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Semi OT: How old should children be before helping in the shop.

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  • #31
    Tom, we should get together -- I live over by the Lakeline Mall. Drop me a PM...
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."


    • #32
      Another thing I do every time my son is working in the shop is a safety demonstration with what we will be working with and make sure he gets it.

      Paint sticks and small rags make great things to let them see pulled in or mangled on a machine - then ask him what it that was their sleeve or arm. He gets it.


      • #33
        I think you have little to worry about, the judge will likely find this another frivolous matter, especially if he's seen your case before and your wife has a history of silly complaints. As for myself, I started driving (2 sticks and no digging/boom operations) a full size excavator alone at age 4, along with helping my dad with projects in his woodshop. By age 7 I had mastered the excavator completely and had legs long enough to start driving other tractors that necessitated pedal usage. Again, at 7, I started spending odd weekends at the middle and high schools my father taught technology in for 26 years while his Odyssey of the Mind teams worked. I had completely free run of the wood shop to build whatever I wanted using anything and everything - table, scroll and bandsaws, routers, wood lathes etc etc. I built many battery powered cars and other toys for myself, by myself with little supervision. Although I didnt take up automotive or metal hobbies til a few years later, I used "dangerous" machinery almost on a daily basis as a child. Could I have been seriously hurt? Not likely more than now as an adult when I work alone more times than not. Did I lack supervision? My dad was always at most across the room and though he didnt have eyes on me constantly, he knew what I was doing, how I was doing it, and why. He also knew that I would ask him questions if I wasnt positive how to get things done, would do only what I had experience in without him next to me, and would always be as safe as possible in every manner. I lived in fear of getting spanked/swatted or yelled at until my early teens, but by then I could handle the shop entirely and easily by myself.

        I think if you explain things simply to the judge, that your daughter knows the consequences/dangers associated with machinery, uses all of the proper PROFESSIONAL safety gear, and is under supervision, they cannot hold it against you for wanting to bond with your children in your own way. Our ability to learn only slows down as we get older, and at that age kids' minds are like sponges for information which we need to nurture in every way possible. My early experiences in the shop led me to become a mechanical engineer, and you can bet in a few years when I have some, my kids will be in the shop as soon as they want to be.
        "I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer -- born under the second law of thermodynamics, steeped in the steam tables, in love with free-body diagrams, transformed by Laplace, and propelled by compressible flow."


        • #34
          I accept that turning a wheel when dad is watching your every move is not an issue but welding is not for small children sorry my 2 cents.Alistair
          Please excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease


          • #35
            In my mind, the biggest danger in this case is the "just enough knowledge to be dangerous" syndrome.

            You've covered that to a large degree with the master power switch. I'd start any testimony / deposition stressing the fact that you have arranged it so that she can NOT use any of the power tools unsupervised.

            I agree with the majority. Learning to enjoy shop-work when young is a great character builder.

            Side story; My kids grew up seeing me work on my own motorcycles. They had free access to the attached garage. At about 4 years old my older son managed to figure out how to fit a wrench to a bolt and take it off. Since he was short, he chose the bolts that clamped the front axle to the forks. Fortunately, he only managed to remove 1/2 of the bolts, and he (taking after his old man) left the bolts and wrench on the ground next to the bike.

            At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and extra parts.

            Location: SF East Bay.


            • #36
              " How old should children be before helping in the shop?"

              That question has never been asked by sweat shop owners; they know it's not a matter of age but of physical capability.
              Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada


              • #37
                I empathise greatly with you in your on-going dispute with the wife, Never nice, It is most commendable to bond with your youngsters, nowadays so many people, want a youngster, But when it comes to interaction with the kids-- Well we see the consequences every week in juvenile court!

                More power to your elbow with your relationship with your little daughter, One wants to nurture that bond, enough to last both your lifetimes

                However a word to the wise, A long number of years ago, my five year old son, went in to my workshop, and started up my horizontal milling machine, which had a slitting saw set up, The result was a serious laceration to his right thumb, My blood runs cold thinking of it even yet, I guess he/we got off lucky, With that in mind carefull guys where kids /moving machinery are concerned, The untowards can occur, Fortunately in the postings, any illustration shows the youngsters wearing safety goggles etc.
                Should the youngsters be around you all when you are "having a play/interaction session", I hope no serious work is taking place, As you concentrate on the task in hand, It is easy to forget the youngster, With disastrous consequences

                Thinking on the mindset of kids, sharp edge tools seem to draw them like a magnet, so too does power tools, which can be extremely nasty, Woodworking machinery, with its high speed, is so lethal, i do not even want to go down that road.

                Remember also, something rolling off a workbench or machine table, which might only give us a sore toe for a few days, could easily crush a tiny skull, with fatal results The same applies to lethal hot razor like cuttings, capable of some really nasty consequencies.

                From my old psychology lessons of many years back, One of the lessons picked up was that young minds, frequently work on sudden impulses, It takes a long time to set up an automatic safety response in ones mind, Think on it yourselves guys, how often has a nast little fright or near miss, instilled in us all a breaking action to our enthusiasm? This is called experience.

                This is a good site, where the majority of folks take reasonable care, frequently the unforseen hazhard causes a problem, nobody is immune from that occurance (sods law) I think we all police ourselves pretty well, My one worry nowadays is the minset of "official self rightous expert busybodies" Who would love to restrict our activities, to the point of extinction at the drop of a hat We live in a safety driven politically correct society, Dont give them a chance to pounce.


                • #38
                  In terms of the judge, I would look at this as an opportunity to slowly, carefully, and calmly explain the situation. It is very likely that a family court judge will know far less about welding than you know about the law. She may hear "welding" and imagine your daughter running around with a huge O/A torch.

                  If questioned, I would explain the risks and precautions very systematically and try to relate it to things the judge is familiar with. She would probably be at more risk of burns or injury making fried chicken on the stovetop, for instance, and who would think twice about letting a child cook with mom or dad standing right behind them? Bring the safety gear or pictures of it to show how protected she was. Talk about how there's actually not that much heat, cite OSHA stats on risks of shock, etc. Take the unknown out of the equation and demonstrate how thoughtfully you approached this.

                  Another angle I might play is that you want your daughter to grow up thinking she could do anything a man can do. Girl power! Maybe it will inspire her to grow up to be a sculptor, weldor, or engineer.


                  • #39
                    Risk perception is off base:
                    Would you let a child under the age of 8 do something proven to be 20 times more dangerous for serious injury than motorcycling?( measured as numbers serious injury per thousand hours)

                    would you ?

                    I doubt anyone would think welding was easily capable of serious injury and death. A nasty burn to the hand and severe headache is about as far as its likely to get

                    yet we have people thinking that supervised welding is dangerous for children.

                    however horse riding is significantly more dangerous and yet we encourage young children to do it?

                    "On average, motorcyclists suffer an injury once every 7000 hours of riding. By contrast, an equestrian (horseback rider) may have a serious accident once every 350 hours."


                    and before you say the research is biased check who is backing the research
                    Last edited by derekm; 03-06-2011, 02:34 PM.


                    • #40
                      It is true that my son never suffered so much as a scratch while riding pillion, but my daughter suffered a broken collarbone in her first month of horseback riding.

                      To justanengineer: I was listening to an interesting interview on NPR Friday. It was with Dean Kamen, founder of the First Robotics competition, and others who also promotes a completely different way of learning for our youth. One thing that was mentioned was that as we age it's not a waning ability to learn that restricts us, it's our learned understanding of actions and consequences. Youth, OTOH, learn faster and deeper be trying things and making mistakes. They can do this without the encumbrances of experience, the baggage that we adults carry with us all the time. The key is to exercise just enough supervision to keep them from hurting themselves, but to let them make the mistakes. In doing so, they often discover their own resourcefulness in seeking both obvious and alternate solutions to problems. This is the focus of the competition...not to build a robot.


                      • #41
                        Originally posted by derekm
                        "On average, motorcyclists suffer an injury once every 7000 hours of riding. By contrast, an equestrian (horseback rider) may have a serious accident once every 350 hours."
                        Awsome. When my brothers kid ask for a pony, Im getting him a motorbike! 'Its safer' I'll say....

                        Yea, don't think i'll really get away with that...
                        Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.


                        • #42
                          My point is why take a chance on what a judge might think about about a kid welding. You are heading to court that will decide who will get custody and if u don't win that the court will decide how much time u get with ur daughter. I am sure you can put off welding with her until after court. Why add one more thing??


                          • #43
                            My oldest likes her 4 wheeler.



                            • #44
                              Its not what the kid can do . Its what the wife and judge thinks the kid should be doing. And it sure is not being in a shop at that age may be 16 are so . As far as a judge is concerned. Judges don`t think like real people.
                              Every Mans Work Is A Portrait of Him Self


                              • #45
                                Sorry your ex wife is being such a PIA.
                                Kids like to help their dads.
                                Whenever my dughter decided what I was doing was more interesting than what she was doing at the moment, I let her help. Not just a hammer a piece of wood and few nails help, but , look at the picture in the instructiions and tell me what we need to do next grab a wrench help.
                                It started when she was 3 or 4.
                                It's a very important step in a childs deveopment to know they are a useful part of the family.