Saturday, January 05, 2019

a wheel drilling guide and explanation of absence

It can be difficult to make a working wheel if the axle hole at the center is not precise. This gives drilling with a drill press an advantage, and with the number of wheels we make in the Clear Spring School wood shop, its best that I not buy them or attempt to make them myself. This means that the kids need to have some means to safely make wheels themselves.

The drawing conveys my latest attempt to make wheels easy and accurate and this jig along with instructions on how to make it and use it will be offered in my new book.

A reader asked about plans for the benches we use at the Clear Spring School in the younger grades. These were made years ago with some help from noted craftsman and Arkansas Living Treasure Larry Williams. I presented the instructions for making the benches in an article in Woodwork Magazine number 52, August 2005. On another day I'll post the plans here.

Schools would be remarkably different at all levels including college if the principles of Educational Sloyd were accepted and understood. One of these principles is that of moving from the concrete to the abstract.

An article in the New York Times helps to illustrate. It seems that a push to engage students in hands-on learning through science has not led to an increase in the number of engineering and science students reaching graduation. They shift majors due to the abstraction involved. You go from building robots in high school to contending with advanced calculus in college. Due to the disconnection between the concrete and the abstract the results are predictable and dire.

I ceased posting to the blog a few days back due to a large kidney stone causing severe pain. That stone was removed by surgery a couple days ago. I'm finally back, though under the restriction of not lifting more than 10 lbs. and no use of power tools. I make no promises of making regular posts.

I began this blog in 2006 and without me needing to post each day, there's plenty to read in the event that I'm not attending to it. I had made the assumption that given the nature of the hands and the reality of their impact on all things human, they deserve daily attention. If I can awaken you to that fact, this blog will have done its job whether I write each day or not.

We have a national concern about all students arriving in college or some other form of higher education. That's legitimate. We should also have a national concern about all students finding success in higher education. It is quite unlikely that universities might allow themselves to actually learn something from the principles of Educational Sloyd, but it would be best that they make at least some small attempt to recognize the importance of hands-on learning. The hands form the bridge between the concrete and the abstract.

Make, fix and create. Assist all others in learning lifewise.

1 comment:

  1. I look forward to seeing those workbench plans as well as any details about your new book!