Monday, August 17, 2009

today in the wood shop

Today in the wood shop I finished sanding tenons and began applying the Danish oil finish. I also had my first teacher meeting this morning to plan for this year's classes at Clear Spring School.

A friend was visiting for an hour or so last week who grew up in Waldorf Schools and currently teaches a form of Waldorf movement and dance called Eurythmy developed by Rudolf Steiner and Marie von Sivers in the early 20th century.

My friend attended Waldorf Schools and teaches at a number of Waldorf schools throughout the US. She noted that many are no longer attempting to meet Steiner's objective that school consist of nearly 80 percent craft work. Waldorf schools like others are succumbing to the pressures to make schools more competitive and overly academic. People, particularly the parents those schools are hoping to please, just don't get the hands. Working with the hands is something most parents hope to steer their children from, not towards. You can hear the modern Waldorf parent's prayer, "Lord please don't let my son grow up to be a carpenter."

We face similar problems at Clear Spring. Prospective parents have been known to ask, "What are your children's test scores?" It is extremely difficult to explain to some that test scores are a completely irrational means of assessment... that we are far more interested in our children being great citizens, creative problem solvers and successful lifelong learners. This time of year, one of our measures of success is in the form of returning students who have informed their parents they can hardly wait to get back to school.

In the meantime, Comenius and other early educators had envisioned schools as the "workshops of humanity."

When I was at Marc Adams School, one of my students alerted me to a product information sheet he had gotten with the purchase of Deft Danish Oil, alerting him to possibly hazardous ingredients. Of particular concerns were Benzene and cobalt drying agents. It is extremely important to minimize risks by using oil finishes (or any finishes) with more than adequate ventilation. So a brief shower ended my outdoor oiling for the day. But you can see the beginnings of my efforts in the photo above. In the photo below, you can see that the weather improved long enough for me to continue oiling.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Okay, curiosity is getting to me. What's in the spray bottle?

Mario

Doug Stowe said...

Danish oil. The spray bottles are good for flooding the surface with oil. A bit messier than a rag, and a bit more wasteful, but faster.

Anonymous said...

Very ingenious. I've been using a small brush, and it does take a lot of time to cover a surface that way.

Mario