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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Going "camping" this weekend with some friends and their kids. Lots of things change with youngsters. Camping is pulling up to the campsite in your mini van and unloading skillets and camp stoves and air mattresses...ugg :) Before kids I would pack up a bag, a sheet, a homemade campstove of spirits and a coke can, the top of my toothbrush, and a hammock and water filter and hike miles.

Anyway... I am going to try and teach these kids about carving. So instead of worrying about sharp knives, I made some tater carvers and we are going to use them on sweet potatoes.
Wood is Choke cherry sapling, very dry, cut down and belt sanded to look like a chip carver, then impregnated with superglue. (super glue soaks in and gives strength to thin areas) I then used flat surface and high grit sandpaper to give an edge as I would a real blade and added some more super glue.

Won't cut them but sure will the potato.

I'll try to take pics of the kids at work and post them Monday.
 

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Great idea.Take their phones away from them and you have a chance.The tater carving looks like a great way to start. Good luck!!
 

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Way cool! Don't know how old the kids are. I spent many happy weeks w. a pen knife and some soft wood blocks carving neckerchief slides when I was 12. As I recall, all the faces I did ended up looking something like Easter Island stone heads.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ages are 6-11. No cell phones (my girls won't have one until they can pay for one, even then we'll have to talk :) )

This will just be an intro into following instructions, knife safety and learning cuts.

I will quarter the potatoes, depending on size may even cut them in half so they will have at least 4 tries if not 8

This will give them the facial plane to start with and then we'll go over making a simple face like my post on wood spirits and stick integrity.
 

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So how did the tater carving go?

I would have had a hard time not baking them in the campfire!
 

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Great project. I bet they had a time. I did something similar with some cub scouts a few years ago. I made the tools out of ice cream sticks. You can harden the wood with a couple of coats of thin supper glue on the blade area and cutting edges. It also works to keep moisture out of the wood from the sweet potato's.
 

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Sounds like great fun.

I may even get some carving practice in myself.

If worse comes to worse, I'd be eating a lot of smashed potatos.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The older end kids did ok. Nothing to write home about of course. But it was a great intro into the world of carving. They were disappointed I wasn't giving them 'real' knives :)

It was also good for me on how to improve on what and how I would teach anyone else. I'm all self taught, to explaining things can be a challenge.

I walked them through safety and how to cut. In the end it devolved into piles of knicked up wedges. Forgot to take pictures :(

I think they all enjoyed it and took their little carvers home with them.

CV3, yes sir I actually coated the blades, then used high grit sandpaper to refine an edge and added another coat. I did lose a couple of tips, but if it had been wood they probably would have broken a real chip carver too, so a good teaching point on how not to use them.
 
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