Wednesday, September 14, 2011

dovetails, boxes and weather vanes...

In my own woodshop, I've been making more boxes. It is a usual thing for me, and I currently have about 80 inlaid boxes in the works as shown below.

At CSS I've been teaching the middle school students how to cut dovetails. The first lesson was sharpening chisels and using dovetail saws. Second lesson was yesterday and involved cutting their first simple joints. We are using new Veritas dovetail saws which cut a fine, thin line. The handle design helps the students get a good sense of direction and bodily alignment. When they get good at cutting simple dovetails they get to make a box.

In the lower elementary school, first, second and third grades, we made weather vanes today to be used with their study of weather. The students loved the project. Objects like these, when taken home, help to build a positive relationship between home and school. The students can use the objects made to help explain to parents their enthusiasm for learning. In what other class do students ask, "Do I get to take this home today?"



Make, fix, and create...

1 comment:

Jim Dillon said...

Hi Doug,
I like that saw. I have a question about the grip the kid in the top picture is using. A grownup hand (mine anyway) is more comfortable with the index finger pointing out. I also find that most of my students (who are adults) have better control of the cut direction with the index finger out. What's your experience with this on kids?

I'm not asking this to pick nits, but I'm really curious, as a teacher. One thing I like about the Japanese saws is that the handles give many different options for gripping them, which I appreciated after watching Toshio Odate work for a couple of days.

I had a tendon problem in a finger last year and consulted a hand surgeon, who told me that the index and middle finger are better at fine control and the ring finger and pinky are where you get most of your grip strength. Since then I've tried to be mindful of the concept as I work, and find that thinking about it as I grip, swing, twist, and stroke gives me a lot more sense of what's happening in my hands.

Hope your classes are doing well!

Jim Dillon