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Profile: tbockman
User Name: tbockman
Forum Rank: Newbie
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Joined: Friday, November 17, 2006
Last Visit: Friday, April 22, 2022 12:09:13 PM
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Last 10 Posts
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

A big thank you goes out to Woodcraft for hosting this site.

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

A big thank you goes out to Woodcraft for hosting this site.

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


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
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

A big thank you goes out to Woodcraft for hosting this site.

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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Topic: Introductions
Posted: Friday, November 12, 2021 10:16:40 AM
Sorry I have taken so long to respond. I was assuming you would see that I often give curriculum away. Here are my posts. The same offer applies to anyone who thinks they can use the curriculum our early group spearheaded. It's a great collection of material to have, with very minimal cost of a stamped self-addressed envelope and a 64GB flash drive although it is beginning to get too large for even that. It can be either what is available in google docs (completely cost free), or by flash drive. Google docs is limited and never tells you when your uploads don't fit if it takes too much space, so it can be a hit or miss. It also doesn't show as well from their viewers. It is much better to have the flash drive and use PowerPoint and WORD to view it.

For some reason our school decided to make our you tube channels age private, but kids tell me they can still access it even tough I can't. Seems strange to be kept out of my own channel so I can't upload anything new. I uploaded some of it here and opened it to public view.

To contact me, remove the (NOSPAM) and this is the updated email address.

Topic: New Project Ideas
Posted: Saturday, November 6, 2021 11:23:15 AM

A big thank you goes out to Woodcraft for hosting this site.

Ch ch ch changes

It has been a while since I last posted. I think most of my students lost confidence in their abilities while they were doing off campus learning. They really seem hesitant to try new things and they ask for more help than ever. They also seem different in social setting. I don't know if any of you have noticed this at your schools, but around here we have definitely seen a difference in behavior. I'm sure over time this will change, but until then I have to keep encouraging them to try new things and keep moving forward. It has taken forever to get some of them past cutting simple shapes on the scroll saw. I've also had to slow down the cutting board projects since we quickly burned through the wood reserves I stockpiled when we were not here to use it up. This and the laser engraver are by far our most favorite projects. Then I noticed that I can't get onto my own You Tube account. Someone has changed the settings so only children can see it. Seems strange that the channel owner is blocked because he is over 18 years of age. Way over in fact. Ha!

So I put it onto a different account. Now I'm having issues with the video length as it won't accept the ping pong ball shooter since that one is over 15 min. I even did the verification and it still blocks it. Social media sucks!

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