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Need some advice on training

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Old 12-27-2004, 03:15:57 AM
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Default Need some advice on training

I have a dilema, sort of, I have a six year old son and I want to take him into the shop with me more. I have been following another post here about show experiences and how our hobby doesn't seem to involve the kids and it has really got me to thinking about how when I was young my father and his friends always seemed to include me. machinery in general was second nature to me I grew up around it because my dad had his own business right on the property at home I was always there and I can't even remember how I learned all I have because it happened on a day to day basis listening to him and watching what he was doing. I don't have this now and I am afraid my son is being ripped off by not having this experience. So I guess my question is this how young is too young? How can I involve him in this? where do I start he has an interest but if I don't soon include him more he may lose it. My biggest fear tho is that there are so many ways for him to get hurt, none of these engines had osha in mind and most of my shop stuff doesn't either and I can't possibly watch him all the time. I have no idea how my father did it I still have all my fingers and toes and eyes and I am very consiuos of all these things at all times I have seen guys get fingers ripped off and do not want that at all for me or my son, I could really use some opinions here let me know how some of you have handled this. Now I have to get him some work clothes and instruct him not to walk in the house or sit on his mothers furniture after he has been in the shop. I do remember doing that once or twice with some bad results Joe M and Alex M.
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Old 12-27-2004, 07:56:24 AM
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Default Re: Need some advice on training

My grandson mostly stays a day or 5-6 with us every month, he is 3 years by now and since he was 2 he comes in the shed because he loves it and want to do everything his granddad does. I learned him what is dangerous and what can happen, showing him the pics again of my accident that he saw fortunally 10 minutes later than it happened ( my wife was walking around the house with him that moment).
All my machinery needs 380 volt power, so I have to plug in the wall connectors and they go not easy and always are out, when I don't use a machine the power connector is off. I leaned him what little boys can do and what granddads may do, in some way he understand that and lissen to me very carefully. What can I do grand, he ask me and I give him a machinery part with alot different bolts and nuts on it and a bunch wrenches and let him go (before I lose all the nuts and bolts, so they could turn easy). I told him to find the good wrench for every bolt and turn it out and lay all the parts in a row, amazing how quick he did understand it, after a few times he even grab the ˝" spanner at once for the right bolt. The only machinery he might work on is the drillpress which we do together, cause he likes it very much to drill holes in a piece of aluminium, when I shut off the drillpress he says, no grand we have to chamfer the sharp edges first with a larger drillbit ( and I play the dummy). Another trick is to rebuilt his peddal tractor, I told him it needs some service and since we do that he grab almost the right tools at once.
That's the way I try to learn that little engine buddy the rules and dangers in the shed, although his mother doesn't like it that much
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Old 12-27-2004, 09:18:25 AM
Leonard Keifer Leonard Keifer is offline
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Default Re: Need some advice on training

One way to get him involved is to get him his own little Briggs (a 5S is a good one to start with). YOu can usually pick one of those up at an auction for under $25, in fact I've bought some for under $5. You don't want one that's too far from running. Give him some tools and help him change the plug, clean and set points (you'll probably have to remove the flywheel), etc.

My son started with a 5S and ended up going to the National 4H small engine competition a couple of years ago. If you have 4H in your area maybe you could get him involved in their programs in a few year.

The nice thing about starting with a 5S or something similar is that they're not too expensive, they're fairly simple, and if a piece gets broken--so what, it's not a rare one-of-a-kind engine.

As you go along be sure to stress safety. He should alway wear safety glasses and it's probably a good idea for you to pour the gasoline.

Good luck.
Old 12-27-2004, 09:30:26 AM
Orrin Orrin is offline
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Default Re: Need some advice on training

My advice would be to keep youngsters at their own level. What do I mean by that? Let them do youngster things like tearing apart wind-up alarm clocks or anything else that's small and mechanical. One of my favorite pastimes as a pre-schooler was to hammer nails into a rotten old board that was part of the framework for our old-fashioned hand-cranked grinding wheel.

Make sure your youngster has a set of Legos. If he has creative skills he'll build something; but, he must have guidance or pictures of projects he can build.

When I was a pre-schooler my dad let me have an old keyhole saw and a hammer. That was back in the days of wooden peach and apple crates. I'd knock the crates apart, save the nails, and make such things as boats and bird-houses.

Peach crates have gone the way of the passenger pigeon, but if you have a band saw you can convert 2 X 4 studs into thin kid-sized boards.

Let kids be kids, first, then as time goes by they can graduate to the big-time.

One thing a father must be willing to accept is this: Not all youngsters have a natural mechanical knack nor an inquisitive nature. My eldest son is a case in point. When he was the age where most boys start getting interested in cars and things mechanical, I tried teaching him the parts of an automobile and their function. After all, an automobile is the second most expensive investment the average person makes. They oughta know enough about them to be able to tell when a mechanic tries to take them to the (pocketbook) cleaners.

It was like trying to teach a dog modern physics. The kid resisted with all his might (and his mom took sides with the kid )

The moral of the story? Brace yourself in case of disappointment if your youngster prefers video games to spending time in the shop with dad.

My 2˘

Old 12-27-2004, 09:49:06 AM
Ralph Leonard Ralph Leonard is offline
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Default Re: Need some advice on training

"So I guess my question is this how young is too young? How can I involve him in this? where do I start he has an interest but if I don't soon include him more he may lose it."

Joe, you cannot start too soon, but you can go too fast.

Listen carefully to his questions and answer them on his level. Start him out with simple hand tools, teaching safety all the way.

You will need to observe his actions and determine when he is ready for power tools.

His interests and skills will tell you when he is ready for each next step.

My son is still intact at 39 and I am amazed at what he can do.
Old 12-27-2004, 11:42:54 AM
Al Steppich Al Steppich is offline
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Default Re: Need some advice on training

Let your son learn at his own pace and let him learn by his own mistakes. I turned off my son by being too critical when he made mistakes and I was too critical about quality & perfection. You can't expect a 6 year old to put out perfect work. Patience is the secret. Hindsight is 20-20, I wish I could do it over with him. I'll do better with grandchildren if and when they ever come along. All the best to you in the New Year.
Old 12-27-2004, 11:52:40 AM
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Default Re: Need some advice on training

I have a an old friend (he must be around 80 now) whose father, and later his wife, did everything to discourage his interest in old iron. Needless to say his relationship with his father was pretty sour (and he isn't over yet!) but his wife DID come around when he laid $25,000 (something like that~~~~) on the kitchen table one time for a piece he sold. Then she came around and realized that this stuff ISN'T "junk". His father was long gone by this time so all he harbors is bad feelings toward him yet. whatever it takes to keep the kid interested.....our hobby DEPENDS on it. Craig
Old 12-27-2004, 12:09:53 PM
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Default Re: Need some advice on training

try working with him on a go-kart, mini bike or even an old lawn tractor. My father built a go-kart for me when I was that age or youger. Kids that age are operating these with proper supervision. There is a motorcycle track nearby where both boys and girls at that age are already racing.
Old 12-27-2004, 12:18:20 PM
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Default Re: Need some advice on training

I have a 7 year old and 9-year old. Both like to spend time with me in the shop. Basically, I'd don't try and force anything on them, but make things available for them to do. I keep old things around for them to disassemble, they work on their own bikes, and I built a nice solid kid-height workbench for them. And there's always some root beer in the shop fridge. I let them use the jig saw and electric drills now. They have their own hot-melt glue gun and Dremel tool. And there's always lots of pieces of scrap wood around as their raw material.

So, we've not yet started tinkering at engines yet, but they are developing the basic mechanical skills that will lead that way...
Old 12-27-2004, 12:21:41 PM
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Thumbs up Re: Need some advice on training

Don't even hesitate to take them to the shop with you, my son has been coming to the shop with me since he first began to walk. I keep a close eye on him so he doesn't put a finger where it doesn't belong, and have raised a few things so he can't reach. Nearly every time we go out we make a round together and talk about what we don't want to ever do (safety,safety,safety,safety!!) it has been a very rewarding experience for me. I, like my father and grandfather before him started out in the shop the same way, just watch your tools they may end up being claimed by your son...

Jim Sherman

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Old 12-27-2004, 12:57:43 PM
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Default Re: Need some advice on training

Somewhere my Dad has a picture of me when I was about 3 years old out in the shop with him. I had my own little pair of safety glasses and just wanted to watch daddy make and fix stuff. I kind of remember that I had to keep my butt planted on the stool whenever he was using the lathe or shaper. Looking back now, that early exposure is probably what led me to become an engineer. Plus, it helps finance this addiction.
Old 12-27-2004, 02:35:48 PM
Kevin O. Pulver Kevin O. Pulver is offline
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Default Re: Need some advice on training

Joe, I thought your inquiry was very thoughtful and insightful. You are correct to realize both the fact that your son is missing what you were blessed to have, and that some aspects of the shop are very dangerous.

One thing I think people don't often realize though, is that leaving the kids in the house where it is "safe" isn't the answer. I am far more concerned about the damage that can be done to kids who are babysat by the "helevision" and video games.
Look at some of the juvenile delinquents who grew up without a father to guide them and were raised on rap music and politically correct cartoons. The damage may not be as immediately apparent, but they are in far worse shape than the man who is missing a finger.
I am not downplaying the risks, I am just highlighting the worse risk you are taking if you don't give your children a priority role in whatever you do.
I actually had a police officer stop because my 3 year old son was in the yard oiling a running 1 1/2 John Deere. (I was supervising although the officer didn't see me) I thanked him for stopping, told him I understood his concern and that I had stressed to my son that the engine could tear his arm off and or kill him if he didn't obey by instructions. Joseph had been trained to obey me, and had proven to me he was obedient, so I showed my trust in him by going around the corner for a minute to let him feel "alone" and trusted. Imagine the story he'll have to tell when he gets older!

Our society seems to think that they can buy insurance against any and all mishaps and if something happens you can find someone to blame besides yourself. Both of these are false. Life has no such guarantees. All we can do is be wise and careful and ready to take consequences for our own actions. The best child training books and videos I have ever seen can be found by web searching: Michael and Debi Pearl at "nogreaterjoy" I would definitely recommend them. They will help you raise obedient, happy, hard working, hard playing boys and girls.
You are on the right track Joe. Kevin
Old 12-27-2004, 05:28:23 PM
Joe Cook
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Hi Joe, I started my son out with a Maytag single cyl. I helped loosen the bolts,nuts, ect. I showed him the correct wrenches and other hand tools and how to properly use them. He spent so much time with me in the shop that my twin daughters who were 3 years younger, decided they wanted an engine to fix! I told them OK but they had to know how an engine worked first. I had a small Briggs that I took apart and cleaned up. Showed them the main parts, piston, crank flywheel etc. and then taught them the 4 cycles of a 4 stroke engine. This was easy to show with the head off. My son helped and I think he learned as much as he taught! Any way, a week later I was invited to the girls class in school to show the class how an engine works! They proudly helped me “teach” the other kids about the engine. I had a lot of fun and I kept it real simple. Kids are smarter then we give them credit for! I guess the bottom line is, just get them involved. They will let you know if they are interested or not. Teach by example, use safety equipment every time and explain why. Most of all ENJOY the time you spend with them! My son and daughters are grown now, but they still enjoy coming to engine shows etc. and have often told me how they enjoyed working in the shop.
Joe Cook
Old 12-27-2004, 07:03:24 PM
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Default Re: Need some advice on training

How About the shelf I had to build:: This was for trophys Kiddie Tractor Pulls..He started at 3yrs. He Has His Briggs wi He's 7 now.. Told him we would rebuild it when he gets older so it don't smoke.....But DAD I Like the way it smokes....HOW Could It Get Better... Byron
Old 12-27-2004, 11:39:03 PM
Andrew Mackey Andrew Mackey is offline
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Hi, Joe,
I 'fixed' my first mower when I was 5 yeasr young. Grandpa left a brand new Briggs aluminum block rotary mower in the yard, with a hammer, a vice grips, a screwdriver and an adjustable wrench next to it. (He had hit a rock and bent the blade, and was straightening it in his shop). I asked him if I could help him fix it, and he said "OK". My grand ma was my witness! Anyways, I went to work! When grandpa came out of the shop 5 minutes later, I had 'Disassembled' the engine in its entirety - the only intact part was the carburetor (which I still have!). You can never be too young to start! I actually 'repaired' my first mower (a REO reel mower with the offset cylender cast iron engine - I still use it!), when I was 6, and by the time I was 8, was repairing mowers for my neighbors as well. By the time I was 14, I had my own tools and with a friend, ran a repair shop out of my garage for many years. 45 years later, I still repair mowers, and all types of old iron! My 4 sons have followed my footsteps, and now my 5 year old grandson wants an engine of his own! He is already helping dad fix motorcycles and John Deere Tracters in Colorado where they live! If the children learn to respect the tools, as well as the machinery they work on, they will also love the hobby as well. I should know, I have seen 4 generations at work!
A suggestion if you don't mind - and this goes for any one with a child who has an interest - Pick up a modest tool set. One can be had from Sears for about $75 to 100 - what you would spend on a good birthday or holiday present (have to be politically correct now a days). Then go to a local junk yard, or mower shop and pick up a couple of scrap mowers. (Most mower shops will be glad to dispose of scrap mowers for a small price!) Then, with your son or daughter, take them apart, and repair them if they are fixable! For years I used to pick up mowers out of the trash, repair them, and sold them at a profit! I still do in fact! This way, the child, be it a girl or boy, gets to see how they are built, what can go wrong, what can be done to fix them, and once they are repaired, how they are used. If they are in fair shape, your investment can even be recouped with a modest for sale sign on the front yard! No stronger incentive for a kid, than cash in the pocket! Most of the mowers I pick up need no more than an oil change, an air filter, a spark plug and maybe a carb diaphram and some fresh gas! (about $15 in parts at the most!) I have sold used mowers for up to $125 for a self propelled bagger in good shape. If you go to engine shows, a neat B&S 5S or 6S makes a neat first display engine. A can of Krylon gloss black and a new decal really does the trick! Have fun with the repair work. At the very least, aluminum is $ at the junk yard, if the mower is truly shot.
You never know what people will throw out. About 10 years ago, my father in law fouled a plug in his mower. He called me to see if I could get the mower running for him, and the wife and I took a ride, I quickly found the problem, and sent him out for a new plug. His truck pulled up in front of the house, about 2 minutes later, and he unloaded a brand new Yard Man mower into the driveway! He pushed it up the drive, and said"lookee what I found, Its seized, but its brand new! He then left, again, to get the new plug. As I did not have anything else to do, I decided to check the mower out. It was still warm, and there was fresh wet grass on the mower deck! I tried to start it, but the engine would not turn all the way thru, it stopped with a solid thump. I thought ' this is weird, and then removed the spark plug. I gave the starter rope a good pull, after backing the crank up a bit, and them promptly did 2 things nearly simultanoiusly - 1) I covered my new pants with motor oil that came flying out the spark plug hole, and 2) I fell on my a-- on top of said oil, as there was no resistance to me yanking on the starter cord. I couldn't stop laughing for 5 minutes! I was still laughing, when my father in law backed up the drive, with another new YardMan mower in the back of his truck! In the meantime, my wife and mother in law had both come out of the house to see what I was laughing at. To say the wife was not pleased, is an understatement! Anyways, I helped my father in law unload the second mower, and there were 2 bags, and full paperwork for both mowers, with it! I asked him where he got them, and he replied, "Down the street!" As he was on the way back home, he saw a man pushing the second mower to the curb, and a third mower was in the drive! My father in law stopped and asked what was wrong with the mower, and the man said, " The same as the first! I mowed the wet grass, the chute plugged, I cleaned out the chute, and the engine seized. The shop guy said they had a bunch of these mowers with the same problem, and they must have got a bad batch of engines. The shop told him to throw the mowers out, and come get a replacement!" The man gave all the paperwork to my father in law, as well as the bags! I pulled the spark plug out of the second mower, this time making sure i was not in the same plane as the spark plug hole, gave the starter a yank. Oil blew out of the spark plug hole on this one as well! I washed the plug in carb cleaner, let them dry a few minutes, and installed them in the mowers. They both started on the first pull, and smoked like the shades of hell for a few minutes! My father in law was not impressed by all the smoke! After 4 or 5 minutes, the smoke was gone, and the mowers ran fine. If you have not guessed - the engines were not seized, they had hydraulic lock! when they were turned on their side, oil entered the valve spring chamber. When the engine was righted and the engine was cranked, on the first revolution, this oil was pushed by crankcase pressure into the carb, and then ingested by the engine into the combustion chamber. There was just enough oil to fill the combustion chamber to the point that you could not compress the fluid in it - therefore hydraulic lock! My father in law kept one new mower, and we sold his old one as well as the second new one that same day! (he lives on a busy main road) We both pocketed $75 each! Not bad for 15 minutes work, and a new spark plug!
Old 12-27-2004, 11:54:13 PM
Tim Christoff Tim Christoff is offline
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Default Re: Need some advice on training

Late August my wife and I arrived back home from Russia with our 2 new sons ages 4 and 5. The next day I introduced them to the shop. Within a week I showed them one of my engines and let them examine it for a while. I didn't start it that day but showed them how it went around and how the parts moved, where not to put fingers and hands and the like. I started one up for them a couple of weeks later and they remembered all that I showed them. They are very respectful of engines now and keep back about 4 feet when one is running. They don't even try to get close. The machine shop was a bit more of a challenge though as they wanted to turn handles and move anything that would move (I keep all machines unplugged for this reason). After a couple of weeks of "you can't do that but you can do this (this took some time as I had to try to explain it to them with them not understanding English and me not speaking very good Russian) they got the idea and now when I am running a machine they stay back off to the side or behind me and watch with full attention and will always stay way back when I tell them to. Now they love to carry the tools around that I need and know what tool I need when I need it (this only applies to basic hand tools like hammers, wrenches and screwdrivers). The only real problem I have with them in the shop is the chewing out I get from my wife when they come into the house with grease on their new clothes. I just tell her that the clothes are now work and play clothes but that still doesn't help me out in the sitting down region.
Old 12-28-2004, 12:39:16 PM
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George & Helen Myers George & Helen Myers is offline
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Smile Re: Need some advice on training

Originally Posted by Tim Christoff
Late August my wife and I arrived back home from Russia with our 2 new sons ages 4 and 5. The next day I introduced them to the shop.
Tim, sounded like both you and your wife are really enjoying that new found family! You have probably seen many changes in the boys in those few short months also. Enjoy them! ......Helen

Oh yes, when they get bigger, make sure you teach them that gas lanterns won't light if they don't have fuel! Happy New Year!

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