Monday, January 20, 2014

The Joy of Roy

Chew on this!

Today, the kids and I were off work/school and sitting around lunch, and like good couch potatoes we were looking for something to watch. I queued up an old episode of Roy (the one with Peter Follansbee carving spoons) Both kids sat there enthralled. Several times they noted how they thought it looked easy, (with occasional reminders to eat) at the end of the episode they said in unison, "Dad, can we go in the garage and do some woodworking?" (I couldn't be more proud...)

Apples All Around!
This is not uncommon, I sit down to relax and watch an episode of Roy and then I'm itchin' to go "do something". Sometimes it's to go try out something he's demonstrated, other times he's empowered me to think that seemingly difficult things are "easy" (if you actually get off your butt and try.)

Come Back with those Dovetails!
Three years ago, I went to the Woodwright's school. It was a great experience, and Roy is just exactly the same as you would expect, this is one case where it's OK to meet your hero, he's exactly the same smart, corny, engaging guy you've known for years. During the class he encouraged us to try everything; from Adze's, and hewing, to scrub planing and moulding. Every step of the way, he'd demonstrate and give us the opportunity to give it a shot so we "got the idea".

No Soapboxes available
Due to this "can do" spirit, He's encouraged young and old alike to give something a shot. Today my kids felt similarly empowered. My son went to town planing with a #5, spokeshave, boring and even a little sawing. My daughter wanted to give beads and incised letters a shot, (she has been watching Mary May's videos and is on her way down the slope.) Either way, they both spent a little time in the shop building skills and more importantly having a good time, and believing that they too can do whatever they set their mind to.
Beginning beads and letters
Boy's Jet Plane (knots are hard to plane he says)

Thanks Roy!
Cut to the line


  1. Great post!

    I regularly sit down with Finley, my 3 year old, and watch Roy on the weekends. It's interesting to see what draws his attention and what doesn't. He likes Peter Ross. He doesn't like it as much when Roy does too much talking and not enough woodworking. He likes it when Roy uses a drawknife. He isn't a big fan of the lathe work.

    The other day, after watching a few episodes, he turned to me and said, "Dadda, I can't wait until I'm old enough to help you in the workshop."

    He has noise aversion issues, so it's a good thing I mostly use hand tools. Really, the only thing I'm waiting for is my butt to get in gear and get the workshop set up to where it isn't a sharp-object-death-trap for a 3 year old. But if that isn't motivation enough, then I don't know what is...

  2. Absolutely, while I accomplish even less with the kids in the shop than without, not much can compare to seeing them take an interest. Find a spot on your bench ASAP, you won't regret it.
    Also make sure you get them PPE right off the bat and insist on it. My kids (8&11) now know immediately to put on safety glasses (and earmuffs after the "I'm going to make some noise warning") This will set them up for a lifetime of good practice just being normal. First thing both of my kids started out with was a spoke shave, easy to make "curlies" right away and assuming a minimum of care, very safe. Another good thing is a log on end with a handful of 1-2" roofing nails started for them to bang in. Sawing drilling and planing all seem to require fine motor skills or mass that take time to develop.

  3. Great post and I am so proud of how you work with your kids. Great dad passing on wonderful skills to them.