Saturday, October 27, 2012

sliding pencil box...

Clear Spring School sliding pencil box.
Readers have asked about simple box designs to be made by kids. The last two weeks at Clear Spring School we've been making simple sliding top boxes. They can be adapted to a variety of sizes and uses, from pencil boxes as shown in the design to top display boxes as shown in yesterday's post. They can also be decorated with a variety of designs, and my 4th, 5th and 6th grade students are putting their initials on top. Click on the image for a larger view.

The materials are cut from standard 2 x 4 building stock, spruce or fir, and I usually buy pre-cut studs as they are a bit cheaper and often of better quality in our local market. When cutting into small parts, the actual length is not important. This project requires some teacher preparation. The materials are cut to dimension, but not length, leaving that part up to the students. The front and back require a 1/8 in x 1/8 in. groove for the sliding lid. Alignment of parts during assembly is challenging as the grooves for the sliding lids must be in alignment with the top edges of the ends in order for them to slide. One of the values of this project is that it requires students to pay particular attention to how things go together, and the lesson that what they do, and the attention they apply to what they do really matters. There are ideas in the academic world that hand work is a mindless exercise. Nothing could possibly be further from the truth.

You will notice in the drawing above that the ends are made from thicker stock which allows students to drive the nails into more substantive stock. These thicker ends are essential to the student's success in completion of this project, as even the most proficient adult woodworkers would have difficulty positioning nails accurately into 1/4 in. end grain stock without splitting.

Today in the wood shop I'm getting the cabinet sanded and finished for Fine Woodworking and continuing work on an order for Appalachian Spring Galleries. Last night, we of the Eureka Springs School of the Arts held a very successful Mad Hatter's Ball, raising money for support of educational programs in the arts.

On another note, Jacques Barzun passed away at the age of 104. He was a writer and scholar who noted the decline of western civilization partially related to the mechanization of science. It was becoming purely academic, rather than engaging each of us in scientific exploration.
While he maintained that modern science was “one of the most stupendous and unexpected triumphs of the human mind,” he attacked, again and again, any hint of “mechanical scientism,” which he said had baleful consequences.
As I've said before in the blog, you can't whittle a stick without becoming engaged in scientific exploration and rudimentary hypothesis. When we've removed crafts from the lives and education of our children, we've left them scientifically and culturally illiterate.

Make, fix and create...

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