Saturday, June 30, 2012
Tour of the School Shop
If you've been reading this blog for a while, you probably know that I've been teaching woodworking (hand tools only) at the Waldorf Inspired charter school where I also teach middle school. It's been a fantastic adventure, and since I started with a blank slate, it has also been a lot of work.
Our school opened two years ago, and I had an empty room to convert into a shop. In typical overly optimistic no-time-reality fashion, I thought it would take until Christmas break to turn my vision into reality. Ha! Well, the students and I got busy and two years later it's finally finished, mostly, and ready to be shown.
So here is the tour.
These first four shots pan the room right to left from the wood storage corner. In the first picture you can see the door into the classroom from the hallway, the sharpening station, clamp rack, our original bench and the chalkboard.
In the second shot, you can see the tool storage corner - shelves, saw board, brace and hand drill board. And of course, the GGTCOD.
The third shot gives a better idea of the main working area with the workbenches. There are three different variations on the basic split top design. They evolved over time based on experience and changing space needs as we moved to a slightly smaller, but more suitable room in year two. The first design, as already stated, is the bench at the front by the chalkboard. The two benches visible on the right in this shot are variation two. They are shorter and the vises are moved outside of the legs which is more useful for most tasks.
In this final shot from this corner, you can see the last two benches, which are variation three. They have the longer tops of the first variety, but the short bases of variation two, which gives them oddly long overhangs. What happened was, I had planned on four more of the shorter benches, but it became evident that it would just be too tight - but not before we had already built the shorter bases. So, in order to have enough work stations for all the students, we went back to longer tops and just made do with the existing bases. Some day we will change out the stretchers and make the benches less awkward.
And now three shots from a front corner of the shop - mostly the same stuff, just different perspectives. Here's the front of the room again:
And across the benches to the old Stanley Tool Guide on the wall:
Here you get a first look at wood storage, scrap bins, project storage shelves, and the saw bench. This is a slightly modified version of my saw bench from my own shop. It's a little lower, to better suit the students, and made from 2x8s rather than 2x6 stock to be more stable. You can also see the door to the outside, which is one of the features of the new room that really make it work well. The other is the concrete slab floor - no more bouncing!
A shot from along the bank of southwest facing windows, which give great raking light to compensate for the overhead florescenct lights.
Another shot of the benches, version two on the left, and three on the right. The bench on the right doesn't have its end cover on the stretcher shelf yet, which allows you to see how it was designed. The stretchers are "L" shaped with vertical 2x6s and horizontal 2x4s glued and screwed together. The spacing between stretchers is such that cement pavers fit nicely across to give some extra weight. The inside edges of the 2x6s are rabbeted to accept 2x4 slats which hide the pavers and create the shelf. The trestle ends of the base are 2x4 laminated legs with 2x4 stretchers - the bottom M&T and the top bridal joints. The leveler feet are the Mark II design I posted about here - simple and effective.
Another look at version two:
And version three:
Here's a better shot of the cool old dovetailed chest from Germany that I picked up to hid stuff in that I don't feel like looking at on a daily basis. It's been lurking in the background in several pictures and I thought it deserved it's own photo. Well, really I should give it a full post, but that will have to wait...
And finally, a closer look at the most troublesome part of the shop. It's not looking so bad now, but I had just spent about 30 minutes cleaning it up. The big can is for plane shavings, well at least the ones that make it in there. The students usually take the really cool ones with them.
Well, I guess that's it. It sure makes me happy - I hope you enjoyed seeing it!