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User Name: tbockman
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Joined: Friday, November 17, 2006
Last Visit: Tuesday, August 9, 2022 9:05:19 AM
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Last 10 Posts
Topic: New Project Ideas
Posted: Sunday, August 7, 2022 7:54:32 AM

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Using the laser to meet new staff

When we have new staff, I try to help them get started by showing them how to laser a name plate for their room. It's a great icebreaker to get them into shop and welcome them to our school. I just don't usually end up on their phone. This 4th grade teacher who caught me in surprise, laughed and said "That look on your face"! Then when I asked her to send it to me, she got a reply from someone, but it wasn't me. I think she forgot one word of my email. Who ever you are, please delete this awful photo. I look so old. Ha! I thought you were taking a close up and cropping me out.



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Topic: New Project Ideas
Posted: Sunday, August 7, 2022 6:59:07 AM

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My Gift To Nurse Nicole

I'm still here! It's hard to believe so much time has past since my first year 43 years ago. Blink of an Eye I've heard it said and they were right. It doesn't seem possible that only a short time ago I was still in school myself. Now as I fight to keep going, I wonder if I'm doing the right thing by returning for another year. Is it my last year teaching or my last year on earth? Who knows for sure? I would like to keep going at least a couple of more years. A big thank you goes out to Nurse Nicole and everyone else on the staff at Banner who helped me on my way. Nurse Nicole brightened my day and I had to do something special for her so she would understand her role in all of this.



Her reply...

Hi Tom,

I wanted to thank you for the kind words you wrote about me to our management here at BUMCP. I am so touched that my care meant so much to you! I always strive to make a difference but in the ICU a lot of the time we don’t get to hear our patients talk so it can be hard to judge how we are doing as nurses. It meant the world to me to hear that I made you feel safe and comfortable here during a scary time.

Thank you also for the pen you made for me!! I love showing it off at work :) Such a special way to remember our time together on the unit and a reminder to always aim to create a nurturing environment even when it gets tough. Thank you for being such a sweet and easy going patient! Glad to hear all went well with the rest of your time here, hope you are still doing well.

Attached is a photo of me using the awesome pen! Can't wait to be able to refill it for years to come. I wish you all the best Tom!

___________

It is a thankless job in the ICU where most of the patients aren't even able to speak. Rest assured they are all thankful even if you can't hear them say it! If you couldn't already tell by reading these many posts, I just happen to be a real chatter box and love a captive audience.

While I don't have another photo of this one at our local hospital ER, Nurse Ashley made a huge difference and I returned and dropped off a similar gift to her. Before I even got to the other hospital, the on call ER doctor tried to steam roll the process of releasing me after my third visit in 15 hours, Nurse Ashley stepped in and tracked down my real doctor that was responsible for my next move, which turned into a two hour ground ambulance ride to one of the largest cities in the country and the right place I needed to be in this emergency. It's all a blur, but these two Nurses may have gone on not realizing how special they are, so I made sure to tell them in my own way. And May is the month for Celebrating and Honoring nurses too.

And if that wasn't enough, there's more. I have run across many a hospital staff and when they make a difference I try to come back and let them know whenever I can. A few months ago I actually had a male nurse named Charles who as it turns out had been a student in my High School class. I gave him, his aide Kat and Nurse Hope, toys for their young children that I made especially for them in my class as a way to show my appreciation. Doggie banks and Ping Pong ball shooters, before they were banded that is. I wish I could have done that for everyone, and several of those also remembered my class. Hey, you've got to love small towns where you can usually see people you know almost everywhere you go.

Oh well, life goes on and I'm looking forward to this new year filled with so much hope and possibility.

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Topic: New Project Ideas
Posted: Thursday, April 14, 2022 4:56:26 PM

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The Ping Pong Disaster

By the title everyone could probably guess what happened. Our beloved Ping Pong Launcher is a project no more. There is always one in the crowd. You know them. They are the ones who don't think and usually act inappropriately. The ones who rarely want to follow directions or rules. Our's took an unfinished project out to the playground and started pointing it at the younger kids. The younger kids don't understand it was funny to him. Our new Principal was not amused. It's a good thing I had proper clearance from the school's founder some nine years ago. Still, I won't argue the point and took both the templates and the model home. At least I can scare a burglar with it someday.

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Topic: New Project Ideas
Posted: Monday, March 14, 2022 3:23:49 PM

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The $1000 grant


After a dozen or so of our teachers scored this grant in a half hour's worth of investment, I had to do a work around to get this to go through. It's a long story and took a lot more time for me, but in the end the wood shop was successful, and without having a personal cell phone or having to buy from Amazon.

Thank goodness that Grainger was on their approved list of vendors or there wouldn't have been anything available for our wood shop because I don't have a cell phone which is required to get an Amazon account. Stupid reasoning on their part. The limitations of buying from Grainger were created only by my shop safety theme. Throwing in some other things like sandpaper or screws wasn't really fitting into that theme, and that is why I focused on the more expensive safety glasses.

The grants keep coming to us as other teachers here follow suit. This is all due to our state's department of education offering the opportunity to help teachers in Arizona. I'm not sure when the offer will end, but these mini-grants are very helpful to a small school like ours. Once the money runs out, and it will, there will be some sad teachers who didn't jump on it sooner. I'm hoping to see every Franklin teacher get this classroom mini grant while they still can.


I can't believe the typo... googles Ha! Goggles. I'm a dweeb. But this is what I wanted. I'm so tired of cheap safety glasses that sometimes don't even last a semester.


It appears this place takes a pretty good chunk of the amount for their efforts.


I would have liked to have a few extras for just in case. I will be telling my students that if I see or hear anything out of the ordinary, they will not be able to use the good safety glasses and will instead be issued a pair of the 99 cent one again. I may actually make them sign a statement to that effect.

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Topic: New Project Ideas
Posted: Sunday, March 13, 2022 7:31:09 PM

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Experimenting with Powder Coat Paint

It's spring break. I watched a YouTube video the other day which showed how to use Powder Coat Paint to fill in laser etching. I called a local Powder Coat shop and found them to be almost as excited about trying this as I was. They told me that they had many discontinued colors that they would be willing to donate. When I visited, I simply wanted to try black first. After a couple of tries, I had these.



The one on the left is maple and does not have any filling. The middle one was my 2nd try with a pre-finished piece of stained pine. The one on the right is maple again with no finish. It's hard to tell from this photo, but the black powder is stuck in the grain surrounding the engraving. I tried sanding and even lacquer thinner and it is still showing in the grain.

The high gloss detracts from the final product, so a flat might look better. The engraving gets powered, then lightly packed, then rake off the excess which can be put back into the container. The piece goes back into the laser and the settings get lowered a bit, before running over it again. You need just enough heat to melt the paint into the grooves. The laser does not affect any residue left after scraping before this step.

I did have to do a second coat to make it look better.

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Topic: New Project Ideas
Posted: Sunday, March 13, 2022 7:04:43 PM

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A different miter saw

When our old saw gave out, I had the chance to get this used saw which also slides for a larger capacity. The old dust collector box had to be modified to work with the slide. I changed it up a bit too by lowering the original box and making fold out covers for when you have to cut angles.



This next photo was before it was finished, but shows how easy it is to open the covers (on both sides) so that the saw angle can be changed.

It works amazingly well and I don't get nearly as much blow back as the other box did. I can also cut wider pieces now. I'm not sure yet how much dust it will collect when set to 45 degrees, but if all other blast gate happen to be closed, it should do alright. It's when the other gates are open that every open gate slows it all down.



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Topic: New Project Ideas
Posted: Saturday, February 12, 2022 12:44:26 PM
Sleepaway Camp

I received this email I want to pass along which I will eventually remove after the season begins or if someone says the position has otherwise been filled. I hope this helps Matt! It's something I would love to do except for my age and the distance from home.

Camp Walt Whitman Woodshop Director


Hello,

My name is Matt Karner, and I am a staffing Director for Camp Walt Whitman. We are a co-ed sleepaway camp in New Hampshire that works with kids aged 7-15. We believe that it is important for our children to immerse themselves into a variety of activities from sports, hiking, and the arts. We have a woodshop on site that truly is a favorite of most of our campers. It is an amazing opportunity teaching these children what woodworking is and seeing it spark their imagination to create some amazing projects throughout the summer. At the current moment, we are looking for a Woodshop Director who can help aid and work with these kids to carry out their projects as well as leading projects for cabins as they are scheduled for the woodshop. I wanted to reach out to check to see if you had any resources where I could reach out to find someone interested in a position like this. I appreciate any help you may be able to give and look forward to hearing back from you.

Best regards,

Matt Karner
Staffing Director
Camp Walt Whitman
914.339.9935
www.campwalt.com
Topic: New Project Ideas
Posted: Friday, January 28, 2022 12:58:34 PM

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When You Forget to Bring the Camera...

It seems to be a fact that whenever we have a more interesting project, the camera stays home. When I finally get photos it is well into the build of Jonah's cutting board.


I know... is this really meant to be a cutting board. In this photo we are leaving the frame sides long so there will be less planer marks.


It sure turned out nice and I told Jonah that mom is never going to cut on this..


Jonah did a great job and like I thought, mom says it's too nice to cut on. I guess you can break out the chess pieces.

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Topic: New Project Ideas
Posted: Friday, January 28, 2022 11:12:32 AM

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The Blippi Truck

My personal email provider changed and when we switched things the one thing that really fouled me up was when my wife switched her information with Pinterest and when I was ready to post again, I couldn't get in from my computer anymore and had to use hers. That's how I was able to make the last post.

Today I have been saving a couple of projects since the semester changed and the kids this semester seem like they were actually eager to get back to work. This 1st period project stands out as something a little more original. Honestly, I should have brought the camera sooner, but my wife's Sister & her Niece recently sent me a nice gift of a used camera that is much better than the school's. It is also small and fits in my shirt pocket.


With only two students in this class, this project went together fast and I'm just now catching up with it on film along with another project that I will be posting. The prototype wheels are the scrappy looking wood in the truck's bed. The first side that we ran, I thought I had helped map out where it would end up, but missed and it wound up going into the wheel well.

I could see the disappointment on Eli's face as he was leaving class after putting the piece he so carefully crafted which ended up ruined into the scrap box. I knew I could fix the issue and couldn't wait to remap it. I quickly cut a knew side, ran the laser, then cut the veneer layer off on the bandsaw. A little glue and some quick clamps and the side looks exactly like it should.

Eli was surprised to see it fixed the next day and we ran the other side to match after switching the measurements to fit the opposing side. After assembling the basic box truck, we attached an undercarriage. The walnut strips are keeping the axles aligned so the truck will roll straight.


He made the wheels on the drill press while I manufactured a sliding miter gauge jig to cut treads on those wheels. Then Eli safely cut the treads on the tablesaw.


While not perfect, they are for his two year old nephew who will think his uncle is a wizard for his ability to bring home such a great school project.


Not only that, but the pride in craftsmanship shows on his face. I never got to do anything like this in 6th grade.


What I do remember is that in 5th grade they brought a bunch of pre-cut scrapes of wood into class and let us assemble them with glue. I believe the teacher only let us do the nailing. It made a napkin holder which I still have today. I took 1/2" tiles and made yellow Sahuaros and put sky blue around them with brown underneath. They didn't have green. Ha!

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Topic: New Project Ideas
Posted: Thursday, November 18, 2021 9:11:43 AM

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When You Have Small Classes...

Sometimes a class can be a little too small and it affects the whole dynamic. Smaller classes can go either way. It can be lackluster or it can be a challenging opportunity. Such is the case for my first period. Three students are in this class and we usually get more done than say the 14 student class might.

The reason for this is quite simple and everybody can guess what it is. The teacher has more time to concentrate more energy on each student and that can make for more challenging projects with multiple learning opportunities. Student's have to also be up for that challenge.

So after a slow start to the new school year, one student in this class rises above the others in this regard. Viola is not your average 7th grader. Small of physical stature but large in her motivation to take on unusual and challenging projects, she is making a name for herself among her piers.

After the usual projects that new students make to learn their way around the shop, she showed the interest in increasing the challenge by first coming up with her own design for a ring and necklace stand. Of course I didn't bring the camera in time to catch a photo of that project and in fact, also didn't catch a picture of this one either. Thanks go to her mother for sending me this photo from home.



Viola brought in a small roughly painted chest of drawers that her little sister found at a yard sale and declared that she wanted to make a duplicate. She was even planning to paint it the same way. It requires some parts be cut on the table saw that obviously can't be done at this age. Together we broke down a cutting list and I proceeded to cut the pieces.

I know what you are thinking. You made the whole thing for her. Well, not exactly but I did have to cut these parts to size and make some of the joints. She worked on the sanding, gluing & assembly and also found and executed the designs.



Being adept at finding and manipulating images, then setting and running the laser engraver, she did a great job on the drawer fronts. I showed her how to remove the center flower and replace it on the lathe turned knobs before they were put into the drawer. I told her painting it might ruin the look that she has achieved and she agreed to try out a simple clear oil finish.

That's all it took... Ha! It went home so fast it didn't even have time to dry or for a 2nd coat and even a possible clear coat. This leaves the surface looking dry. It doesn't matter. I think it will last far into the future and she will look back on this with fond memories of wood shop.

That's always been my main goal, to give them all better memories of junior high wood shop than I got. Seriously, it's a wonder how I ended up teaching wood shop with the awful first experiences I had. She is clearly able to put some of the skills she is learning to good use. Good job Viola.

After some thought as I have been writing, I've realized how many other projects have gotten away from me this school before I could take a photo of it and do a little bragging. This project however stands out for not being on the top shelves with our other more regular projects and that has inspired others to follow Viola's lead.

As for me, I'm trying to hold on for 2 1/2 more years before I retire for good. I hate to think that this school may have a hard time finding someone dedicated and caring enough to continue what has been started here.

For now though, I have to get back to work. You see, I also have in my already hectic schedule, an unofficial "ghost" class... of (so far) all girls... who come in on their own at lunch every day. They almost always bring a friend with them (potential new recruits... Ha) and as it gets larger than most of my real classes, it all adds up to fun.

Hey, I have to literally chase them out when their cafeteria time comes around and some of them invariably return after scarfing down the menu of the day. :)

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