Here’s a kick-ass present for your favorite “apprentice” — or “the boy” as my father always called me: a miniature wood workshop complete with a lathe. This looks like a great way to help kids develop and hone skills that should apply well when they’re are ready to step up to the big versions — and will last a lifetime.
The “mini apprentice” workshop combines the functions of five real tools, each capable of the same tasks you’d expect from its big counterpart just in miniature. Children can cut and shape with the reciprocating saw, smooth rough edges with the disk sander, drill holes cleanly and accurately with the drill press, and even make intricate lathe turnings either in freehand mode or using the wheel-guided tool post.
All the tools are driven by the same motor that attaches to each tool much like a ShopSmith — only at about 1/20th scale.
Let us also state for the record that we are not suggesting that you run out and get one these for the young’n and send them off to remove a finger. Always supervise children when using tools of any kind. That said, for $99 bucks I would jump at the opportunity to give a kid the chance to experience woodworking at a young age. I wish I had one when I was little.