Two projects really took off this summer – chalkboard slates and boomerangs. The boomerangs, of course, took off a little bit more. Back in the fall I built a bike barn. It’s more of a third-world shanty, but it housed the bikes and kept them sort of organized. Either way, I picked up a large number of cedar shingles as a roofing material. Time got away from me – I never roofed the barn. Instead, I used the shingles to create these cool little chalkboard slates. I used an exterior paint as primer, then covered them in green chalkboard paint. … Continue reading This Week in the Classroom: Boomerangs and Chalkboard Slates
This spring, a sweet little book fell into my hands. Nina Tolstrup, an UK designer (she owns studiomama, a design firm). Her projects include lamps, scooters, wall planters, book ends and card holders – all out of One Block of Wood. Ms. Tolstrup’s eye for function and style dovetails nicely with her habits of simplicity. While not every project is truly made from one piece of wood, each project involves a minimum of cuts and a maximum of flexibility. As a woodworker, I appreciate her style – as a teacher, I appreciate her clear directions, beautiful visuals and simple construction. I’ve used … Continue reading Book Review: One Block of Wood by Nina Tolstrup
A few shots of the shutter table project. My students & I created these (there were four completed tables) tables using up-cycled window shutters & salvaged fence posts. Finished with spar urethane. Pocket hole joinery throughout. Continue reading This Week in the Classroom: Up-Cycled Shutter Coffee Table
This year was a big year in the STEaMworks (STEM focus, art driven, work/project centered: the STEaMworks), my self-styled Maker classroom. We (and the Math/Sci Team) built a lot of projects: rockets, rocket cars, derby cars, catapults, simple robots, box-making, bench-making, bridge-building, sail-testing, music making, spirographs, pendulums, 3D prototyping, CAD models, Arduino projects, Alice computer programming, Art Cars, shed construction, a digital STEM Fair and more. I’ve just typed that up and still can’t believe it! Nine months and so much sweat, math, science, art and tears. How did we (my co-workers and rock-solid team, my students and my very … Continue reading Making A Makerspace: Top 10 Tools in a Maker’s Classroom (2012)
Make: Projects has great instructions on how to build your own diddley bow. Make it safe & keep the rubber side down. Continue reading This Week in the Classroom: Diddley Bows
Brrrm brm brm brm brm brm brm, brrrm b’ brrrm, Brrrm brm brm brm brm brm brrrm b’ brrrm, Brrrm brm brm brm brm brm brrrm b’ brrrm. Brrrm brm brm brm brm brm brrrm. Take me riding in the car, car; Take me riding in the car, car; Take you riding in the car, car; I’ll take you riding in my car. — The Car Song, Woody Guthrie Continue reading Little Toy Trucks
My boys are back in town and they are locked and loaded – here’s a few glamor shots of their beautiful simple benches. Remember – if these look good to you, come build your own version with me at TX/RX Labs in May. Continue reading This Week in the Classroom: The Boys Are Back In Town!
Are you in the Houston area? Ever wanted to get started woodworking? Maybe you just enjoy benches as much as I do?
It’s been a few weeks since I’ve let y’all into the woodshop at work. We’ve been building the “simple bench”. If you’ve been reading this blog long, you know I love building benches – butterfly benches, green benches, small benches and long benches. My boys have been working off this pattern: And I give them lots of flexibility in said pattern. We started with three 3 foot lengths of 1×12 stock. The students then cut their bench seats to any length as I rip the rest of the stock into 3 1/2″ strips for the aprons and 5 1/2″ strips … Continue reading This Week In the Classroom: The Simple Bench
Dadoes are much easier to cut when you use two bench hooks…. You can even chisel out the waste right there. My students are having such success using bench hooks, knee height workbenches and the tool chest I’m reconsidering my thoughts on bigger workbenches. I’d like a better assembly table, but it ain’t nothing if I don’t have it. The kids are killing the simple bench project – in-progress pics coming soon. Continue reading Teacher Tip: Use Two Bench Hooks