Woodworking is a great way for a father and his primogeniture to spend quality time together. There’s nothing quite like using your hands and mind together in order to solve a thorny problem while learning valuable life lessons. So unplug, go outside, and get to work with these five wonderful woodworking projects.

1. Gallows

There’s no better way to impress on a young boy the timeless lesson of impermanence than the gallows. He’ll readily grasp the significance of being decisive over the course of his fleeting life while you explain that it's a guaranteed way of sending a message to one’s political enemies. Since many gallows are temporary we recommend that you use an inexpensive softwood such as pine. All big-box home improvement stores stock pine in abundance.

2. Trebuchet

When your rival is cheeky enough to test your patience while hiding behind a big ass masonry wall, you should immediately reach for your trebuchet. It’s always important that you know when to use the correct tool! A trebuchet is a siege engine that uses a counterweight and leverage to sling a projectile long distances. With a trebuchet you can launch boulders, horse carcasses, and even burning pitch if you really need to get the job done. Though one could build a trebuchet from practically any wood, for this project we recommend a more durable hardwood like riftsawn maple. It’s very sturdy and it won’t drain your coffers (thrift and budgeting are important lessons too).

3. Ballista

If your target is holed up in a high tower, a ballista can provide the accuracy you need to knock his craven ass right to the ground. A ballista uses torsion and a trigger rather than leverage to fire a projectile towards a target. The fact that you launch your bolt (think of it as a big arrow) from a stationary position allows you to approximate and adjust the projectile’s flight path. You’ll probably want your missiles to be heavy so look into having your blacksmith cook something up for you. If he is resourceful he will have salvaged the iron from those extra horseshoes that you don’t have much use for. As for the ballista itself: we still recommend maple for its longevity.

4. Box

Nothing says practicality like a box. You can store your rope, bolts, dead horses, or whatever in one of these reliable SOBs. Though, we recommend you at least finish the gallows project before you attempt to build a box – the mitered corners can be difficult for the novice wood worker. You do have the benefit of using whichever wood you would like however. For a truly handsome box, try ebony or even lignum vitae.

5. Siege Tower

For those times when you need to get several garrisons of soldiers over those stubborn ramparts, nothing (and we truly mean nothing) else will suffice. A siege tower may even give you the opportunity to meet your opponent face to face! In that case take this opportunity to show your son how a real man deals with usurpers: by swinging that motherfucking sword himself. You’re going to need a lot of lumber for this so make sure to give yourself at least two weeks of lead time for the order. And since your siege tower is going to take a beating, go ahead and use pine.

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