Saturday, October 15, 2016

what can you do with what you've got?

When I was a child, you could go to the grocery store and get most of what you needed for small woodworking projects from vegetable crates. They were made by the millions and provided materials that were just right for a child to make wonderful things. Of course, most went into the garbage or were burned, as that was considered to be an acceptable way of disposing of trash before plastic made the burning of trash ill advised.

Vegetable crates, for those who do not remember, were most often made of two thicknesses of wood. The ends were of solid stock about 1/2 in. thick, with the sides and bottom being thinner material. But what's a kid to do these days if no material is available?

One of my jobs at the Clear Spring School is to have materials available for kids to use for works from their own imaginations to emerge. The following is some excellent guidance from Jean Lee Hunt. “A Catalogue of Play Equipment.” 1918

“Choice of lumber must be determined partly by the viewpoint of the adult concerned, largely by the laboratory budget, and finally by the supply locally available. Excellent results have sometimes been achieved where only boxes from the grocery and left-over pieces from the carpenter shop have been provided. Such rough lumber affords good experience in manipulation, and its use may help to establish habits of adapting materials as we find them to the purposes we have in hand. This is the natural attack of childhood, and it should be fostered, for children can lose it and come to feel that specially prepared materials are essential, and a consequent limitation to ingenuity and initiative can thus be established.

On the other hand, some projects and certain stages of experience are best served by a supply of good regulation stock. Boards of soft pine, white wood, bass wood, or cypress in thicknesses of ¼", 3/8", ½" and 7/8" are especially well adapted for children's work, and "stock strips" ¼" and ½" thick and 2" and 3" wide lend themselves to many purposes.”

I have found that inexpensive grade 2 x 4 lumber when resawn into various widths and thicknesses provides and excellent source of supply and   I have placed a portion of the quote above in bold due to its great importance.

Today in the wood shop, I'll be making boxes. I am at the point of routing for inlay to fit the lids.

Make, fix, create, and provide an example for others to love learning likewise.

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