Friday, January 28, 2011

this morning in the woodshop

This morning, I continue work on the drawer for the stand-up maple cabinet. As you can see in the photo, the grooves are now ready for fitting a bottom. Next, I'll drill holes in the front to serve as simple drawer pulls. Then I'll cut the bottom to fit and assemble it. Next will come fitting knife hinges in the top and bottom of the cabinet, shaping of the legs and stretchers and preparing for assembly. All of this is similar to what Felix Adler described in making a box. In making a cabinet the number of steps may be more complicated. The following comes from Adler's remarks which I posted in the blog  a few days ago:
"...the variety of occupations which enter into the-making of the box constantly refreshes this interest after it has once been started. The wood must be sawed to line. The boards must be carefully planed and smoothed. The joints must be accurately worked out and fitted. The lid must be attached with hinges. The box must be painted or varnished. Here is a sequence of means leading to an end, a series of operations all pointing to a final object to be gained, to be created. Again, each of these means becomes in turn and for the time being a secondary end; and the pupil thus learns, in an elementary way, the lesson of subordinating minor ends to a major end. And, when finally the task is done, when the box stands before the boy's eyes a complete whole, a serviceable thing, sightly to the eyes, well adapted to its uses, with what a glow of triumph does he contemplate his work!"
Generally in schooling students are expected to perform series of seemingly unrelated exercises leading to total abstraction. When a person works on something real, he or she breaks the operations down into manageable sub assemblies, each in concrete form with concrete objectives toward a singular end. This is what is meant by "will." And it is a quality that can be applied to everything a man or woman does throughout a long life of learning. Can you see how working on related things toward a single concrete purpose might offer children some pedagogical advantages over what they currently get in American education?

The photo at left shows another part of the puzzle that will become a Krenov inspired cabinet. Before final assembly, the legs will be shaped so they are angled on the front and thinner toward the bottom. The cabinet base will be attached to the stretchers connecting the legs.

In the photo below, I've begun installation of the knife hinges in the top and bottom of the cabinet in preparation for assembly.

Mario, in a comment below asked how pieces in the photo at the top fit together. That is one of those things that most of us would need a picture for. Educators not knowing how wood shop fits the general educational needs of children have to be shown. Make, fix, create.


  1. Anonymous10:36 AM

    I'm trying to visualize the piece that's standing fitting in one of the pieces that's lying down.


  2. They do fit. One of the important intellectual components of doing math is spatial sense. It has to do with how things fit together, and many people will remember the old intelligence tests where you were asked which parts would fit together. I will never understand how some people in education failed to see the value of wood shop. THEY were simply incapable of seeing how the pieces fit.