American Craftsman Shop Class Update

There has been so much work to do in setting things up for the online school but I am getting closer.

I have a basic setup in place for my website and school platform, so I have moved on to the next step. Right now I am working on getting used to the workflow of recording and becoming familiar with my new audio and video equipment to reduce errors and become more efficient.

Perfect case in point; I did some recording on a clock case project and found that I had not been turning one of the cameras on. That is simply an issue of being unfamiliar with the equipment. That is why the shop update videos are so important, they are good practice for me being in front of the camera as well as working the back side.

I had originally hoped to be starting class sign-ups at the beginning of February, but I think it will be more into the 2nd or 3rd week. This ship needs to leave the dock soon, I haven't had any income since the middle of December and that is a great motivator!

I appreciate your patience and support and hope to see you soon in the American Craftsman Shop Class.

Your friend in the shop -

Todd A. Clippinger

Share the Love - Share the Knowledge

Woodworking For Kids

When it comes to sharing woodworking with my grandkids, I keep it simple. In fact, I really don't care if they take a shine to woodworking, I would just rather they get the opportunity to be creative.

When they come over for a visit, they don't ask if they can do woodworking, they just ask, "Can we build?"

At this point, I have done very few structured projects, I usually just let the kids have at it with the bin of wood scraps. Kids don't need to be told what to build with the scraps, their imaginations kick into high gear and they figure it out naturally.

I call this the "empty box effect." An empty box is an open ended toy and a child's imagination starts exploring all of the possibilities of what the box can become. The same thing happens with the wood scraps.

During the kids' build sessions, there is plenty of opportunity to teach them about safety, how to use the tools, and problem solving skills.

I think that both structured and unstructured projects have their own advantages and lessons to offer, so I do not necessarily value one over the other. But I will admit that structured projects require more prep time because you have to make parts in advance.

When working in the shop, the kids are exposed to a limited set of dangers, but that is an inherent risk of having them in the shop. Overall, the exposure is controlled and gauged according to the abilities of each child.

The fear of allowing kids into the shop will never give them the opportunity to learn self-control and respect for the tools and a somewhat hazardous environment. Personally, I don't see that it is any less hazardous letting kids ride a bike, a skateboard, or jump on a trampoline. I will not allow an unreasonable fear to keep my grandkids from such a valuable learning experience as they have in my shop.

In the end, I am trying to develop a culture of activity, creativity, and exploration in my family. I think all of the benefits of this far outweigh the perceived dangers.

And to think, I have not even mentioned the added benefit of the hours that the kids have spent with me, Grandpa Todd. There is enough content and lessons there for another blog.

I hope you enjoy the video.

Your friend in the shop-

Todd A. Clippinger

Leave a Legacy - Share the Love, Share the Knowledge

Shop Update 15 January, 2016

I am still working hard behind the scenes to get everything set up and get the online classes launched. Here is the latest update from the ACW!

TV lift mechanisms can be found at

Your friend in the shop,

Todd A. Clippinger

Share the Love - Share the Knowledge