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1st & 2nd Grade Schoolers at a Woodworking Summer School

The following short story was sent to me by a member of one of the many Woodworking Guilds I belong to ... thanks Bill

  A few years ago our Guild did a workshop for a local school district summer program. We had 60 kids (1st and 2nd graders) for 15 minutes. Eight guild members did this on two consecutive Saturdays. We had the kids work with a 1" x 4" (later reduced to 3/8" thick). They drew a line approximately 2" from one end with a square and pencil, wrote their name on the board with a Sharpie, drill a hole for a nail then another for a screw. Then with a hammer drove a nail part way in and removed it. Repeated the process with a screwdriver and screw. The last step was to cut the board off at the line with a saw. We learned it takes a long time to cut 3/4" stock if you have never done it before. This is why the thickness was reduced the second Saturday.
When they were done they put all the pieces of wood on the table where we could thrown them away or they had the option to collect them at the end of the day. 

Our workshop was the last activity so we were surprised to have all of the kids come back to the cafeteria where their parents were waiting to pick them up and find their "project" and proudly show their parents what they had made in the woodshop.

One little girl came back to our Guild member who had been her instructor and politely asked if he had any more nails that she could take home. The summer school director happened to overhear this request and asked what she was going to do with the nails. The little girl beamed as she explained she was going to take her "project" home and nail it to her bedroom wall.

The director diplomatically suggested she check with her Dad about her plans.

One of the things we learned from this workshop was to ask appropriate questions before making a commitment. We (that would be me) did not ask how many students or their ages. We were caught a bit off guard when we were told it would be 60 1st and 2nd graders.

Woodworking Community Loses Pioneer Podcaster

daniel carter

It is with profound sadness that I announce the passing of yet another woodworking friend. Daniel Carter, from https://itswood.com/. Daniel was a pioneer in world of woodwork podcasting and I had pleasure of being his guest recently. Working with him on that session showed me how skillful a podcaster he was. His ability to keep guests on topic and to keep the flow of the podcast during the recording was clearly evident to me. When our podcasting recording ... 

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Wading into the World of CNC Routers

Just before the virus responses kicked into full gear I added a tool to the wood shop. A gantry style CNC router. After a fair amount of research I purchased a Shapeoko XL from Carbide 3D. All of these systems involve the hardware, software to create the patterns and another piece of software to send the appropriate instructions to the machine.

Contributed by Bill Tumbleson

Hardware comes down to a frame to support the carriage /router, a drive mechanism to move the carriage /router in three axis (left/right – forward/backward – up/down) and a motor to spin the bits.

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Charles Whittaker - Woodwork Shop Teacher


Colin Knecht writes ... I had the good fortune to have a truly dedicated high school shop teacher. A person who not only had the foresight to be innovative in his lessons, but also the dedication to teaching teenage students not only the craft of woodworking but also the safety. His lessons and techniques have stuck with me my entire life and I am eternally grateful for his teachings and patience.

My first year with Mr. Whittaker was grade 10 and while most others in the class had the benefit of the previous year of wood working, this was my first year in actual school learning. When Mr. Whittaker found out I was new to woodworking he told me, and a couple of others, we would be given a “quiz” to see what we knew. I immediately thought “great, my first day of school and already I have a test to take”. The class carried on for a week or so, and still no test, so I asked Mr. Whittaker when the test would be, his reply was “Oh I gave you that the first day, remember our conversation? that was the quiz, you passed” and he just turned and walked away.

That first year was pretty amazing ......

Read more: Charles Whittaker - Woodwork Shop Teacher