Making the Steel Bridge

We built my son’s 3rd grade Steel Bridge project on the CNC router. First we made drawings of the Steel Bridge from photographs. With these drawings, we cut out the pieces of the bridge on the CNC router. We cut the pieces from ¼ inch birch plywood with an 1/8 inch router bit. We glued and pin nailed the pieces together to create the bridge. The model moves like the real bridge – the lower and upper decks can move independently out of the way of boats on the river.

Some of the tools used in this project
Cantilever Clamps:
DEWALT DW618 2-1/4 HP Router:
Whiteside Router Bit 1/8-Inch:
Milwaukee 18-volt Compact Drill:
Oshlun 8-1/2-Inch Negative Hook Finishing ATB Saw Blade:
FastCap Glu-Bot Glue Bottle:
3M Peltor H10A Optime 105 Earmuff:
3M Peltor Junior Earmuff:
wood turning tools:

Frank Howarth – Father, husband, and interested in architecture at a small scale expressed through woodworking and film making.

To see upcoming projects follow me on social media





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  1. Gord Roberts
    July 26, 2016

    Calvin's a lucky young man to have such a great mentor. I learn something of value from every video, thanks so much for sharing. Cheers, Gord

  2. Agustín Burroni
    August 15, 2016

    Your son seems pretty curious 'bout everything he was doing, that's good sign! Being curious is underated to be honest.

  3. Fernando Bayo Niederheitmann
    August 19, 2016

    That is one lucky kid. I never had that with my dad (not even close). Both should treasure that bond (and the fact that your kid, besides being extremely fortunate, has the chance of learning such cool stuff, while working with tools and that awesome CNC machine). Congratulations. 🙂

  4. Keiran Marley
    August 21, 2016

    Great job. Frank, what do you do for your job?

  5. ᖇᗩᑎ 1
    August 22, 2016

    this kid lucked out and landed in a family with a Dad who is involved and intelligent beyond his own understanding, he's fucking educated and has cool shit in his garage.. (pretty sure that's a gnarly garage)

  6. Voxel Lab
    August 24, 2016

    Great job you guys A++. At 0:51 Out of the mouth of babes "what did you learn" "Autocad is confusing" Hey Autodesk are you paying attention? That's your future market telling you your software needs work.

  7. Chris Day
    August 24, 2016

    Tell him to check out the transporter bridge and Newport bridge, both in Middlesbrough uk

  8. starry_night_TV
    August 30, 2016

    Nice job I want to be an architectural engineer when I grow up and I like making scale model bridge. Right now I'm making the Rialto bridge in Venice Italy

  9. Hubert Kula
    September 1, 2016

    I like the laaaaaaaaaathe, it was very fuuuuuuuuuuuuun

  10. Vigil Ante
    September 15, 2016

    Very nice! You are a great Dad, and woodworker.

  11. Alan Lapp
    September 17, 2016

    I watched this when it was first posted. I recently took a trip to Port Townsend Washington for the Wooden Boat Festival, and rode through Portland. I saw this bridge from the highway, and immediately thought of you and your son.

    Keep up the great work, Frank.

  12. Peter Haughton
    September 23, 2016

    frank I have seen you and your grandson build that Awesome bridge before frank it's so good that you're grandson enjoyed him .but taken great care that he understood that to not work the most dangerous machinery .the project was a brain tesser just as we you had an c and n machine .what a great project for a young kid to work to and was listening to you frank am so proud of you both my he find that woodworkeriig is fun as long as he was switch on mate

  13. Peter Haughton
    September 25, 2016

    sorry frank

  14. Peter Haughton
    September 25, 2016

    I do apologise frank

  15. LaBeefy101
    October 4, 2016

    Wow, Calvin is growing up so fast! Interesting build, both of you!

  16. Jake Kim
    October 19, 2016

    is calvin old enough to use the scroll saw?

  17. TexasGTO
    October 28, 2016

    He will never know the struggle that is popsicle sticks…

  18. Honeyroll P. Hams
    October 30, 2016

    honestly this is a great teaching moment, and there's a LOT of comments about "well just give him some sticks and glue and let HIM do it" like, I GET that way of thinking, but this was infinitely more helpful to the Calvin than just making him figure it out on his own with skinny sticks, tacky glue and an air of smugness or pity when the result isn't Perfect. Learning through doing, getting a GREAT example and 101 introduction to very complex ideas with a knowledgeable person, and all that problem solving with the weights and magnets! Guidance, assistance and teaching isn't bad. It's how it should be. Not to mention he was very present during the building and design process this wasn't FOR him it was WITH him.

    These types of assignments at that grade level are about research and the thought process and the write up (why this bridge? is there anything interesting I learned in my research about it? how do I think it works? what did I get wrong and how did I fix it? what did I learn? what would I do differently if I had to do it again?). The model is always really cool and worth part of the mark, but it's the concepts and problem solving that are important to the development and education of the kid and that was handled beautifully here.

    Good job 10/10 without a shadow of a doubt he'll have learned more with this type of guidance and working relationship with a parent than with craft glue, a 3 week deadline, a child's understanding of the rubric and a prayer.

  19. Sal V
    November 5, 2016

    that's great that you incorporate little people into the 3 kids love coming into my shop but it's taken about 2 years of safety yells,and safety "I said not to touch anything daddy hasn't approved that you could TOUCH! THAT'S IT FOR TODAY…EVERYONE OUT!" then 2 of the 3 will say either "ahhhh Gracie ( 8 )" or "ahhhh Aaron (11 )" or finally, and usually "ahhhh Adrian (5)! why don't you ever listen! "'s great to watch others share the shop with the little loved ones as well.thanks for sharing

  20. Robert Elmer
    November 21, 2016

    So cool! I didn't realize you lived in Portland as well! Glad to be a recent sub 🙂

  21. laki74
    November 26, 2016

    More kids should be doing practical work with their hands, instead of playing video games and being on social media all day.

  22. Greg Gilhooly
    January 2, 2017

    I'm so torn. I love seeing a Dad teaching his child and exposing his child to how things can be made and I understand how the adult cannot allow the child to use tools not appropriate for his age. Yet I find myself also wishing that the child was leading, making mistakes and a complete mess of things with less perfect tools and materials. Still, like most everything, this is neither all good nor all bad and there is no question the child is learning something in spite of my concerns. Live and let live.

  23. Jeffrey Lai
    January 3, 2017

    hardcore wood crafting with a dad who is wood crafting expert using machine n stuff vs my wood crafting project everything handmade n glue all wood stick together to make a bridge that not even hold
    i wonder what happen if there iare 2 or more wood crafting expert parents inclass.

  24. David Wallace
    January 11, 2017

    Looks almost as fun as pinewood derby.

  25. Bill Glatzel
    January 19, 2017

    Enjoy the time spent with your children. Those precious moments won't come by again.

  26. MrRideutah
    March 4, 2017

    Hope he got an A

  27. Thomas Corbett
    March 16, 2017

    I really wish I was your son and had access to all of those tools

  28. Thabiet
    March 20, 2017

    Curious to know how they graded your son. all he did was stand around and sniff glue? You get an A tho

  29. Joshua Killen
    May 15, 2017

    great job dad. what a wonderful experience to share. thank you.

  30. ACMDevils
    May 17, 2017

    02:17 look at that, every kid's dream ! building something amazing with ur dad

  31. Todd Feller
    May 21, 2017

    I have done some woodworks in the past but this woodwork plan helps me do much in a far lesser time than I used to do [Link Here== ]. I have already built several projects with this plan and I intend to do many more soon. Thank you so much!

  32. Alberto_S.
    May 21, 2017

    This reminded me of a bridge I had to make for school using glue and rolled paper "sticks". My group had to make some mayor modifications because someone told the teacher it didn't reach the minimal length.
    That day I learned three things:
    1) Double check the measurements before starting to build.
    2) Trust no one when it comes to hiding mistakes.
    3) Put enough paper and glue together and it will be able to hold your own weight.

  33. Grand Maistre des Poulpes
    June 3, 2017

    OK ! it's absolutely great ! REALLY !!

  34. Andyj J
    August 9, 2017

    Супер! и пацан толковый! вырастит молотком.

  35. Yien Lee
    August 17, 2017

    So you did your son's project for him? Spoiled kids

  36. Greg Rundle
    August 28, 2017

    Your workmanship and videos are really incredible, I'm addicted to watching you work.

  37. DCD Laser & CNC
    October 28, 2017

    Great project with your son. Father son times in the shop make lasting memories and are great teaching opportunities. Awesome job!

  38. Aguiar Ed
    November 3, 2017

    Father Son projects are the best bonding time and the best time to teach sons a lot of life lessons so that some of the mistakes that fathers made when they were young their sons won't have to make once they get to that age the father was when they made the mistake.

  39. River rat
    November 3, 2017

    Popsicle sticks! lol cnc routers [insrt shaking head]

  40. Nathan Rice
    November 10, 2017

    Imagine your life if Frank was your dad.

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