Carpentry for Kids

carpentry for children cover

Carpentry for Children

My general rule of thumb for kids nonfiction is that it shouldn’t be older than the age of the kid. Please don’t write us about all your examples of the exceptions. I get it. There are probably thousands of exceptions. But I digress…

This book was brought to me by one of my co-workers. Topic is fine, but this particular book was old and tired looking. (As I am old and tired looking, I feel qualified to judge.)

In this example, the date published makes me question the following:

  • Is the instructional component and other content appropriate for the age group?
  • Are the tools/equipment/materials available and safe? (Beware of products/materials that are no longer available.)
  • Do any of the projects or commentary use outmoded or inappropriate language when describing people or things?
  • Are the projects something kids would be interested in now? (Not 40 years ago.)

Again, I am not saying that just because it’s old, doesn’t make it an automatic weed, however it does mean we need to check further.

Mary (who is old and tired looking but still hanging on)

back cover

kids planning

crosscut saw

trimming logs

other projects


  1. I guess we should be pleased they didn’t have the kids using power tools?

    This book would have been good for the parents of today’s kids.

    I’m sure many of the products aren’t available now, for good reason. This was only 4 years after lead paint was banned.

    And sawing up random logs while barefoot, in swimsuits, with no eye protection or gloves seems like a really bad idea all around. Or even just collecting them, especially since one’s already waterlogged and they won’t be able to use it for ages.

  2. Ahh, the good old days when we kids could use sharp, dangerous tools without any adult supervision and getting any cuts, scrapes, splinters or bruises was just a normal part of growing up. I’d sure hate to be a kid in 2023. I’m too old for TikTok and too young for the nursing home. The best age to be.

    1. As a 46 year old woman who’s got some minor success on TikTok (almost 82,000 followers, less than 50 away from reaching that number) by embracing her cringe and doing cosplay and story creation on there – there’s no such thing as too old for TikTok.

  3. Lester Walker wrote multiple books and articles in the ’70s-’90s about houses, housebuilding, and carpentry. I used to have his /Housebuilding for Children/ (1977) book as a kid in the early ’90s, though I must’ve donated or sold it years ago. I never did build any of its projects; I just enjoyed reading the book.

    I still have his /The Tiny Book of Tiny Houses/ (1993*), though — which is all-ages rather than child-focused.

    And yah, there are probably newer, more appealing alternatives for today’s kids out there — in books and on websites.

    (* the full-size version was /Tiny Houses/, 1987)

  4. We believed in at least one glove when sawing even back then. And eye protection if there were power tools that might fling things around.

    I speak from a few years before this time, with experience in helping Dad, building stuff with the neighborhood kids, and Scout camp. We had learned from the dads and Scout leaders. Often at many decibels and threats of being banned from using the tools. I heard from the boys that shop teachers did the same. Especially those who only had 4 fingers.

  5. Apparently this only covers the carpentry, and you have to buy another book to learn how to paint some of the stuff. That tugboat is lame.

  6. I like that rule of thumb: no book should be older than the highest age of the target readers.

    Don’t simply toss these books with such great dated photography. Remove all pages with photos and put them in a box for people to sift through to use in decoupage, collage and other Dada art.

    Jacques Prévert is on poet who created many great works of Dada art collage.

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