardwoods and we have wipe-on wax available for a quick surface treatment after their completion. At every event we seem to always have long lines form behind each lathe, of children, and adults, waiting for their turn to make one of them.. More girls seem to like the light sabers than I would have ever expected. Some are even willing to stand in line a second time for the chance to make the other project. It isn't long after we start that whistles are blowing everywhere, and light saber sword fights are occurring frequently.
Central North Carolina
Last edited by CharleyL; 09-30-2018 at 10:06 AM.