Once in a while there is a great woodshop project that comes along and today was that day again. This is one of those projects where the greatness can easily be lost in the pure simplicity of making it.
It began last week when one of the court counselors who is associated with our program asked if I could repair a couple of small wood crosses that had come apart. It looked like a simple enough job so I finally got a moment to play with it today and discovered an absolutely fantastic new project for the students in my woodshop classes.
When tapping the tiny dowel rod into the two pieces I broke one of the crosses which ended up being a fortunate opportunity because I then had to make another one from scratch. Doing so, I had to figure out all the measurements then take it from the bottom up and I thought about what a nice project this was.
I first cut a small square of oak on the table saw 1/4" X 1/4" then cut one piece 1-3/4" long and another 1-1/4" long. On the long piece I then used the drill press to drill a 1/8" hole for the necklace cord. Next I used the bandsaw to cut two overlap notches on each piece, then connected the "cross" pieces with wood glue and pressed them together firmly with pliers.
I then switched out the 1/8" drill bit for a smaller 1/16" bit which I used to make a hole "top dead center" straight through the "cross" in the two pieces of wood. The last remaining step was rolling the dowel rod in a bit of wood glue then carefully tapping it firmly into the hole. I broke the first cross because when I was tapping the dowel rod I had left way too much dead air space underneath for support. I corrected this mishap with the remaining crosses by drilling just a 1/4" hole in a piece of scrap wood for the tapping of the dowel. That made all the difference giving the cross plenty of support during this conjuncture in connection.
The best part of this relatively simple
woodshop project came this afternoon when I was showing the crosses to my students and saw their initial excitment. Three of the nine students asked if they could make one so another very popular project has been discovered. I gave them the measurements and one of my completed crosses for a visual aid and they did a grand job of making three absolutely perfect crosses.
As seen in some of the pictures above, they cut out the measured overlap notches on the scroll saw until the two pieces fit together snug and firm. Just one of the kids failed to get a snug fit on the first try but he stuck with it until it was right. The kids leave Thursday on a short home visit so it was an exciting afternoon completing unfinished projects and making new ones for their families.
On top of that the woodshop atmosphere was just right. As you can see in the picture to the right the snow was falling again all afternoon and we got another 4" of the stuff. Inside the shop it was warm and snug as we just went about our way making great stuff with our hands and a few simple tools. Just don't get any better than that!
Living in the mountains of North Carolina I have spent almost 30 very
rewarding years working with at-risk kids in a wilderness camping program as a counselor, outdoor educator, and woodshop teacher. To learn more about what my blog is all about, just scroll down this sidebar to "About my blog..."
1. Woodcarving/Woodwork: Working wood has been a lifetime obsession for me and I enjoy sharing what I know. It is my belief that hands-on and experiential learning has a direct and profound effect on the development of a child's intellect, confidence, and character. Projects of mine (and my students) will be posted as they progress and I will occasionally include a video tutorial. All of my videos can be found here .
2. Bushcraft/Primitive Living Skills: Finding ways to live closer to the land has always fascinated me. Whether it's building a shelter, fire starting, animal tracking, or just making rustic furniture... you'll eventually see some of it here.
3. Long Distance backpacking, canoeing, & bicycling: Some of my long distance adventures include thru-hiking the 2,600 mile Pacific Crest Trail, Mexico to Canada and I solo paddled the 1,800 mile Yukon river across northwest Canada and Alaska to the Bering sea. More detailed accounts of these and many other adventures can be found here
4. Sustainable Living: I'm always looking for better ways to do more by using less. It's not so much an "environmental" thing to me as it is a quest for personal independence from material things and finding a path to more substantive living .
5. Scouting Activity: As a scoutmaster of 6 years (and currently assistant scoutmaster) I'm actively involved with the troop and "Order of the Arrow" where it is a joy to volunteer hundreds of hours each year because investing in the next generation insures a better tomorrow for everyone. In an era when most schools don't value hands-on learning, outdoor education, and the arts... scouting soars in meeting these critical experiences for boys.
6. Profiles: Behind everyone's success you can usually find a trail of some very significant mentors and teachers along the way. And sometimes you don't completely understand how someone affected your life for the better until many years later. You'll find some of those stories here.