liability and the use of power tools at workshops

How to have useful construction workshops.
loren.phillips
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liability and the use of power tools at workshops

Post by loren.phillips » Thu Oct 10, 2013 2:37 pm

I have researched this topic on Derby Talk and have found a lot of discussion, but no definitive answers. So I am starting this new thread in hopes of getting useful input.

The issue is about the use of power tools by scouts at PWD workshops and the liability should someone get hurt.

Our pack has never had a workshop where a car can actually be built in the workshop. This year we want to have this kind of workshop – actually build the cars in the workshop. It will be a “first”. The purpose of the workshops are to provide the parent/scout team with the resources and expertise to build a car, feel good about it, learn something, develop skills, and enjoy time together.

The pack wants to conduct the workshops at the den level (i.e. a separate workshop for each den). This year there will be a special prize for “fastest den”. The idea of the prize (and the den level workshops) is to promote cooperation within the den, have parent/scout teams share car building skills and knowledge, share speed tricks, attenuate/eliminate the secrecy surrounding car building, try to give each den the feeling they are a member of a den team, and give them an opportunity to win a special prize that all den members can be proud of. The workshops will be conducted at the private residence of a former den leader in his garage.

The workshops will not be part of den or pack meetings. They will be separate from and independent of any den or pack meetings. The workshop safety rules (at the moment) are: (1) safety glasses shall be worn at all times while in the workshop, (2) power tools are only to be operated by a knowledgeable adult, and (3) no horseplay or loud noises. Other safety equipment (gloves, ear protection) will be provided.

One member of the PWD committee (member A) has argued that:”all scouts should have hands on for all aspects of building the car…Council and BSA do not allow scouts to use power tools…therefore no power tools in the workshop…Cars should be cut out and built completely by hand”.

Another member of the PWD committee (member B) argued that: “the purpose of the workshop is to provide resources and expertise so the parent/scout team can build their car…the workshop should provide those resources, including power tools (scroll saws, drills presses, band saws are available to use)…the parent/scout team should make the decision about whether the scout actually uses a power tool at the workshop…if the decision is to use power tools at the workshop, the workshop safety rules apply…only a knowledgeable adult can use power tools…the parent or another adult will cut the car and/or drill holes in the car as needed with the scout watching…the scout will participate in all other car building activities... the BSA prohibition on use of power tools by scouts is still valid and upheld”.

Member A then argues that the scout is not participating in all car building aspects and that defeats the purpose of the pinewood derby.

I am the PWD committee chairman for this year, and as such, I am caught in the middle of this argument. The issue is about the BSA policy of not allowing scouts to use power tools, and the liability of workshops coordinators should someone get hurt.

I have considerded running the workshop with no power tools at all. Blocks will be cut be hand; holes will be drilled with a pin vise; axles will be polished without a drill. I am not sure how much fun this kind of a workshop will be, but it can be done. Question: Is this worth doing?

I have considered putting the decision about power tools use in the hands of individual parents, but the criticism of that parents' scout not participating in all aspects of pinewood derby bvuiolding stills remains.

I am asking the Derby Talk community to provide input on what you think is fair, equitable, and legal in this situation; what is the right thing to do?

So I have some questions for the derby talk community:
(1) Is liability for workshop coordinators an issue if the workshop is being held at a private residence? Particularly if the owner of the residence says it is OK for the den and den scouts to use power tools at his house?

(2) Does anybody in this community know how to resolve the argument between committee member A and B?

(3) Does anybody in this community have a definitive WRITTEN statement about what BSA allows and prohibits at PWD workshops with regard to power tools?



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Re: liability and the use of power tools at workshops

Post by FatSebastian » Thu Oct 10, 2013 3:21 pm

loren.phillips wrote:(3) Does anybody in this community have a definitive WRITTEN statement about what BSA allows and prohibits at PWD workshops with regard to power tools?
Check the BSA Guide to Safe Scouting, 2013 printing. Starting on p. 75, it includes a table of age guidelines for tool usage. Tools that are specifically mentioned:

CUB ALLOWED (Youth up to age 14):
screwdrivers
nail hammer
handsaw
Wood sanding block (handheld)
Wood chisel (Scouts with Totin’ Chip)
Pocketknife (Scouts with Whittling Chip or Totin’ Chip)

NOT CUB ALLOWED (Youth 14 Years and Older):
Screwdriver (electric)
Handheld sander (small)
Cutting tools (e.g., Dremel®, small)
Paint sprayer (small, less than 50 psi)

NOT CUB ALLOWED (Youth 16 Years and Older):
Belt sander (electric, cordless)
Circular, reciprocating, jig, or radial saw
Band and scroll saws
Router/planer.

An overarching guideline includes (p. 75, 2013): "if in doubt, adults should be recruited for all tool use or job functions that might be dangerous." A general rule of thumb in place for years has been that power tools (e.g., anything that uses household current) is off-limits for Cubs.

Note that if a unit does not follow the Guide, then technically the unit is not practicing "Safe Scouting" and thus the unit may not be fully protected under BSA liability insurance.



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Re: liability and the use of power tools at workshops

Post by FatSebastian » Thu Oct 10, 2013 3:47 pm

loren.phillips wrote:(2) Does anybody in this community know how to resolve the argument between committee member A and B?
Ultimately, if committee disputes cannot be resolved internally, the ultimate recourse is to take them to your unit's Chartered Organization Representative (COR), the liaison between your Scouting unit and the organization that holds the charter for your unit. Note that the Chartered Organization is potentially liable for accidents caused by violations of Safe-Scouting practice at a Scouting event, so it is in the interest of the Chartered Organization to verify that Safe Scouting is always in force.



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Re: liability and the use of power tools at workshops

Post by whodathunkit » Thu Oct 10, 2013 7:40 pm

I'm not sure if this older topic on sibling racing-liabilty (for CubMobile racing)
That I was just reading over will be of any use for this topic..
http://www.derbytalk.com/viewtopic.php?f=52&t=4508" target="_blank

But I do think FS, is right on track with his thoughts.
As these two topic's have just opend my eye's to a hole new world on liabilty!

Additional information on coverage,limits,ect..
may be obtained by conacting your Council service center.


What type of automobile can be spelled the same forwards & backwards?

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Re: liability and the use of power tools at workshops

Post by BallBoy » Thu Oct 10, 2013 9:07 pm

loren.phillips wrote:(2) Does anybody in this community know how to resolve the argument between committee member A and B?
Something I would insert into the argument for having power tools at a workshop is this. Inherent in many scouting requirements is to do something with an adult. In the Bear requirements alone there are more than a dozen things a Cub Scout can do that require an adult's help (e.g. bake cookies, fix an appliance). Some even use the words "with an adult's help" (see elective #7). It is unreasonable to think that the BSA expects a Scout to do every step of some of these activities, which is why an adult's help is solicited. Some Boy Scout requirements are impossible to do without an adult doing all the work (e.g. Aviation merit badge).

I have mentioned a few times in posts that I am a hobby woodworker and have sufficient power tools to make a pinewood derby car. A couple of years ago I decided I would build a car from scratch using only hand tools. As someone who knows wood and knows his way around both hand and power tools, I hope to never build one using strictly hand tools again. One Webelos project that I worked on once upon a time involved the scouts cross-cutting a piece of pine that was 1/4" thick by 1" wide. It took the scouts about 60 seconds to cut through the piece. It took me about 5 seconds using the same saw they used. The above-mentioned car took me 7-10 minutes to cut out with a coping saw. I can see many scouts wanting to give up on the car after cutting it out by hand - I almost wanted to. A bandsaw can do in 60 seconds what a coping saw can do in 5-10 minutes.

FS provided some excellent information on the BSA's position and potential liabilities. The BSA does have a page devoted specifically to the pinewod derby (http://www.scouting.org/training/adult/ ... ewood.aspx). In the article they suggest doing a workshop. Among the items they suggest having are
Make sure that you have tools (power drills, screw drivers, coping saws, etc.)...
Notice that they included a power drill, which is specifically prohibited according to the information FS posted. I would argue that this is not a BSA contradiction, but rather an implication that power tools can be included in a pinewood derby car build.

Concidentally, tonight I hosted the last of a series of build workshops for our pack's derby next week. These workshops were hosted by me and were not Pack sponsored. I recognize that I assume the liability and am fine with that. I do allow scouts to use a drill press, provided that an adult (i.e. parent) is using it with them and guides them through the procedure. I don't allow scouts to touch the bandsaw, even when not running. One scout brought a finished car body tonight to show while he worked on wheels and axles. It looked spectacular and the only thing the scout didn't do was cut it out. He traced the design, drilled holes for weight, added weight, sanded, and painted it. He did all the work on axles and wheels. I'm sure if you asked him who build his car he would say that he did.

Good luck with your upcoming derby. Please let us know what your committee ends up doing.



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Re: liability and the use of power tools at workshops

Post by FatSebastian » Thu Oct 10, 2013 10:21 pm

loren.phillips wrote:(1) Is liability for workshop coordinators an issue if the workshop is being held at a private residence? Particularly if the owner of the residence says it is OK for the den and den scouts to use power tools at his house?
I am not a lawyer (although I have been accused of it). ;) Hopefully someone more qualified will address the question, but generally speaking, I would suppose that one is liable if a court says so, or else one willingly accepts liability. If somebody gets hurt on your property, your homeowner's insurance may include some liability coverage. Although the risks seem small, if Jimmy's dad cuts off the tip of his finger, he could still attempt to sue (the insurance companies of) the homeowner, the tool owner, the tool manufacturer, the Pack, the Chartered Organization, the BSA, and so on, regardless of the location.

However, one may need to be cautious when claiming that a particular activity is scheduled "separate from and independent of any den or pack meetings," especially if it involves some seemingly controversial activity. BSA literature suggests that den meetings are traditionally held at private residences (the Chartered Organization is only required to supply a meeting place for Pack meetings) so that is not necessarily a criterion that makes an activity "separate" or "independent". If a den meets as a group to work on a project related to Cub Scouting, it may be hard to claim that it is "separate from and independent of any den meetings", especially if it was advertised through normal Pack means and discussed at the committee meetings. Plus, you are not covered by BSA insurance if it is separate. I suggest just sticking to the BSA Guide for Safe Scouting (e.g., adult use of power tools) and you should be fine.
BallBoy wrote:In the article they suggest doing a workshop. Among the items they suggest...
Good stuff from BallBoy. As a BSA guideline, I think this training unit offers some perspectives that support Committee Member B. For example, under the section How much parent participation will you allow in the construction process?, it notes "One way of making sure that only Cub Scouts and their dads (or moms or other adults) have built the car is to require that cars all be built in a single location using common and shared tools." Thus, from the perspective of the guide, the intent of a workshop is to insure no third-party involvement (e.g., "a professional pinewood derby car builder") rather than constrain parental involvement.



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Re: liability and the use of power tools at workshops

Post by Darin McGrew » Fri Oct 11, 2013 12:27 am

I am not a lawyer, and I have not been involved with BSA for decades. With that in mind...
loren.phillips wrote:One member of the PWD committee (member A) has argued that:”all scouts should have hands on for all aspects of building the car…Council and BSA do not allow scouts to use power tools…therefore no power tools in the workshop…Cars should be cut out and built completely by hand”.
I don't consider the derby to be a child-only project. I consider the derby to be a parent-child project (or a mentor-child project, for kids who aren't working on their car with a parent). As such, I don't see the point in artificially limiting the parent's (or mentor's) involvement, especially when it comes to tasks that the kids can't do safely on their own (like using many power tools).

Since before I started working with our derby, our workshops have provided band saws (operated only by adults), hand drills (operated by adult-child teams when polishing axles), and lead melting pots (operated only by adults). In recent years, we provide drill presses (operated by adult-child teams when pressing axle holes) and bench sanders (operated by children and/or adults when shaping/smoothing blocks).

But we don't have to worry about BSA's policies. And we don't have any leaders arguing against providing access to power tools.



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Re: liability and the use of power tools at workshops

Post by whodathunkit » Fri Oct 11, 2013 9:09 am

loren.phillips wrote:

Member A then argues that the scout is not participating in all car building aspects and that defeats the purpose of the pinewood derby.

I am the PWD committee chairman for this year, and as such, I am caught in the middle of this argument. The issue is about the BSA policy of not allowing scouts to use power tools, and the liability of workshops coordinators should someone get hurt.

I have considered putting the decision about power tools use in the hands of individual parents, but the criticism of that parents' scout not participating in all aspects of pinewood derby bvuiolding stills remains.

I am asking the Derby Talk community to provide input on what you think is fair, equitable, and legal in this situation; what is the right thing to do?
I would offer to Member A
(maybe.. some food for thought )
About what workshops do offer up for the kids..

By saying that workshops offer up an added bonus for the kids..
by reduceing the numbers.. of just Dad alone-built cars in your packs derby.
And that it puts it right back in the hands of a Parent & Child project..
working together as a Team to get the car built.

Now or days more & more single Mom's and even Grandparents..
are helping the child with the car building aspects..
And I don't see anything wrong about it.


What type of automobile can be spelled the same forwards & backwards?

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Re: liability and the use of power tools at workshops

Post by loren.phillips » Fri Oct 11, 2013 5:22 pm

There have been so many great responses to my original post. I am having trouble keeping up. It will take me most of the weeekend to absorb what has already been said.

FS, your comments have a lot of insight. Thank you.



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Re: liability and the use of power tools at workshops

Post by TXDerbyDad » Sun Oct 13, 2013 9:52 pm

loren.phillips wrote:Our pack has never had a workshop where a car can actually be built in the workshop. This year we want to have this kind of workshop – actually build the cars in the workshop. It will be a “first”. The purpose of the workshops are to provide the parent/scout team with the resources and expertise to build a car, feel good about it, learn something, develop skills, and enjoy time together.

The pack wants to conduct the workshops at the den level (i.e. a separate workshop for each den). This year there will be a special prize for “fastest den”. The idea of the prize (and the den level workshops) is to promote cooperation within the den, have parent/scout teams share car building skills and knowledge, share speed tricks, attenuate/eliminate the secrecy surrounding car building, try to give each den the feeling they are a member of a den team, and give them an opportunity to win a special prize that all den members can be proud of. The workshops will be conducted at the private residence of a former den leader in his garage.
We have at least one workshop every year, and this year we're having two to work with people who can't make the first. We usually have ours on a Saturday during the day, and have the Tigers show up first, then the Wolves an hour later, the Bears an hour later, then the Webelos. Technically it is not a Pack organized activity as it is organized by the shop owner and he invites the boys to his shop with their parents, but it is completely optional. I go, but I show up as a parent, not a leader.

I like the idea of having a fastest den award to promote sharing speed tips. It creates a very interesting dynamic. How do you award for that? One trophy or a set of team trophies?
One member of the PWD committee (member A) has argued that:”all scouts should have hands on for all aspects of building the car…Council and BSA do not allow scouts to use power tools…therefore no power tools in the workshop…Cars should be cut out and built completely by hand”.
That's a wrongheaded belief in my opinion. You'll spend all day trying to do everything by hand with just one Scout, much less several dens. I know, because until last year my boys and I used nothing but hand tools except for my drill and dremel to build our cars, and it took days with me and my boys building.
Another member of the PWD committee (member B) argued that: “the purpose of the workshop is to provide resources and expertise so the parent/scout team can build their car…the workshop should provide those resources, including power tools (scroll saws, drills presses, band saws are available to use)…the parent/scout team should make the decision about whether the scout actually uses a power tool at the workshop…if the decision is to use power tools at the workshop, the workshop safety rules apply…only a knowledgeable adult can use power tools…the parent or another adult will cut the car and/or drill holes in the car as needed with the scout watching…the scout will participate in all other car building activities... the BSA prohibition on use of power tools by scouts is still valid and upheld”.
This is much more reasonable, and in my mind MUCH more in the line of the purpose of the derby. It's supposed to be a time for the Parent or Parent and Akela to work with the Cub to teach them about tools, how to build a car, physics, etc. The second page of the Cub Scout Parent Guide http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/520-259.pdfdoes a pretty good job of saying that it's a parent and child activity, with the parent helping the child. I quote:

"One unique thing about Cub Scouting is that you, as his family, join in on the program with your son, and you will help him along the way. The family is the basis of Cub Scouting. It exists to support your family and help enrich your family time together. Boys have a different handbook at each grade level, with suggested activities that are age-appropriate for their developmental level. As your boy advances through these books by working on activities with you, he will earn badges and other recognition that he can wear on his uniform. Your son’s success in Cub Scouting depends on you!"
Member A then argues that the scout is not participating in all car building aspects and that defeats the purpose of the pinewood derby.
Personally, I think each boy should be involved in the building of his car as much as is appropriate for his age, but few Tigers do everything let alone most of the work on their own car. Further, I would say the biggest issue with Derby is that Dad's tend to take over creation of the cars, if not completely cutting out the boys, and that's a bad thing. Workshops get around this by ensuring that the boy has a say in the building of his car and a role in doing as much of the work as possible, and introduces public accountability. A father is going to be much less likely to take over completely if other adults are watching. Member A, to put it bluntly, is missing the forest for the trees and is in jeopardy of throwing out the baby with the bath water (mixed metaphors for the win! :D )

That said, the shop owner does not allow the Cubs to use power tools at our workshops, but the only power tool we use is a bandsaw that is operated by the shop owner who allows us to use his workshop. He has a bunch of body templates, and the boys pick out which one they want, trace it onto their car body, and then he cuts it out for them. They even watch as he does it wearing appropriate safety gear and at a safe distance. Then, they sand the block, do any shaping with hand tools, use a pin vise to drill holes if they want, etc. We encourage them not to mount their wheels to the block until they've painted it as well as telling them that wheel and axle prep is important and giving them an overview of what they need to do. Then we send them home.
I am the PWD committee chairman for this year, and as such, I am caught in the middle of this argument. The issue is about the BSA policy of not allowing scouts to use power tools, and the liability of workshops coordinators should someone get hurt.
I am the PWD committee chairman, and while I accept all input of the committee members, I am a benevolent dictator. :) There's a lot that can be done at a workshop when done with appropriate adult supervision or adult doing the work a Scout can't do. And while the BSA says a Cub can't use a drill, I'd say any Cub should be able to safely polish their axles chucked into a drill, but we encourage that work to be done at home because they can't do it at the workshop.
I have considerded running the workshop with no power tools at all. Blocks will be cut be hand; holes will be drilled with a pin vise; axles will be polished without a drill. I am not sure how much fun this kind of a workshop will be, but it can be done. Question: Is this worth doing?
If you do it this way, I'd be interested to see if you have any takers the next year. My guess is attendance would be down drastically because it would ultimately be an unpleasant experience, especially for those who are leaning on you heavily to get their car built. I would also say that it is impossible to properly polish axles without power tools.
So I have some questions for the derby talk community:
(1) Is liability for workshop coordinators an issue if the workshop is being held at a private residence? Particularly if the owner of the residence says it is OK for the den and den scouts to use power tools at his house?
If it's run by the Pack, it's a Pack activity, and there is definitely liability there. Whether it's covered by your Council/District insurance is something you'd need to ask your District or Council. You could treat it as a Go See It and get a Tour Permit, but power tool restrictions would definitely apply. We handle it by having it be an invitation to each individual Scout by the owner so it's not really an activity run by the Pack.
(2) Does anybody in this community know how to resolve the argument between committee member A and B?
If you only have committee chair, member A, and member B (three total), is a two person majority not enough to resolve the issue and move on? When in doubt, make an executive decision as the committee chair.
(3) Does anybody in this community have a definitive WRITTEN statement about what BSA allows and prohibits at PWD workshops with regard to power tools?
BSA has a list of what tools Scouts of all ages can and cannot use. Unfortunately, the power tools most often used to make Pinewood Derby cars are only allowed for use by adults 18 and older according to the BSA Age Guidelines for Tool Use and Work at Elevations and Excavations http://scoutingmagazine.files.wordpress ... s-2012.pdf, which is generally considered to be the definitive guide of age restrictions for all Scouts and tool use. It also states that manufacturer restrictions and guidelines for age appropriateness can supersede the guidelines, and that pretty much means . It also states this very important statement that you might want to relay to Member A: "The table below is not comprehensive; if in doubt, adults should be recruited for all tool use or job functions that might be dangerous."

Just some food for thought, and good luck! :thumbup:

EDITED TO ADD: Last year, our Council and Sears ran a Derby workshop that had power tools available to the Scouts and their Akela, so I'm not sure how they got around the BSA guidelines, or even if they realized they applied.



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Re: liability and the use of power tools at workshops

Post by whodathunkit » Mon Oct 14, 2013 5:20 pm

Wow! That's a good deal of info for tools.

So if i wanted to hold a work shop with tools that the kids could use..
(That are not seen on any of the listings)

I could go low-tech with pedal powed and handcrank wood working tools ?

Foot-Powerd lathe's, Foot-Powerd scroll saws, Foot-powerd shaveing horses,
Pedal power table saw. (Hand crank tools /drill press.)

What about the old Antique water powerd / belt & pully system tools?
(also not seen on the lists of tools.)

How would these Antique tools classify if there not seen on the list for the kids?

Funny I mention these tool types.. as some are still used today with woodworking...
Anyhow I thought I'd bring up some tools that I diden't see listed. ;)


What type of automobile can be spelled the same forwards & backwards?

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Re: liability and the use of power tools at workshops

Post by Darin McGrew » Mon Oct 14, 2013 8:46 pm

whodathunkit wrote:I could go low-tech with pedal powed and handcrank wood working tools ?
I wonder whether Roy Underhill has ever done a derby episode on The Woodwright's Shop...



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Re: liability and the use of power tools at workshops

Post by whodathunkit » Tue Oct 15, 2013 6:31 pm

Darin McGrew wrote:I wonder whether Roy Underhill has ever done a derby episode on The Woodwright's Shop...
That's a good question Darin.
http://shopclass.popularwoodworking.com ... ideos.aspx" target="_blank
Shall we watch? ;)

Maybe we can hone up on some of the old time tools & woodworking skills.
I'm up for turning my old hand held crank drill into a rotary sander if needed..
Just as I used to do as a kid in my grandfathers woodshop.

Man as a kid I thought of all kinds of way's to make sanding ez and fun with that old crank drill.


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Re: liability and the use of power tools at workshops

Post by Shawn Stebleton » Thu Oct 17, 2013 8:17 pm

What about hands-over-hands? How does this fit into the BSA policy?

At our Pinewood Derby Fun Day, I've offered Webelos-aged kids (fourth-grade and older) an opportunity, with parental approval, to place their hands on my Dremel plunge router handles while I place my hands over theirs. Together, we rout out weight pockets or whatever the child's design involves. They get the "feel" of how it works, kicks, bites, etc., while I actually operate the equipment. The child is more involved in building his/her car this way. Safety glasses are a must, of course. Anyone with long hair (so far only girls) must have it in a pony tail and tucked inside the back collar of the shirt.

I think the BSA policy applies to the child actually operating the various tools. What about the adult operating the tool with the child's hands on it? That's unclear to me. I'm mostly interested in my setup, as I intend to continue it at the workshops my Pack has. I also realize that each tool is different and what may be OK for this one might not be OK for another. For example, I would not have a child place his hands on a wood block and have an adult place his/her hands over the child's and cut the block on a band saw.

I also have a Dremel Moto Shop scroll saw (the very first power tool I ever used, which I used with my dad's help in making my Pinewood Derby cars!) and would think it would be safer than most power tools for a child to use with adult hands-over-hands.

I'm not a woodworker by any stretch of the imagination, as am self-taught in this area. I wish I knew more and had more time and funds to develop better skills at it.

Even with my limitations and rudimentary knowledge, who knows? I might inspire someone to get into woodworking in his/her future.


Shawn

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Re: liability and the use of power tools at workshops

Post by jzarvey » Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:52 am

I would ask Member A to cite the specific language that says the Scout must participate hands on. I am sure that he will be unable to come up with that citation. From all that I have seen, the Scout is to participate in the building process. Now we have to define "participate."

In my opinion, if I have my child watch(with proper safety gear worn) as I cut his car out on a bandsaw, explaining what I am doing and the safety concerns for that machine, he has participated in that step of the construction process and has learned something about safety and the use of a bandsaw. The PWD, in my opinion, is about (1) spending time with our sons, (2) our sons learning, and lastly (3) the competition.


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