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JoeNovack

Woodshop Memories?

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As a woodworking teacher (middle and high school) I am always amazed by the many adults who tell (mostly) fond stories of their shop experiences...

Many of them still have some of the first projects they ever made in class...

Anyone have a story to share?

All the best,

Joe Novack

www.woodshopteachers.org

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I was standing right by the shop teacher, when he said. "Never do this." He was using a wobble dado blade and needed to take just the slightest bit off the end of a board, as it was too long. Yep, you guesses it. 3 fingers gone. Great way to teach a student what can go wrong.

Donnie W. was getting boards off the top storage rack, standing on top of a freshly waxed table saw. Yep, slipped and broke his arm.

Shop was cool back when law suits were never heard of.

I have my first project. I will try and get some pictures of it.

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uggggg 3 fingers wouldnt a shooting board work better must not have been that great a teacher to lose 3 fingers remember safty third as the dirty jobs crew say.

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I had a mandatory woodshop class in 7th & 8th grade. We had a shop teacher who set very high standards. The only problem was that he set his standards too high (OCD). At the beginning of the school year, everyone was given a few simple projects to pick from and had to pay a materials fee for the project. As one example, I remember having to plane the edge of a board and if the teacher could see any light under a try-square blade, we could not go on to the next step in construction. If it wasn’t that it was some other aspect of the project. We had to get it perfect. Needless to say, at the end of the year, the majority of students carried a pile of unassembled parts home with them instead of a finished product. This repeated itself in the second year as well.

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sad to hear that i push to kids to make quality but i also work to get it done on several nights i have stuck around to finish a box or shelf so the kids can have them for a visit or take home and it needs to be looking like quality. but if were not carefull the kids will rush through project after project making poor junk they throw away i want them to have something they can give to grand kids.

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I hear what your saying DK. I think though, that because of our age and never having been in a woodshop before, we needed some “room” to learn. Perfectionism was not a good teacher. Remember, we were 7th and 8th graders. The experience left us with a sense of failure and we never progressed beyond that. In fact it left us with a desire to get away from woodworking. If the teacher had allowed some room for error, as we were complete beginners, and allowed us to finish the project with a small number of “mistakes” we would have been encouraged by seeing a finished project that we made with our own hands from what we learned.

This would have allowed most of us to finish earlier in the year and given us the time to complete a second project or at least be a long way toward finishing the project. It would also have given us more experience, and the opportunity to correct some of our errors from what we learned in the first project. That is, we would be growing in our understanding and skills. It would have also caused most of us to be motivated to take 8th grade woodworking and do even better there. We actually had no choice, but had to take 8th grade woodshop, so that motivation would have helped.

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I was standing right by the shop teacher, when he said. "Never do this." He was using a wobble dado blade and needed to take just the slightest bit off the end of a board, as it was too long. Yep, you guesses it. 3 fingers gone. Great way to teach a student what can go wrong.

Southwood, after reading your story, I thought you might appreciate this cartoon.

woodshop101.gif

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I was standing right by the shop teacher, when he said. "Never do this." He was using a wobble dado blade and needed to take just the slightest bit off the end of a board, as it was too long. Yep, you guesses it. 3 fingers gone. Great way to teach a student what can go wrong.

As a retired shop teacher that happened to me. I was showing the students how to spot weld a sheet metal tool box. I dropped the box and not just letting it fall as I should have, I scooped it up with my left had. I caught it and it got me. I sliced the palm of my hand. I called my partner teacher over and had him finish the demonstration. On my way out I reminded the students to never do that and went a got my stitches.

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I remember shop class from jr. high well. Full of some nice (probably older) Delta machines, all painted green. I also have a good memory of my shop teacher, Mr. Stewart, yelling "ITS NOT SQUARE!!!" to one of the students in the class. He did have the bar set pretty high, but was willing to work with us as well. Those classes were 20 years ago, but I got bitten by the woodworking bug then, and never got over it. While there were many years I did little to no wood working (college, new job, getting married, kids) the desire never left. When I got my first house I bought some basic tools, but most of my projects amounted to more carpentry and home repair then fine woodworking. About 2 years ago, I decided it was time to go back to what I really wanted to do. Been having fun since!

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Ah middle school. It's been along 3 years let me think back. No accidents just screw offs with $40 year old delta machines. When I got to highs hook my first freshman year we had a program called agricultural science and basic wood. After basic wood you go to advanced wood. I took agricultural science. I still have the first project. And I have the one from middle school to. My second freshman year a kid split his whole pointer finger down the middle with the table saw.

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I remember my first shop class. Everyone was picking pine or oak for a shoe shine box, I was torn between walnut and mahogany. Of course my Dad had a basement shop and both grandfathers did as well. That box is on the shelf by my desk today!

Second shop teacher was a football coach ... Class learned Steve could change a bandsaw blade faster than the coach. Wish I had a shop teacher who taught basics and hand tool skills. I learned a lot of the basics from Fine Woodworking's first issues.

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I'm not sure if this is the type of memories you are talking about but I clearly remember my dad working with wood since my childhood. The noise of the electric saw it's kind of soothing to me. He built my first microphone with wood. I used to enjoy singing when I was a child...I have happy memories & wood it's part of it all. I'm glad some people still take time to appreciate woodwork and work to make the most beautiful furniture. I just wish more people will support small shops. Wallmart & Ikea have taken over & all this beautiful art goes to waste. Now my dad only works on wood for a hobby. I kind of like modern furniture because is simple but I'll rather support small businesses like these: www.dayoriscustom.com than any other huge corporation out there. This company has a workshop next to their office & showroom. I visited them once & you have no idea how many memories came back to me...it's nice some people still do this. Good job everyone!

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My Dad forbid me to take shop class in high school. Back then (late 60's), it was perceived as shop class was for "manual arts" as they say and for those that will be doing manual labor and not those intending to go to college. So I was not allowed to sign up.

Many many years later, I was sharing pain of political crap and nonsense that you get in a big corporation with a co-worker and he said went to engineering school on the urging of his mother but would have been much happier being a carpenter where you can see the fruits of your labor at the end of a day.

I couldn't agree more. I enjoy 1) working with my hands, and 2) seeing progress in creating something at the end of day. Neither I get in my employment, so WWing is my outlet. Still looking for something for an early retirement / second career that involves WWing

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My Dad forbid me to take shop class in high school. Back then (late 60's), it was perceived as shop class was for "manual arts" as they say and for those that will be doing manual labor and not those intending to go to college. So I was not allowed to sign up.

Back in the 60's? Heck, that attitude is even stronger today and it's one among many tragedies in modern education. Academics have had an institutional prejudice against anything that's not a pure, intellectual abstraction since...well, take it back to the ancient Greeks. If it doesn't happen from the neck up, then it's relegated to second class citizenship. Gym is graded on attendance and fine arts such as music are tolerated only insofar as they help kids score better in the "real" disciplines of science and math. (Witness the infamous "Mozart" effect.) Sorry, that touched a nerve. Off the soapbox and back to the bench.

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I took shop my junior and senior years...which means I don't remember much. I know I had fun, though, and it was better than ANY other class.

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I took wood shop back in the 80's. I tried to build a chess board but the squares didnt turn out the same. So i cut the board up in to 8 inch squares. Glues them up and turned them it on a laith.

It turned out to be a great candy dish. I gave it to my mom and she kept it in the house for years. After she passed, I found it in her ceader chest. I have it know back on a shelf in my house.

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I grew up wading through knee deep sawdust in my grandfathers shop and couldn't wait until I took shop in Jr. High School. I completed three or four projects my first year. The most memorable was turning a chess set on the wood lathe. It was of course, rather crude, but for a thirteen year old, quite an accomplishment. I knew right then what I wanted to do for a living and I've never regretted that choice. I do wish that it paid more, but at least I love going to work, and it has kept the wolves away from the door. It's sort of like getting paid to have a hobby.

Good for you. Don't worry about the pay -- $$ only goes so far.

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I took woodshop in middle and high school.

In middle school my best friend and I made a bookcase. The shop teacher had us empty the Dados by hand with chisels. I can still remember how terrible they looked! But it glued up okay!

In highschool I made a wooden clock face, my mother still has it hanging in her house! I have since made many of those for friends and family as gifts!

I will always remember though that both of those teachers were completely NUTS!

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When I was in high school, 5 years ago, I remember my teacher was just a...well...dope. He was a last minute replacement for our previous teacher who retired with little notice because of a parent who died.

He was a large guy, and by large I mean all in his stomach. He was explaining a project we were going to do, while he sat in his rolling chair in the front. He was a big enough stomach to balance the entire lamp on it while he used his hands to point out features of it.

I'm not talking a small lamp. I'm talking a full 24" tall, with a 8" diameter circle base. This balancing act took some skill.

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