Wednesday, April 22, 2015

today in the wood shop...

This is earth day and what can be a better way to celebrate our dependence on the earth's abundance and our responsibility to protect it than by making something lovely and useful from wood? When we use wood to create beauty, we instill in others a sense of its value and may help to shape their willingness to offer protection to our forest resources.

I have been very excited about making tiny boxes, and wake up in the middle of the night thinking about various designs. The possibilities are without limit and as I have been at this a while, I have a large repertoire of techniques and styles at my fingertips to excite my creativity. I also have an advantage as a teacher of watching my students solve problems in woodworking. Their creativity is often a source of amazement to me. I learn from the experience of watching them create...

Today I will turn a couple satellite ring boxes on the lathes at school, and if a new router bit arrives in the mail, I'll continue making pen boxes. I found that my old core box bit that I bought over 30 years ago is a bit dull for the task. So a replacement is on the way.

The tiny box that has me most excited at the moment is one made with bent wood and with a wooden hinge. Once I get a box like this clearly in mind, it is difficult to set it aside until I have made it in real life.

Yesterday one of my students finished her shoe rack. It is completely of her own design, and while it is not something you would find in a furniture store, it's not something you could find in a furniture store. It's unique, and it was taken home with great pride, as it was something she made by hand, and labored upon with great care.

One of the functions that woodworking can serve in schools is that of allowing students to learn as they seek real solutions to tangible problems. If you've several pairs of shoes to keep neat and want a rack to keep them organized? Take a saw, a hammer and some 1x4's and make it. But the real value of the object made by the student is not the object itself, but is in the heart and mind and capacity of the student.

Make, fix and create...

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