Monday, May 15, 2017


Wood shop teachers have been busy throughout the year coming up with useful ideas. The sanding bow above is one from shop teacher David Shinnlinger. It can be used on the lathe or hand powered to shape wood.

A similar sanding bow by Australian wood shop teacher Richard Bazeley uses sanding belts from a portable belt sander. Take a 4 inch wide belt, tear it into 1 in. wide strips and away you go.

Sanding seems to be the part of things that many woodworkers find least enjoyable. The dust is messy. If yo do it by hand, effort is required. If you do it by machine, it's easy to mess things up. It was frowned upon by the adherents of educational Sloyd, as it hid the underlying tool marks that were evidence of careful labors and skill. It is also a bit of a pleasure as wood transitions from coarse to smooth but you have to pay attention for that. To see (or feel) a finely sanded surface tells you something about the maker of the object. That he or she cares.

An article in yesterday's Arkansas Democrat Gazette described the growing rift between two factions of the "school choice" movement. One (supported by billion dollar foundations) and another (also supported by billion dollar foundations) are arguing (by spending real money) whether "school choice" should be provided by vouchers or by charter schools. Neither faction pays any attention to the one principle that could truly reform education. Start with the interests of the child.

Today we have a delivery of machines for the new ESSA wood shop's machine room. The lathes were delivered last week and have a lovely room of their own. I have classes this morning and afternoon at the Clear Spring School, and we are rapidly approaching the end of our school year.

Make, fix, create and enable others to learn likewise

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous3:15 AM

    Unfortunately (or fortunately?!) dealing with the interests of children (speaking of early years education) isn't a billion dollar business, yet.
    Or is it? - The interests of children (and adults, too) are easy to manipulate (in the worst sense of misuse of the latin meaning of manus=hand...): Give them colorful, moving and beeping pictures - and their attention will be attracted. That said, each media producer can argue at his best for electronic devices, software and such stuff to support the "natural learning-interests" of children.
    You know - we know - the side effects of that idea of raising children.
    Unfortunately the billion dollar bosses need only few creative people to keep their industries running; and they need a lot of compliant workers and uncritical customers, too.
    Some talented people will make it through educational jungle, not matter how bad the circumstances. And they might refuse becoming part of the machinery - or might not.
    I wish that some of them talented people might raise billion dollar enterprises in the interests of children. Probably it is hard to imagine and even harder to realise. But I am sure that some engaged, bright minded people out there might handle it - to bring our children back in contact with all of their senses according to natural environment and its given materials.