Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred is a fantastic book for parents who are interested in creating an atmosphere of camaraderie with their child while also creating cool toys and gizmos. The book promises to entertain and inspire you and your troops and it does not disappoint. The author, David Erik Nelson, was a high school teacher. He developed the projects in this book at an alternative school with input from his students.
Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred has 24 “dangerously cool DIY projects.” It begins with Part I: Kid Stuff, such as a PVC Teepee, Screen Printing, and a Ticklebox. Part II is Electro-Skiffle Band items (using improvised instruments), such as a Thunderdrum and an Electro-Didgeridoo. Part III, The Locomotivated, teaches kids and parents how to move inanimate objects with harnessed steam, compressed air and “esoteric Physics.”
The book is organized by project into Tools required, Supplies needed and directions on Building It. On applicable games, there are directions for how to play or methods of modifying the project for optimum use. Each project has easy to follow instructions. The directions are written in language is comprehensible if you’re an inexperienced Do-It-Yourself-er or if you are an 11-year-old. The difficulty range is from relatively simple to complex with the bulk of the items in the more complicated range. Parental involvement, guidance, and monitoring is a must as there are several tools used that could cut or burn a child who is not paying adequate attention or who is so excited about the project that they aren’t using common sense. For example, the Didgeridoo requires a propane torch with “pencil flame” and is the reason we opted not to create this particular project. My son is already a pyromaniac; there is no need to further stimulate this side of his brain.
When my son saw this book, he became so excited he started dog-earing pages of what he wanted to do. Our biggest struggle was narrowing our project list down to two. I became obsessed with wanting to create the $10 Electric Guitar and the Dirt-Cheap Amp and he predictably became obsessed with the Ticklebox, the Marshmallow Muzzleloader and the Quick-n-Easy Water Rocket.