Here's a little woodshop project that I put together in about 90 minutes complete. Every July 4th since about 1979 our camp has held a mountainside foot race that is approximately 1/2 mile long. That doesn't sound like much of a race unless you are able to actually see the course in person. The path of the race is literally up the side of our mountain which is no easy feat to win. The student who wins gets his choice of a $100.00 pair of shoes on a special shopping flee.
This year someone asked me at the very last minute (only 3 days before the race) if I could come up with a trophy for the group who had the best "overall" times for the race. This would encourage team work and a full group effort. Fortunately I had a very small window of time that I could devote to the project so off to the woodshop I went. About 90 minutes later I came up with the trophy in the picture above.
This wasn't a complicated project at all and I used materials that I had on hand right at the moment. In the shed I found the materials in the picture to the right which includes a nice chunk of western white cedar which came from the scrap wood left over from a log cabin. The "swirled" maple leg was part of a huge wood donation to our woodshop program from a local furniture company. The third item is a 3/4" poplar dowel rod.
From the chunk of cedar I cut out the shape of an Indian moccasin with the bandsaw, drilled out the hole on top using a fostner bit with the drill press. Nothing pretty but it has a nice homemade effect that I like. I then woodburned the laces and a defining line around the sole of the shoe and I painted the sole of the shoe black.
As you can see in the picture to the left I decided to paint the base of the trophy jet black. I hate to cover up and hide the beauty of maple wood but to save it would have taken a ton of time that I didn't have because it had all kinds of furniture company makings all over it.
The trophy is now finished and will sit proudly on the table of the group who won it for the next 12 months. A little time, a nice result, and a lot of pride is what we got.
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.