Thursday, February 7, 2013

[School] Midway

Time flies.

Each day I get up early, make breakfast, and head out the door. Depending on what the tot's needs were (and if she were awake yet) I get a half hour to an hour of quiet time at the school to prepare my materials for the day, sharpen my tools, and organize my workbench. These moments pay big dividends throughout the day, and I am feeling that organization and sharpening are not only fundamental, but are absolutely critical for my own success as a woodworker.

The day then flies by in a blur of instruction and practice. At the end of the day, cleaning happens again. In addition to general sweeping and cleaning of the shop, we each have a designated chore each week. This week I have been especially enjoying being assigned to the machine room. Since we are not using it all that much yet, I've been able to make visible headway each day, cleaning the machines themselves as well as long-forgotten corners and areas under the machines. My theory is that if I do the entire room three times (this only takes about 20 minutes) each day, by Friday it should look pretty good! We'll see.

After the cleaning, I endure the commute home, about 2 miles by bicycle through forested neighborhoods. Traffic includes deer and occasional cars. Sometimes there is a pedestrian or other bicycle. Dinner, dishes, play and read stories to the kid, and I am about ready for bed. Hence, not much time for blogging or even reading.

That said, we have been productive and I have been learning a great deal. Highlights have been becoming much more proficient with freehand sharpening, learning to (finally) sharpen my saws, and radically improving my chisel technique, particularly with rounded or sculpted forms. We've built layout squares and tool totes. The students skills are beautiful to see unfold, everyone has now a decent command of dovetail joints as well as basic rabbets and dadoes, meaning they can build a huge variety of constructions now. We've also learned the fundamentals of shellac and other non-toxic finishes. We have touched on design; the tool tote is made entirely from ratios based on a module (our hand span) with pieces all sized to each other or to ratios, no rulers or tape measures needed. So far, they all fit just fine. This week we will begin learning more design techniques and loft plans for a side table.

Here are some images: