This Week In the Classroom: The Simple Bench

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

Teacher Tip: Use Two Bench Hooks

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

Putting a Roof on the Bike Barn

We recently got half a roof put on the bike barn.  The students fixed up fifteen bikes and laid out a roof in three long hours.  Excellent work ethic, if not visuals.  I’ll be getting out and fixing up the barn throughout the spring semester.  I hope to add a waterproof holding bin & tool rack to it in the next service day. Continue reading Putting a Roof on the Bike Barn

Toy Making Jigs

My son has very strong feelings about woodworking show hosts.  “Herm” (Norm) is his favorite – he’s in love with power tools.  Me?  I prefer St. Roy. In this episode, St. Roy discussed and built several toys from 18th century America.  I was especially fascinated by the jig he uses to create small parts.  I saw an opportunity to move the jig into the classroom, especially as I wanted to build small wooden sculptures made from patterns created in Google Sketch Up.  I can’t say much about the project yet – somethings work, somethings don’t.  It’s quickly running away from … Continue reading Toy Making Jigs

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: 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