Thursday, February 14, 2013

Wrapping up the course

Greetings from another snowy day in Pennsylvania!

Congrats to our latest Practical Woodworking course graduates! Last weekend, eleven eager and talented students completed the course as well as their own hall tables. A quick recap of our last days:

After finishing up the legs the previous weekend, students returned to class to work on the skirt boards, table tops, and the mortise & tenon joints that would hold it all together. I love this part of the course because it's the chance for students to add their own creative flair to their tables!To the left, you can see that Dave took advantage of the creative options to add detail to his skirt boards. Using a router and a jig, he was able to cut out the squares you can see there. This detail is one of many that students were able to add to their skirt boards.

Jeff gives a short lesson on how to read a ruler properly and easily (that I took full advantage of during my first few days here). Catherine shows off her awesome measuring skills. She is finding the center of her skirt boards so she could mark and cut a nice curve into them.You can also notice her perfectly square legs complete with mortises! It's really incredible to see these students work so hard for 6 days and how much is accomplished during each one. It wasn't three or four days prior that they were handed three rough boards and look at the progress!

After skirt boards and legs were [mostly] complete, students were set free to router detail onto the edge of their table tops! Rob hosts a lesson often referred to as "Router University" and let's students see what the plunge routers can do.With an assortment of router bits to choose from, students are, again, given the chance to add whatever detail they choose.

It's rewarding for students to have the chance to make their tables into something that they are proud of; something that represents their personality and style. Beyond that, as a soon-to-be instructor, I was so excited to walk around the room and see these tables begin to develop into eleven unique pieces.

At this point in the course, the pieces are starting to look like complete tables and I find that student's confidence is climbing as they see the fruits of their labor.

And then, finally, assembly. Smiles all around for students as they fit each tenon into it's mortise and fit the puzzle pieces together into a real piece of furniture! Allen stands proudly next to his assembled table, as he should after 4 or 5 days of hard work and learning!

We all walk around and admire the efforts and originality that fills the room. By the last day, the class has morphed into a group of friends that has accomplished something to be proud of. Swapping life stories and anecdotes as the nerves have calmed and the comfort has settled in. Everyone has something in common at this point, they/we are all woodworkers!

The final stages of the class allow for students to glue up those perfectly fitted tables. If you haven't made a friend yet, glue up is your chance as it is a partner activity. Lucky for me, I was paired with Mindy and Kristen. Between the laughter, table climbing, and only one moment of panic, we got Mindy's table glued together and held with clamps.

The course wrapped up with a lesson on finishing from Rob and a few parting words. I was more than pleased to have the pleasure of meeting all eleven of these wonderful people! And, I am ecstatic to have had my first chance to be an instructor of sorts for them. I hope they send along photos of their finished tables and any other wooden projects so I can share their successes with you.

Until next time, I bid you all the happiest of Valentine's days.

No comments:

Post a Comment