Quick Pic: Cutting Boards

Somehow, several large planks of long-grain butcher-block style planks have come my way.  Nothing better to do than prep some cutting boards and let the kids turn them into something special. The boards are finished with food-safe mineral oil, specifically Wisconsin Hardwoods’ Wood Oil.  Always make sure you use a food-safe finishes (which limits you to beeswax, food-safe mineral oil and “salad-bowl” finish) when you create spoons, cutting-boards, etc.  I also use food-safe (or a water-based acrylic) for the stuff my little ones will chew on.  Such as blocks and cars. Update:  As Scott Turner posts below, most finishes are … Continue reading Quick Pic: Cutting Boards

This Week in the Shop: Make: Plywood Chairs

A few issues ago, Make Magazine published plans for a jigsaw puzzle chair, and I needed chairs for my “dining room”.  In reality, I needed chairs, I had plywood and this plan jumped out at me.  I used a jigsaw to rough-cut the piece.  Then I finished the pieces with a bandsaw, rasps and a router with flush-cut bit.  Here’s the first chair. Before you ask, yes, it isn’t sturdy enough.  The original plans called for 3/4 in thick plywood.  I only had half inch, but it’s what I had on hand.  I will install some sort of brace.  We’ll … Continue reading This Week in the Shop: Make: Plywood Chairs

Safety in the Shop: Other People’s Tools

This weekend I attended a welding class.  I’m trying to get some practice laying beads with a MIG welder.  A major safety hazard of welding is being “flashed” by the spark of electricity between the machine and workpiece.  “Flashing” means the brightness of the arc has burned your retinas and can cause severe eye irritation, temporary blindness, redness, etc.  You avoid this by wearing a proper welding helmet and warning bystanders that you will start welding. I, of course, got flashed this weekend. The fault wasn’t “my own”.  Meaning it wasn’t my personal action which cause the flash.  I kept … Continue reading Safety in the Shop: Other People’s Tools

This Week in the Shop: The Tool Chest

If I haven’t made clear prior to this post, I have space issues at work.  I hold wood-shop classes in the great outdoors, rain or shine (ok, just shine), cold or hot.  Morning and afternoon.  I’ve been looking for a storage solution for the many “wood-centric” tools that end up in the outdoor space but away from the our tool storage trailer. My solution looks something like this: It’s not a pretty thing, but the design has a long gestation.  Chris Schwarz has been promoting his conversion to hand tools for years now – and he finally documents the slow … Continue reading This Week in the Shop: The Tool Chest

This Week in the Shop: Painting a Table Top

Here’s a quick shot of my “draft” top for the dining room table.  I’m playing with the paints a bit, yah?  Wondering what you think – I’m on the fence about the whole idea but the more I play, the more this stormy landscape comes into being.  Just like when I write poetry, I can’t do it too long or I get worried about myself! So what next?  Some details, patterns, leave-it-be, oh-god-that’s-ugly?  Where’s the hive-mind at? Make it safe and keep the rubber side down this weekend. Continue reading This Week in the Shop: Painting a Table Top

The Art Crate Lockers

Over the past month my mind (and workshop) has fissured into a melting pot of tools, projects, class planning and plan ol’ creative fury.  I have nothing to show for my troubles right now.  I have recently completed a “house” style table – craftsman lines with painted accents – and I failed to take pictures of the build process.  At work, students have created walnut-maple boxes, shipping crates, catapults, computer animations, floorplans and straight-edges from yard sticks. Few, if any, pictures. New planer, new jointer in the shop.  You know the drill. I do have pictures of my most recent … Continue reading The Art Crate Lockers

This Week in the Shop: Guy Clark and Boxes

From Guy Clark’s song, “The Carpenter”: He was tough as a crowbar, quick as a chisel Fair as a plane and true as a level. He was straight as a chalkline and right as a rule. He was square with the world.  He took good care of his tools The early results of my box making class in 1st period… Make it safe & keep the rubber side down. Continue reading This Week in the Shop: Guy Clark and Boxes

Physics Carriages

In my MWF fourth period class, my students have been discovering and elaborating on the scientific method. I chose cars & ramps (aka pinewood derby car) as an opening project.  We spent two weeks learning the different parts of the scientific method and how to measure our results.  We create reports (I’m on my fourth week of school and the boys have created at least two science reports a week).  My lessons look something like this: Intro:  Pose a Question to Students.  What type of Hot Wheels cars goes the farthest?  How would we measure that?  How do we tell … Continue reading Physics Carriages