Thursday, October 15, 2015

feedback and progress...

Yesterday my only reluctant woodworker, a first grader, began playing with scrap wood and suddenly decided on something she wanted to make. Every other class up to this point, she's complained that she doesn't like woodworking.  She would sit quietly and pout while the other students were joyfully at work. Making bunkbeds for her barbie seems to have turned the tide. In yesterday's blog post when I mentioned children who might be thought good because they sit so quietly and cause so little trouble, I was thinking of this child. But all good things begin with the interests of the child, and this one just needed a bit of space to allow the joy of woodworking and creativity to get a grip.

In the later afternoon class my students were working on their archery bows, and two students got to the point of gluing them together. Ozric proclaimed his excitement: "this is just like Christmas day."
"All work, all exercises which awaken the active powers," writes Baroness von Marenholtz-Bulow, "which form the capacity for rendering loving services to fellow-creatures, will help to lay the groundwork of religion in the child. The awakening of love goes before that of faith; he who does not love cannot believe, for it is love that discovers to us the object or the being worthy of our faith. Loving self-surrender to what is higher than ourselves, to the highest of all, is the beginning of faith. But love must show itself in deeds, and this will be impossible unless there be the ability to do. A child can no more be educated to a life of religion and faith without the exercise of personal activity than heroic deeds can be accomplished by words only."
There may be some who think that being good means doing nothing. I had wondered about the saying that the idle hands are the devil's workshop. What about the hands proclivity to make mischief?  but when we wake up from from our idle distractions to the real world that surrounds us, we find that there are important things to do in service of family and community. To sit back doing nothing is a waste of human potential, and the do nothing approach to classroom learning is a great waste. The great thing is that as we realize our own creative potential, it feels just like Christmas day, even if it is just the 15th of October.

I had promised a photo of my 4 position router table designed for making my production boxes. I started this router table years ago, but never had enough routers to put it to use until recently. It is designed to rout mortises in box ends, and tenons on the ends of the box fronts and backs, as well as to rout the edges of parts and the completed box. The routers are mounted directly to particle board panels covered in formica. These lift out of the larger table for changing of bits.  Two pivot fences are used for routing the mortises and tiny tenons to join box sides. The low fences are for use of roundover bits. The four routers are controlled through the panel of switches shown at the front. Drawers below hold router accessories and parts for box making. The whole thing plugs into a vacuum that turns on and off automatically with the switches on the front.

Make, fix, create, and extend the opportunity for others to learn likewise.

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