Thursday, May 10, 2018

clamping miter box and saw.

I just purchased this interesting miter box and saw made by Stanley/Black and Decker. It is plastic, as you can see. The saw is sharp and has hardened teeth for a long life.

It looks a lot like the other plastic miter boxes on the market, but it has one special feature that sets it apart. The black sticks are clamps that hold the stock in place. You simply stick the round end of the stick in a hole and twist it until it's tight against the stock. Its oval shape makes it lock against the wood. I look for things that will make my students' work just a bit easier, and more accurate and in my testing of it, it works well.

My first test was to take two pieces of wood in equal size, line them  up even on one end, insert and tighten the clamping rods, and cut. In minutes I had equal size front and back for a box.

With attention, a square and a handsaw, one can develop the skill to make square cuts. A miter box is intended to make things automatically square. Square cuts are essential to box making. If cuts are not square, the box will not come together in a rectilinear form.

A common miter box is easy to make. The challenge, however is holding the wood in position as it is being cut. Children's hands often lack sufficient strength. This Stanley clamping miter box and saw may be the answer for that, so I will ask my students to test it next week when they are back from their camping trip.

I have heard recently of more school industrial arts programs closing due to the retirement of teachers, and the difficulty of finding replacements. Teaching the manual arts is not an easy thing to do. It's best that you have skill as a teacher and a strong interest in craftsmanship. The other important consideration is that of working for an administration that understands the necessity of hands-on learning for all kids. Since policy makers and administrators don't get passing grades when it comes to delivering the hands-on learning our children need, others must rise to the occasion and take matters into our own hands.

It is ironic that the famous Teacher's College in NYC was founded for the specific purpose of providing teachers for manual and industrial arts. Their first building on the campus adjoining Columbia University, was the Macy Manual Arts Building which stands to this day. Columbia University was the first to offer a doctoral degree in manual arts education. Where are these schools now? Have they forgotten history? Will they rise again to redirect our nation toward hands-on learning? Let's hope.

Make, fix, create, and assist others in learning lifewise.

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