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Profile: tbockman
User Name: tbockman
Forum Rank: Newbie
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Joined: Friday, November 17, 2006
Last Visit: Wednesday, August 5, 2020 5:35:06 PM
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Last 10 Posts
Topic: New Project Ideas
Posted: Wednesday, August 5, 2020 3:06:07 PM
Building a quiz

Building my first and second self-correcting quizzes has been fun. The links are to you tube videos which are a lifesaver. This example of a self-correcting quiz is in progress so changes are still being made. The first problem was fitting the image onto the page. It kept wanting to cut off the edges. As you can see, I finally figured it out. I was trying to place the image at the top in the header and it didn't want to give enough space for it.

Another problem with the small space is figuring out ways to ask multiple choice questions without giving away answers, especially on a topic like this. I'm sure I will eventually figure it out, but this is what I have so far.

I eventually added a statement about placing a check mark in the correct box. Here is the answer key...

Feel free to respond. What is the best way to make this quiz without giving away the answers?

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Topic: New Project Ideas
Posted: Wednesday, August 5, 2020 2:34:41 PM
Distance Learning

This is a you tube video that shows how to get started using Google classroom.

I've already had a few teachers request entry into my google drive. My biggest concern is that if they want to make changes, that they download their own copy and make their own changes so nothing on the drive gets altered. The amount of items I have on the drive are really going to help me with distance learning over Google classroom.

Here I'm posting my first two weeks of Google classroom assignments. Once I've posted, it changes the way you view it so I made this first image from the posted assignment...

This assignment went out to student over Google classroom Monday morning. There is an intro video, cover letter, permission slip, student behavior agreement, and safety rules that parents and students go over and discuss together so parents can sign off. I'm hoping this has students ready to begin once they return.

This next one is not yet posted, so it looks different.

Week 2 is almost ready to go. I'm waiting on a few videos being made by an outside source. There is also my first self-correcting quiz. The view here is of the building of the assignment before you press the assign button in the upper right corner.

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Topic: New Project Ideas
Posted: Thursday, July 30, 2020 8:58:16 AM
An Important Announcement

This site is scheduled to come down!

Before that happens, I want you to know...
how much it has meant to me to share what I do!

If you haven't already done so, contact me and I will share my google drive! Actually, it takes up two drives because of the additional construction curriculum I also have.

This is an opportunity to show how well my curriculum can be used for distance learning!

I will also share anything I can about which assignments I am using and when I am using them.

There are dozens of changeable PowerPoint's on every conceivable woodworking & (green) construction topic!

There are hundreds of documents for handouts!

There are hundreds of videos and I will be adding even more!

I am finding it is easy to fit them into Google Classroom, the format choice of our school.

I have been making self-grading quizzes using these materials and with a little help from youtube..

What at first appeared to be difficult has turned out to be very easy using this curriculum and it has made distance learning something that might actually turn out to be fun. I may only have a few years left before I retire (for good that is). At this late point in my career, I want to pass this experience on to the next generation of wood shop teachers.

Hang in there. Contact me anytime by removing the red... woodshopteacher@(NO-SPAM)

I have to thank WOODCRAFT for setting this site up so we could all get to know each other. My hope is to convince them to keep this going as an easier way for us to stay in touch.

***UPDATE*** 7-30-2020 It seems in my latest e-mail from Woodcraft... they may be reconsidering. I hope they let it stay in place so we can work together to get through this time of uncertainty.

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Topic: New Project Ideas
Posted: Tuesday, July 28, 2020 3:09:31 PM
Oneida may want to host this thread on their website!

When we were in the middle of our first distance learning lockout, Woodcraft had the server get hacked. That is why this disappeared. I only found this out because I was trying so hard to make contact with their tech department. I badly wanted to download this thread since it has so much good information that I still use every school year.

Eventually I heard from September Fleming telling me they lost it all and were no longer going to host us. A few days later she contacted me to let me know it they were able to restore it long enough for me to retrieve what I wanted, so I worked all weekend to get everything I could. I have suggested that we should advertise Woodcraft so we can stay running.

Then this week I had the opportunity to talk with Oneida and they may want to host us. It may be wishful thinking on my part because they might only want the story I have of installing their system. I'll know more later.

Speaking of the Oneida dust control system, I've made a few more custom adjustments. The dust around certain operations is still enough of a problem that I wanted to try to reduce it anywhere I could.

The scroll saws are a good example of this. My earlier attempt at a scrollnado type experiment ended when student decided they didn't like having it in their way, so I had to come up with something easier to adjust and use.

To add a better dust pick up on this machine, I started with a piece of angle iron. After making a 1/4" pilot hole, I borrowed a step bit and enlarged the hole to fit the flex tubing.

Then after shaping it the way I wanted it to look, I drilled a 1/4" mounting hole. Waiting to shape it made clamping easier for both operations.

Using 1" garbage disposal hose (the least expensive way by obtaining it from Home Depot), I attached the flex tubing to the saw.

This is tapped into the system below the saw.

The larger hose and the flex adjustments work so well, I wish I would have thought of this sooner, but at that time I had run out of money. I would like to have made the flex tube longer, but the way we did this cost only $20 per machine. Once the students are back to school, I will know if we will have to make them longer, but right now, they really really really work. I'm totally serious. What a difference. Once I have video evidence, I will try to find a way to post it.

I also plan on giving out information on everything I am doing to teach classes remotely. I occasionally come across other teachers items and know many of you would appreciate the help.

Even if woodworkingteachers does shut down, hang in there. Contact me anytime by removing the red... woodshopteacher@(NO-SPAM)

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Topic: Table saw suggestions
Posted: Tuesday, July 28, 2020 8:55:54 AM
Everyone should have a SawStop

I thought it might be a good idea to float this back to the top for anybody who is new to teaching wood shop.

This is a thumb photo taken a week after one of our office staff had cut herself on an old tablesaw that she uses at home.

Compare... stitches vs. napkin...

I also wanted to let you know that SawStop seems to have noticed some of the same problems I've talked about and they have done something about it in their new designs.

Where to start...

The saw I have now was the floor Rockler store model, so it came already set up.

A list of the annoying problems we previously had with our Sawstop machines....

1. The brake would sometimes go off for no apparent reason. The company would test them anyway and count it as a finger touch and usually replaced them. It cost about $125 to restore it back unless SawStop sends you a free replacement brake, worth about $60. Like I've already said, reusing blades that appear OK is not a good idea. One we tried to salvage ended up losing a tooth and we never determined where that tooth ended up.

We have been using the saw a lot for slicing up cutting board material in a variety of hardwoods. It has not failed once. As I was taking this photo, I noticed the plastic tape barrier already on the brake.

2. Sometimes the blade embedded brake was difficult to get out of the machine. Remembering back, it seemed there was an optimum blade height that made it easier to remove. Still, it took time to restore and until you could get to it, the saw would be out of commission.

Since we have not even tried to change the blade, there is no news to report on this topic.

3. We broken a key. It simply twisted off, and even using the other key, the brake still could not be turned off (if you needed to cut high moisture wood).

No news to report.

4. The blade height lock wedge pieces wore away much too easy and the ground up metal would mix with the grease becoming so thick the crank would barely turn. SawStop acknowledged the problem and gave me new ones, but they quickly did the same thing again, so I removed them completely.

Runs up and down and tilts (in the opposite direction which is very nice) with none of the previous issues.

You can see in this left tilt photo that the riving knife also comes with the SawStop and is used on all European saws because it makes the saw safer. Here it is off the saw.

5. The surface flush door latch to hold the lower compartment door shut, quit working. I had to rig something to keep it closed to hold down (close) the open door switch so the saw could run.

The access to the lower compartment has moved to the other side where it is much more convenient. It does not contain that same latch, and is a smaller molded plastic door. Access to the lower compartment is much easier.

6. The small dust port would always get clogged leaving the saw dust to spill into the lower base of the saw. By the time you'd catch it, it was way over full, causing you to have to stop everything and clean it out. This happened all the time at the cabinet shop too. If you haven't had to clean one of these out on a regular basis, it's not exactly easy, especially when they were made to not fill up with dust all the time.

Some of that may have been the old style dust collector we had with 4" pipe running 40 feet under a concrete floor. Who knows if the 1966 pipes had rusted through. I know there was a spring close by and when the maintenance had to shore up a pillar near the office, there was water under the floor. No reason to believe it wasn't in other areas of the building too, but all that is moot. The left side access makes clean out much easier.

7. It was sometimes finicky. The error lights would light or blink codes even when nothing was wrong. You would have to shut it down and restart it multiple times to reset/clear the computer.

I've only had one blinking code that was due to turning off the saw with the wrong switch. I have not replaced a brake or blade and have not had any other issues with this so far. SawStop won the patent infringement issue.

Lastly, if you want to keep the shop cleaner, use the vacuum guard. When I have close cutting to do... without the vacuum guard in place, it sure kicks up a ton of dust.

I hope this information helps.
Topic: New Project Ideas
Posted: Wednesday, March 4, 2020 8:13:12 AM
The Radio Flyer

As one of my challenge project which until now has not been posted, I made a little Radio Flyer wagon. This student saw it on the upper most shelf and asked if he could have a closer look. It's been up there a long time with no other student even commenting on it. The one thing I changed after we got it down was the size of my wheels. They just didn't look right.

Anyway, he liked it and we worked together as I made changes to mine. My wheels came out bigger than his and perhaps if I ever get a chance in my day to get it back down, I will provide a photo of it. With the larger wheels, mine actually has taken on more of a cartoonish look.

Using all the spare parts we can muster from my mishmash of hardware, we are both able to get our wheels onto our wagons after we also installed a lift kit to raise the wagon higher up. He also extended the tongue and lengthened the handle which I like better than what I did.

I got a little ahead of him and added wheel covers to mine. Once he saw them, he made some and added them to his.... after I took this last photo that is...

Anthony did such a good job on this challenge.

What can I say.... I love this job! It's the best place I've ever worked. How much better can this get. Now.... if I can just keep my health on track. I actually have a pretty amazing back story about that topic. Let's just say it's complicated.


I got one of these wagons on my sixth birthday and spent many hours playing in it. Aaaaa the memories... If only I hadn't later been talked into disassembling it for a go cart. Older brothers.

It's kind of funny that this thread started as a way to share project ideas only to end up being a running log of activity on building a school wood shop at a school that doesn't really have the money to do what we are doing. I hope you are enjoying seeing what we have been working towards, even as I begin to think it's almost time for me to retire again. Physical things as you get older can really bog you down and that's what is happening to me.

If you haven't taken the time to look back at some of the updates I have been making to each post, then you are missing out on some really great stuff. I figured out how to make links within this site, that will go directly to each post. Slow connections or Internet speeds might require a little patience to load, but using the back browser arrow brings you directly back to where you left off reading. For example.... here is a direct link to the crankyman automata post and the back arrow brings you back here.

These links help clarify or point out ideas without a lot of fumbling around on your part. Now this makes me wish I would have made the posts smaller, concentrating on a single concept/issue/project, but doing that creates more pages. However, I could further direct teachers to these concepts in greater detail... so maybe some day I will be able to break it up into smaller sections. Doing this as an after thought would not keep them in chronological order. That order is part of what I think makes it more fascinating.... to watch a budding program thrive from day to day, week to week, etc... and work within the constraints of the times.

It's also too bad that DivShare has messed up their site. If any of you have been trying to get material on the broken links, let me know. I found my stash of material on one of my external hard drives, so I should be able to send them over e-mail. As I have time in the future, I would have uploaded this material to photobucket and remake the links, however, photobucket changed the free user agreement and I'm unsure as to what will work and what won't. Contact me so I can send material directly over e-mail.

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A message to new wood shop teachers who may have stumbled onto this site!

Because of spam... this site has been closed for quite some time now, but if you would like to join, we could use some new blood. The older guys have been retiring and thinning out the ranks. I didn't ask permission to post this, but I found out from a new member that he did this to gain access.... Send an e-mail to I have noticed that this is helping new members get into the site while keeping the spammers out.

I've seen at least thirteen new members have signed up since making this notice.

Topic: New Project Ideas
Posted: Saturday, February 22, 2020 12:08:19 PM
A simple robot that is a big hit!

Topic: New Project Ideas
Posted: Saturday, February 22, 2020 11:45:16 AM
More safety sign ideas!

Using images from old magazines, and given snappy titles to add a little retro pizazz. They are fun to make and more fun to see the reactions they bring. I added one more. It's the same dummy one except the wording in more like... Which one is the dummy? Then below... It's the one not wearing safety glasses!

Now I am no dummy... because I know better than to do one like that, without first asking my Principal what she thought of using the word dummy. She thought it was hilarious and got right to the point. I'm glad because a student thought that one up... and he also thought up the Go to jail sign with the monopoly man. Good job Chase!
Topic: New Project Ideas
Posted: Tuesday, February 11, 2020 8:17:31 AM
While combing through old magazines

It has been a rough month or two, but things are looking up. In fact, I'm planning to stay a little bit longer after all.

While I was on medical leave and things seemed bleak, I needed something to stay busy to keep my mind off the topic, so among other things, I managed to find 1940's era Popular Mechanics on-line where there are many fantastic projects and shop ideas. While I have most copies of these in my home shed, it takes time to scan them. At google books, that is done, except many of them came from a collection where the person often wrote in the columns. Mine are clean library discards.

I'm working my way through a decade of wonderful ideas, when materials were scarce and everyone seemed to be pulling together for the common good. Some of these shop ideas are priceless. I've been clipping examples to save in a file where it will be easier to access without remembering which issue it came from.

I might even go forward into the 50's and back into the 30's a few more issues, at least until the ideas seem to not seem as relevant. It's already difficult to find some of the auto parts they used to make some of their small machines. And... the radio, photography, use of asbestos, and white lead stuff almost seems ridicules when you look at them today, but those shop ideas... now there we can still find relevance.

A lot of the ideas I am after center around not only the wood shop, but also metalworking. If you would like a zip folder of what I have clipped, drop me an e-mail.

***UPDATE*** 2-22-20 Here is how the boxer came out, thanks to our art teacher for the painting of the pieces. The boxers were made 1/2 size so they aren't overly large. The template set is gaining a lot of attention as this is quickly becoming a new favorite. To avoid using a lead weight, a single 3/8" nut is incorporated.

***UPDATE*** 3-3-20 Several students decided to take up the boxer challenge project.

He's finding out the hard way that MDF and solid wood are different.

With time running short, the nine weeks are almost over, he may barely get this assemble. You guessed it... this is the only one I have been following in photos and it has been a struggle competing with the clock. Art has closed the doors to outside students coming in as they clean their space for the next quarter classes. Still, it's going to come together at the last minute no doubt.
Topic: New Project Ideas
Posted: Sunday, December 22, 2019 12:01:19 PM

Most images borrowed from the Internet.

I had a chance to watch the WISH MAN movie on Netflix which I accidentally found out about in the Golden Corridor Living magazine I was reading in an office waiting room. I found the movie to be enjoyable especially since I am proud to have actually met the Wishman himself... Frank Shankwitz, the founder of the "Make a Wish" foundation. I didn't know he was the founder of Make a Wish at the time though because he humbly presents himself in western attire. (Frank Shankwitz)

I was still teaching at Prescott High School when this casually dressed cowboy comes in with a request. He had seen our program featured in the local newspaper many times for unusual community projects. "I'm from the class of 1961 he says. Can you make a wishing well for an upcoming Make a Wish event? Something that will help draw people in." I said, "Sure, how big we make this will depend on how large a bucket you bring to me." Now I was expecting one of those small buckets you find in the craft stores, but he brought me one from the local casino. It was large enough (maybe 7") that I worried about how we were going to accomplish the task of this large wishing well. It was suppose to mimic the wishing well by Thomas Kincade and be ready by the event date 2-28-04.

As usual I got the art teacher involved by having his students paint the project to match the photo.

Only when Frank Shankwitz came back with NBC in tow, and after watching it on the nightly news... did we find out who he actually was. He presented me with signed artwork by the wish recipient, a very young boy. Frank also gave me photos of the event. An unassuming man not looking for glory, Frank dresses humbly and speaks softly to get things done. The movie captures the Make a Wish story. I highly recommend seeing it.

I'm sorry I can't remember much more details about the recipient/boy except the artwork was framed in a laser engraved frame and it stayed on my wall for almost 8 years before the new Principal unbelievably chose to close the program in 2012. That made little sense as total school enrollment slid even further. The artwork is currently somewhere in storage.

After that Principal was asked to leave the school the following year, the new Principal tried to get me to come back, but with their still declining enrollment, they had to come up with a way to downsize twelve more staff members. Due to Charter schools, the high school became a shell of what it once was program wise and was reduced to a B school.

I can't say if keeping my program would have kept their numbers up, but other staff members thought so or they wouldn't have asked me to come back.

I know I've said this before, but this might be my last year. More health issues have shown up and I'm not sure I will want to go on after this. It could even be sooner than I think. Sad. I'm hoping to say more to you about this in the near future and like I said, this has been said before and here I still am today.

***UPDATE*** I'm on medical leave right now and have had both good and bad news. The good far outweighs the bad and I may be able to continue for a while longer after all, but not without first taking some more time off to deal with the bad. In another week or so I'll be able to return with a hopefully brighter future.

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