Thursday, December 06, 2012

box guitar, silver tea and woods of the Ozarks...

I am up to my ears in boxes, and am currently applying Danish oil to lids. Hundreds of them. Each has to be fully dry before being packed away to await a second application, so I can reasonably do batches of about 100-130 in the course of a day.

Today is the St. James Episcopal Church's annual fundraiser, The Silver Tea, and as a board member of the Eureka Springs School of the Arts, I'll be dressing in suit and tie and serving tea. This year, the Silver Tea  benefits ESSA, our nationally known school of the arts.

I know readers may have some curiosity about the box guitars we are making at Clear Spring School. I am now calling them "box guitars" rather than cigar box guitars because we've not used cigar boxes, but instead made boxes ourselves, using locked corners. The photo above shows the way we are attaching the necks to be certain of a firm connection. The sides of the box fit into dados cut on the sides of the neck assembly, allowing the top, bottom and sides to provide strength, but also allowing the top and bottom to resonate. Next the top will be glued on and internal bracing will be added under the bridge. I don't think I could have a project in which my high school students could take greater interest. As you can see, I'm also learning a few things, which makes wood shop the best of both worlds, for both teacher and students.

On Tuesday, our high school students visited the Ralph Foster Museum at the University of the Ozarks as they were making a college visit. The samples of wood shown are only a small portion of the diverse local species one can discover through woodworking. Thanks, Jessica, for the photo.

Our high school students were queried as to what things stand out so far during this school year, and of course, the things that they mention are not the things that they have learned, but rather, the things that they've done. What doing does is anchor learning in personal feelings, sequence of events and personal growth. When what one does and what one learns are in sync, relevance is clear. What students learn may soon be forgotten as it loses relevance or had been lacking relevance in the first place. What students have done lingers as it builds confidence for lifelong learning.

Make, fix and create...


  1. Beautiful construction on those guitars. There could be a luthier or two developing from your class.


  2. I think it would be fun to see a luthier develop. We do have one former CSS student making violins in Czechoslovakia, so one of my students would not be the first.