Tuesday, April 24, 2018

the use of the vise.

One of the absolute keys in keeping children safe in the wood shop is to train them in the use of the vise. We think of kids being either left or right handed, but they actually use both in most tasks. One hand is typically used to hold the tool, and the other the work.  In writing, the dominant hand holds the pen, and the other steadies the paper, and if you want to test this, take a pen and paper and try things for yourself. What you will discover is that one hand works best with the collaboration of its mate.

The non-dominant hand is the one that is typically injured as tools slip. The vise is not to relieve the non-dominant hand from its work, but just to keep it safe from being hammered, sawn or sliced with  chisel or knife. It is also useful in most cases to have a third hand, which a vise or clamp can provide.

Woodworking as my publishers are careful to point out at the beginning of my books, holds inherent risks. Those risks are minimized by the proper use of tools, and some way to hold wood safely and securely as it is worked.

At Clear Spring School we have a room full of benches with vises sized for both child and adult use. The vises are objects of fascination. Every classroom should be equipped with a work bench with a vise or two, and at one time many elementary school classrooms were so equipped with the recognition that kids need to be doing real things.

Today in the wood shop at Clear Spring School I will help our middle school students work on their hydroponic gardening window farm. They have been collecting bottles of a particular size. We have been drilling holes for them to fit together, cutting out sections for the planters to fit, and assembling them into long strings, following information both from online sources and from a hydroponic gardening store. It is an exercise in problem solving.

Make, fix and create...

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