I've tried all sorts of box projects with kids. Some are pretty good, some not. What most kids want is a small box with drawers in it. The bandsaw is perfect for this but most designs I've tried are really tough for kids to do. One of the main limitations I've found is that the box designs require sharp corners which most kids find really tricky because they're inclined to just TURN the piece rather than push and turn. Go figure!
This method seems messy and not too efficient for an adult but it works really well for kids because the cuts are all pretty straight. The project is also really easy on materials because the kids cut it out from one big piece... Drawers and all.
In this Instructable I'll go through all the steps you need to make this work for a class of kids. I've been doing this project with grade 8's. I'll make suggestions on setup and give lots of tips and tricks that I've learned through the years to make it work with students in a safe way that will result in a really nice project that the kids will be proud of.
-The student will learn to creatively solve a design problem... How to use little space in an interesting way to design a small box with drawers. The student will than learn ways to transfer and apply that design to wood.
-The student shall demonstrate the safe use of the band saw.
-The student will learn how to use clamps effectively.
-Once the student has learned to use the clamps that knowledge will be applied to use clamps of different styles to be able to glue a complex shape together.
-Light softwood (pine, poplar) approx 1" thick, 6" wide and 30" long.
-Dark Contrasting wood (aromatic cedar, black walnut) approx 3/8" thick, 6" wide and 15" long.
-Paper, carbon paper for layout.
-Sandpaper of grits from 80 to 220.
-Clamps of different styles.
Submitted by HD Stafford Middle School for the Instructables Sponsorship Program
Step 1: Glue Up the Blanks
I rough cut the lighter colored softwood into pieces about 5-8" wide, 1" thick and of all sorts of different lengths. This project is good for all the dumpster diver shop teachers out there because you can use any scraps available.
Show the kids how to layout 4 pieces of wood from 1 long piece using the bandsaw to cut them out. Really, you can use any saw you want... the end goal is to have 4 pieces of wood all about the same size.
Use a piece of sandpaper board to get the pieces of wood flat before gluing. I use strips of paper from a big belt sander i have. I used contact cement to glue them to a flat piece of board. Old desktops work well.
Glue up the wood, clamp well and let it sit. Make sure the kids clamp all the way around the perimeter... I've noticed that kids will often just clamp in the middle and leave it to dry without ensuring a tight joint all the way around the block. I've even had kids cut and glue carefully than leave it to dry in the middle of the table... unclamped...