Classroom Project: Try Squares

In my Applied Mathematics class, woodshop has put the shop in applied.  During a unit on fractions, I asked students to build a number of these try squares, all different shapes and sizes.  In order to assess my students ability to read a ruler and calculate fractions, I made all the dimensions wonky.  No 8″ cuts for my students!  Dimensions looked like 8 3/4″, 4 3/8″, 5 “1/16 and all sorts of foolishness.  Once I felt my students had mastered the build process, we took our show to Houston’s Mini-Maker Faire! The construction process for a tool like this can … Continue reading Classroom Project: Try Squares

This Week in the Shop: Mirror, Mirror

I swear the conversation went like this: Wife: “What dress should I wear?” Me: “I don’t know, you look great in anything.” Wife: “This dress?  What about this one?” Me: “I don’t know if you’ve been watching me, but I haven’t taken my eyes off you in forty minutes.” Wife:  “I need a full length mirror, I can’t see anything here.” Me:  “I can handle that.”  Exit stage right. I know a good exit line when I’m handed one. Mirror from Lowe’s, sans frame.   A saw kerf down the middle makes a perfectly sized dado.  Pocket hole construction.  The … Continue reading This Week in the Shop: Mirror, Mirror

Community Watch: Build A Box!

Eight students, six boxes built and finished.  It was a long day in the shop – nearly seven hours with only a few breaks for liquids.  I can  think of a number of great moments: the first box getting nailed together, the last coat of shellac being applied, the look of what-have-I-got-myself-into as the students tackled nearly 40 linear feet of hardwood for the first time.  We captured the moment which stands out most for me in the picture below. Take a good look at the boy in the white shirt.  Take a good look at his smile.  He didn’t get … Continue reading Community Watch: Build A Box!

Community Watch: It’s Build a Box Day!

Today at TX/RX Labs, I’ll be leading a class in building a few of these tea boxes.  I’m sending a box to one random contestant on WoodshopCowboy Facebook page, just in time for Christmas. Remember to like WoodshopCowboy on Facebook! And remember: Make it safe & keep the rubber side down this weekend. Continue reading Community Watch: It’s Build a Box Day!

This Week In the Shop: One Block Projects – Book Ends

A little while ago, I ran a book review on One Block of Wood.  I recently made a pair of bookends using Ms. Tolstrup’s plans out of salvaged pine and live oak.  Hope you enjoy the looksee.  Read a good book this week. Especially books on pirates! Make it safe & keep the rubberside down. Continue reading This Week In the Shop: One Block Projects – Book Ends

This Week in the Classroom: Try Squares

My new “little” project obsession:  try squares.  These guys mark boards square.   That’s it.  All they do.  The try, not tri, comes from the act of “trying” an angle to see if it’s square, not three, or tri. This slideshow punctuated by a few of my favorite song titles, puns and lyrics in no particular order. These tools come together quite easily.  First, I rip a 2×4 into 1/4″ or 3/8″ inch thick strips.  Then I flatten one side of the strip using a hand plane.  After checking each strip for flatness, I rip the piece again on my … Continue reading This Week in the Classroom: Try Squares

Come Build the Simple Tea Box @ TX/RX Labs Dec. 1st

The good folks at TX/RX Labs invited me back for another weekend of teaching woodworking.  This year, I’ve asked to build some Christmas gifts. We are building the Simple Tea Box – and I’m sending one to the winner of my “First to 30” likes raffle on WoodshopCowboy’s Facebook Page. So like WoodshopCowboy on Facebook, sign up of for a class at TX/RX Labs… …and make it safe & keep the rubberside down. Continue reading Come Build the Simple Tea Box @ TX/RX Labs Dec. 1st

Tool Primer: How to Select and Use Power Drills

The first power tool I probably ever used (and owned) was a power drill.  The lowly power drill can do a whole lot of things if you know how to use it.  A power drill can strip paint, drill big holes, little holes, create dowel joints, sand curves and screw stuff together.  It makes pocket holes and wood split.  If you don’t know exactly what a power drill is, it is a handheld tool which spins a metal bit attached to an electric motor via a chuck.  The magic of the drill is in the bit.

In short, it’s pretty essential to the hobbyist and homeowner.  In this post, I’ll break down the types of (power) drills available for the average homeowner/hobbyist/woodshop teacher and give some tips on how to choose which is right for you.

First, let’s take a walk through history, why don’t we? Continue reading “Tool Primer: How to Select and Use Power Drills”

Woodworking Plans: The Kid’s Bed Frame

Last year, I posted a quick project: The Bed Frame.  It has since become the most searched for post on this website, garnering a little over a thousand views with no publicity.  People like to build beds. It’s taken a while, but I’ve put together a small PDF which outlines how I make my simple bed frames.  You can catch the goodness here:  The Kid’s Bed Frame Plan If you build it…send me pictures at woodshopcowboy @ gmail.com!  If you have critiques, send them to a different address…I mean, send them over too. Remember to like WoodshopCowboy on Facebook and … Continue reading Woodworking Plans: The Kid’s Bed Frame

This Week in the Shop: Kid’s Play Table

The finished play table I first blogged about last Friday.  If you look close you can see some screw holes on the top.  I used short 1″ #8 wood screws to get everything together…but when I put the pieces together, I found the fit snug enough that I didn’t need the screws.  I’ve included an interior shot to give you some picture of the joinery. Remember, you can pick up a Google Sketch Up Model of this project here. Make it safe & keep the rubberside down this weekend. Continue reading This Week in the Shop: Kid’s Play Table