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Profile: ChristopherDahle
User Name: ChristopherDahle
Forum Rank: Newbie
Real Name:
Location Colorado
Gender: None Specified
Joined: Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Last Visit: Thursday, November 05, 2015 11:59:47 PM
Number of Posts: 0
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Last 10 Posts
Topic: Coping Saw Question
Posted: Thursday, November 05, 2015 10:03:09 PM
Late reply I know, but I was lamenting the state of the coping saws and hack saws in my shop just the other night.

I never was very happy with any of the coping saws I had when I was running trim for a living and while the fret saws and coping saws from Knew Concepts look promising, they sure are out of the price range of most school shop budgets.

Meanwhile, I ran across one of Paul Sellers videos where he talks about frame saws and shows how to make them

I think maybe it would be worth the effort to knock out a couple of these in hack saw size and also that small frame saws could be fashioned to be more kid friendly than the typical, crummy coping saw if I used lengths of 1/8" band saw blades that were maybe 50% longer than coping saw blades. Might prototype one over the Christmas Break, but not now!

I'm also scrounging up old sabre saws from the thrift stores to make plywood box knock-offs of the Rockwell "blade runner" tools, in lieu of continuing to try to resuscitate the dying collection of Harbor Freight scroll saws.

Anyway, I only have two functional coping saws in my school shop and both of them have blade retainers I have fashioned with the dremel tool from carriage bolts. I cut a slot in the head with a carbide cut off wheel, grind an under cut to retain the pin, and grind away most of the rest of the head for neatness. Quench often!
Topic: curriculum & grading
Posted: Thursday, September 10, 2015 9:06:50 PM
I had to join in on this thread. I have been lurking here for a while and just joined a few weeks ago. Thank You TBockman for all of the great information.

The reason I had to join in and announce myself is that I am also a science teacher, or at least I was until last May when my administrators asked me if I would be interested in restoring our Middle School shop program and asked me to apply for a newly created position.

I inherit a shop that was originally equipped as a high school wood shop in the 1960s. It has suffered from neglect and pilferage, and sat dark for three of the last five years. I'd planned to spend the summer developing projects and building curriculum. Instead I spent it trying to track down scattered tools, sharpening, repairing broken machines, and cleaning, cleaning, cleaning...

Although I've been teaching reading, math, and science for the last 14 years, I worked in the trades and later in a small custom cabinet shop while pursuing a bunch of fancy degrees and highfalutin' titles. I then wandered through the bramble bush of law practice before taking a now permanent sabbatical to teach kids before they ended up needing a lawyer.

I never sold my tools, but they spent the better part of 20 years boxed up and pickled in light oil until I was settled and housed and all familied up with a couple of kids who wanted to start making things. Setting up a home workshop led to a re-ignition of my interest in woodworking, and a series of small projects that found their way into my science classroom led to the invitation to start a new Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics program at my school.

I'm now two weeks into class with 100 students in 5 sections of "STEM Explorations". We spent the first week on shop safety and I focused on "The Utility Knife" on the theory that the tools in the shop fall into three categories, things that grip and hold, things that guide, measure, or mark, and things that cut.

I have nightmares about the combination of 11 year-olds and things that cut, so we learned the Boy Scout rules of safe knife handling and I told them that the rules apply to anything that has a blade or is fragile, or that can be knocked out of adjustment...a knife, chisel, saw, hand plane, tablet computer. So they learned to hand over all tools handle first, wait for the recipient to say, "thank you" meaning "I have a firm grip of this tool, you can let go now." and for the giver to say "you're welcome", meaning "OK I am letting go of the tool, you have it now". There has been an outbreak of politeness at my school as students are applying my rules to everything from pencils to mathbooks.

Then I had kids complete a simple balsa wood airplane (a "Whipper Whiz" which most of the kids finished today and will trim and test fly tomorrow. To complete this project the kids all had to measure and mark out parts using a try-square, use the utility knife to cut the parts, making both "rip" and "cross-cuts", trim and sand the parts to make them straight, smooth, and square, and assemble the models following the written instructions.

So, I am off to a great start, and I have no idea what the kids are going to do next week!

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