Friday, December 4, 2009

Check Out This Kid

I know I'm not alone in my enthusiasm for young woodworkers. We all want to see young people take up the hobby or trade. To keep it going for future generations. To experience the same love of working with their hands that we do.

I found this kid on youtube recently. His name is Alex and he's been making and selling pens for the past year to help pay for his college tuition.

Alex plans to go to med school, he shoots and edits his own woodworking videos, and he uses some heavy-duty machinery in his dad's shop. Alex is only 12 years old, but he's quite the entrepreneur. His business is called Pens For College.

Since he's just a kid, some might think he's pushing the "Awwww" factor in his marketing angle. Like the time I was walking my dogs around the block and some neighborhood kids were selling lemonade. One of them, a tiny four-year-old, said (and I quote) "Hey, ya got any money?" I didn't, but I took the dogs home and walked back to their lemonade stand with my 50 cents and drank out of their communal cup. To my horror, they didn't have disposable cups, just two plastic ones that were being used over and over. Yeah, ask me if I'm trying to erase that thought from my memory.

Anyhow, check out Alex's video. He may be 12, he may be cute, but he definitely knows what he's doing in the workshop.


Peter Cales said...

Wow, it's great to see such a young kid working in the shop, especially since so many schools seem to be cutting shop and art classes. It looks like he's really taken the time to learn how to use tools and techniques properly too. Wish I had started doing stuff like that at his age, instead of waiting until I was in my 20's.

Mitchell said...

I was right with you on this one, but when the scene of the kid walking through the shop door came up, my empathy for the kid started to slide. As I continued to watch, that slide's angle increased proportionately with the size, quality and cost of the machines the kid was using.

Being the sucker I am for kids, if this kid was building his college fund through whittling pens with a pocket knife, I'd be online ordering a dozen. Given the size and the way daddy's little workshop is outfitted, though, I think I'll pass.

If daddy can afford that shop, he can afford to put the kid through med school himself.

Kari Hultman said...

Peter, I wish I had the opportunity to start younger, too. I didn't get into woodworking until I was 28.

Mitchell, I was impressed with his work ethic and that he's interested in helping to pay for his college even if his parents can afford it. Kids today... (and here's where I sound like an old curmudgeon) today have it too easy!

Bob Easton said...

Thanks for this one Kari! Very inspiring, and like you, I really like the work ethic.

Now Mitchell, why the empathy slide? For all we know, Dad is in hock trying to make payments on that shop. It may even be a wrong assumption to think it's actually his dad's shop; might be someone else's. We can't begin to know what Dad's business is, whether that shop is part of a business, or if it is profitable. It's a very big jump to assume Dad can afford to pay for med school.

Let's appreciate the lad's initiative, and hope it is somehow contagious. We need more like him.

Eric Madsen said...

Great work on the video... I must say I really liked the music.

I've played a few people who grew up with a pool table in the basement, and they always smoke me. It'll be interesting to see his work in 20 years.

Marv Werner said...

When I was 14 I worked in my Dad's small sawmills off-bearing the headrig and running cants through the edger to saw 2x4,s and 2x6,s. This was a dangerous and backbreaking job during the hot summers in Oregon. My Dad treated me as one of his employees and paid me the going wage at the time. I was the next highest paid except for the sawyer. My Dad placed no limits on me due to age. He helped me gain great confidence in myself.

Not all, but most kids of today are who and what they are because of their parents coddling them and limiting them in so many ways. These limitations effect the person as he/she grows older and then negatively effects our entire nation.

Alex deserves most of the credit for his desire and abilities, but lets give some credit to both of his parents, assuming of course he has two parents. In any case, there's lots of good stuff going on between a young adult and who ever is mentoring him.

Docwks said...

That is really cool! I'm a little envious of the shop, but I will say this for Alex, most kids if there dad had money and a shop would be sitting on their behinds playing video games and texting their buds. Alex is using the resouces he has to do something..anything besides sitting on his keester vegitating. I mean I know what it takes to put together that video and you can't do it watching TV. Way to go Alex and I will be in line when you open your private practice, any kid with that much drive is going to make a great MD! I know of what I speak, I have a 19 year old. Oh well, I still love him.

PhillipT said...

While have a shop that is equipped that well, he is still taking the initiative and doing the work himself. I've gotta say he turns out some BEAUTIFUL pens! He has got a lot of talent.

Here's a link to a photo album.

Drako said...

I hope he makes it into medical school. It's a long road ahead for him. I know because I did it. I think he has a good chance given what is shown here.

As for his dad/parents paying his medical school cost, they need approximately $150,000-$200,000 in today dollars. That's just for 4 years of medical school, not counting college, etc. It might be double or triple these figures by the time he gets there.

I like his choice of music!

Grover said...

Alex is great. I have met him a couple of times. He is part of a local NC forum with his dad that I am a member of. The kid can flat turn a pen. He has a real eye for it. We try and encourage him to keep it up and to pursue other avenues of woodworking as well. As you can see he has a pretty nice setup.

Kari Hultman said...

Grover, thanks for confirming that Alex really does make the pens. I know at least one person had his doubts. Glad to hear that you guys are nudging him toward other types of woodworking. I'm sure he'd be good at other things as well.