Book Review: Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred

Book Review: Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred

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Today’s youngsters have plenty of “things” to occupy their time including electronic toys, video games, sport leagues and summer camp. The days when boys and girls pursued scouting seems to have passed, as our children are often scheduled to the point where clubs, camping and community service just aren’t a part of their lives.

Change is definitely good, but not all change is good. Many children are conditioned to being entertained or at least they quickly grow bored and move on to the next big thing before tiring of that. But, parents should take heart: there are many fun activities children can try with parental involvement being an important part that pursuit.

For example, if you would like to do some “seriously geeky stuff” with your sons and daughters then David Erik Nelson’s “Ship, Burn, Solder, Shred,” is one book you’ll want to get (No Starch Press; 2010; $24.95). I was given a copy of Nelson’s book a few weeks back and have been poring over these pages to get an idea of what projects my kids would like to do. There are 24 special projects offered, which means you can do one every weekend for the next six months, almost guaranteeing your kids will learn a lot without being distracted or claim that they are bored.

FEDEX Packages

Take that FEDEX package…literally. If you recently had a package shipped to your home or office, recycling it may mean bundling it up with your other paper products and setting that bundle by the curb for pickup. ¬†Nelson has another idea for used 10×13 Tyvek envelopes: build a diamond or box kite.

In his chapter titled, “FEDEX Kites,” Nelson describes how something as fun a kite can be built from materials you most likely already have around the house. Materials such as clear packing tape, bamboo garden stakes, kite string and a fishing swivel. You’ll also need five or six of those mailing envelopes, so start setting these aside with each delivery.

Nelson describes in great detail how to build each item, taking all 24 projects from conceptualization to application. Step by step instructions with accompanying sketches and photographs help to bring each project to life, just perfect for the person who struggles to build anything without precise guidance. That would be someone like me.

Complex Projects

Some projects take more effort, and tools, to complete including the “Lock-n-Latch Treasure Chest.” As soon as I saw that this project involved working with wood, I moved on as memories of my eighth grade shop class came flooding back in. Needless to say you can move past whatever misgivings you might have and tackle most projects yourself although borrowing a solder or saw may mean some advanced planning on your part.

Other projects are quick builds including the “pop can flyer” made out of empty aluminum soda cans; the “cardboard boomerangs” which require just three tools to build — a pair of scissors, a ruler and a pencil; and the “cheap mesh screen printing” for the artist in you. Yes, there are some amazingly complex projects available too, just perfect for the mom or dad with an engineer’s mind who is willing to impart this talent to their children.

Adv. — Are you ready to tackle your next home project? If so, SayBuild.com has everything you need from spec planning to home building ideas. You can find contractors, obtain financing and use calculators to ensure your project goes according to plan.

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Categories: Book Reviews