Saturday, August 15, 2015


I am finished with my 5 day class on making veneered boxes. In addition to making boxes with veneered tops, we finished off the week's classes with demonstrations in making finger joints, mitered finger joints, and shop made inlay. It was a great week.

Larry (at right) brought my students a partial pick-up truck load of catalpa, a local wood that is rarely found for sale.

Catalpa is described as a light wood with distinct grain, useful for fence posts, as it resists decay. Sometimes it is planted as a windbreak. In my own neighborhood, a large catalpa tree has kept a school bus and more than a few pickup trucks and cars from launching into the highway, when the steep hill ices and the drivers find they have no control from their brakes. The catalpa is somewhat battered from collisions, but grows strong, and serves as a bulwark against greater danger.

During my class, my students used my new keyed miter sled for cutting key slots, and we used my hinge mortising templates to install butt hinges. Overall, the class, though small, or because of it, was a great success.

One of the important ways that the wood shop connects us to the natural world is through the harvest of materials like catalpa from it. We use those materials to create useful beauty and find a direct connection to its origins in nature. Those who are choosing education through digital devices instead, leave their children in a tragic state of disconnect.

Make, fix, connect, create... accept responsibility to help others to do likewise.

1 comment:

  1. Catalpa can become weedy, producing large fallen foilage in urban areas especially, all the better to highlight its use as a rare, exotic wood.