Tuesday, January 06, 2015

knives and lathes...

I've made a simple rack to hold one dozen sloyd knives in their plastic scabbards. It's made of a white pine 1 x 4  with 12 1 in. holes and with legs simply nailed underneath.

It is important with knives that they go in a rack where you can immediately see that they are all put back in place at the end of class. So this simple rack does that job. Twelve holes, twelve knives. I can see at a glance that they are all present and accounted for.

A friend of mine in Denmark had told me that the lathe was one of Salomon's favorite tools for Sloyd, but that it was too expensive for most schools at the time. I was doubtful, and contacted my friend Hans in Sweden who was curator of Salomon's library.

After a bit of research he confirmed that Salomon had reservations about the use of the lathe in educational sloyd. Neither turning nor wood carving "could be recommended from the hygienic point of view." Also, "He did not like to see the pupil standing in one and the same position for a rather long time." Salomon published a chart in 1884 that closely corroborated the one published by Benjamin B. Hoffman. In this chart of the value of various crafts as educational resources he noted the following with regard to the use of the lathe:
  • To gain the child's interest?  Yes.   
  • To give useful objects? Yes.  
  • Does it teach general dexterity of hand? No.  
  • Does it train the habits of order and exactness? Yes.  
  • Does it promote cleanliness and tidiness? Yes
  • Is it in accordance with the child's capabilities and strength?  Yes and No.  
  • Does it promote aesthetic sense? Yes    
  • Does it develop bodily strength?  A little.   
  • Does it counteract sedentary learning? Yes   
  • Does it allow of methodical arrangement? Yes.
Despite these minor objections,  my students love woodturning. They find joy in it. And in addition to building the knife rack to keep track of knives, I am getting the lathes ready for woodturning.

Make, fix and create...

1 comment:

  1. Recently published by Project Gutenberg e-book #47760: "Three Hundred Things a Bright Boy Can Do," written by many hands in 1914to inspire young hands. Today's bright girls also would be included and no hands would be idle.