Bench hooks are portable work surfaces used to make basic woodworking tasks, such as crosscutting boards and drilling holes, easier to perform. As a bonus, they help protect the surface of your woodworking bench from bumps and dings.
In the makerspace, bench hooks can be used for numerous tasks and roles (such as a surface to solder on without ruining Mom’s dining room table).
These week, my youngest and I made two bench hooks. The most common design works best with saws that cut on a push stroke. We also made and tested a bench hook modified for pull saws. Bench hooks can be modified in numerous ways, so take the jump and get hooked!
Continue reading “Home #Makerspace: The Bench Hook is a Secret Weapon for #Woodworkers”
This week, we made a quick foldable checkerboard inspired by my youngest child’s love of the game. This basic folding design can expanded and modified to play any board game. Just let your imagination run wild!
This project incorporates measuring, marking boards square, using a hand drill and hand saw, and an all natural, no-fuss stain (although it is stinky!). Super quick, super cheap and super easy for young makers between K – 3rd grade. Continue reading Home #Makerspace: Simple Kid’s Game Boards for Young Makers #Woodworking
Sometimes, young (and old…) woodworkers can use a little help sawing a board accurately, especially if the board must have a specific angle or length. A miter box helps a woodworker saw a 90 or 45 degree angle into a piece of wood. They are cheap to make, easy to modify and cut accurately.
Miter boxes are channels with slots cut into them. The slots guide the hand saw blade for accuracy and precision. The sides allow the user to clamp down the miter box and work pieces to the table or work bench, which greatly increases safety.
To use a miter saw, place your work piece in the channel, with your cut line against the kerf of the wood. Use a clamp to clamp the work piece and miter box to the table, as shown. Then place the saw in the cutting slot and saw away!
Take the jump to build your own.
Continue reading “Home #Makerspace: Miter Boxes for #Woodworking #Makered”
Completed, ready for sanding.
Close up of the camfer detail.
Lid assembly ready to go.
Measure the long side, then secure with glue and nails.
Clamping the Assembly
Parts of the bread box project laid out.
This quick project makes a great starter box for grown woodworkers, but it especially shines as an approachable young person skill builder. This slick box teaches three major skills: measurement, accuracy in manufacture of parts and joinery. A teacher or parent can use this simple project to differentiate between beginning, intermediate and expert woodworkers by adding complexity in the appropriate areas.
The following instructions describe how to build this project with pre-k to 2nd or 3rd graders. The adult preps the wood, while the student assembles the pieces, learning to use a hammer, nail set, hand drill and hand plane. Older students can measure and cut their own wood using appropriate tools.
Continue reading “Home #Makerspace: The Bread Box Project #woodworking #makerEd”
Rachelle Dooley of TinkerLab is one of my go-to arts blogs and one of my favorite small-person maker-educators. She has a fantastic book, Tinkerlab: A Hands-On Guide for Little Inventors, and blog, TinkerLab. She recently posted a skill building tutorial for glue guns in small hands. Check it out here.
My boys and I took her idea and moved it over into the “Dad” realm. We used natural materials, stone, sticks, bark, and some scraps from a recent rocking chair repair to create some “rock gardens”.
According to my sons, dragons eat the rocks that grow in rock gardens. And if dragons derive energy from rocks breaking apart, that means they have somehow created controlled nuclear reactors in their stomachs. Which is the start of a Hollywood Sci-Fi movie script, and if it’s not, it should be.
After the jump, check out a few tips and safety pointers for glue guns at different developmental levels.
Continue reading “Home #Makerspace: Natural Material Sculptures & Glue Gun Safety”
Most of the time on this blog and @woodshopcowboy or WoodshopCowboy on Facebook, I showcase student-centered projects and articles. Sometimes I make projects for my own enjoyment and personal needs in my own personal makerspace/workshop. Here’s a peek behind the curtain. Continue reading Making a Makerspace: Shop Tour 2015
I found these boxes inside a log from a tree felled in my parent’s backyard, in the house my brothers and I grew up in. I’m now in my thirties and my youngest brother is closer to thirty than twenty-five. We’ve grown up, moved out, moved back, gotten married, had kids, and brought our kids back. This holiday season, we’ll be together for a few days and hours. Then, like many families, we’ll scatter to the wind. A few years ago, I stuffed my suitcase with a log instead of presents. This year, I made matching boxes for every person in my immediate family – mom, dad and four sons. Continue reading This Week in the Shop: New Tools, New Projects
They say when it rains, it pours. For the past six months, I’ve inundated myself with cutting boards at every turn, in every one of my woodworking shops. At home, I made cutting boards as Christmas presents. At work, cutting … Continue reading This Week In the Shop: The Simple Cutting Board
When I look at the popularity of CO2 rocket cars in STEM programs, its ubiquity and age hide a lot of potential for makers and project-based learning opportunities. The biggest drawback, as I see it, is the high cost of entry. Launching systems cost somewhere in the hundreds of dollars, tracks take up teaching space (60 linear feet for a good one) and wind-tunnels impress upon me the fine line between awesome and inappropriate. At a basic investment of $1000 to $3000 from the big companies. We still haven’t covered the cost of a classroom pack of car building supplies.
Betcha I can do it for less. What’s a makerspace for, if not developing your own infrastructure?
In order to incorporate CO2 racers into your Maker curriculum, you need three things: cars & parts, the launcher & track space. I’ll tell you how I made mine after the jump.
Continue reading “This Week in the Classroom: Build Your Own CO2 Rocket Cars & Launching System”
My school spends a lot of time, energy and financial resources on project-based learning. In my experience, teachers use project-based learning as a catch-all term for anything from make-it-take-it projects which last twenty minutes to inquiry-driven, rubric-graded, long-term explorations. Calling the former project-based learning is lazy and misdirection. Creating incredible experiences for students with the latter definition is exhausting and rewarding. Most of the time, a teacher must follow a middle course. This is one of those projects. We started off by designing and building pantographs. If you don’t know anything about pantographs – check out the video below. Also … Continue reading This Week in the Classroom: Pantographs