In woodshop, students discover the satisfaction of making everyday objects by hand. Through a careful sequence of projects, they learn how to use a range of woodworking techniques and tools. For each project, there is an emphasis on woodshop safety, proper technique, and creative expression.
A lot of it is planning—planning out a project, being creative, problem solving. You’re starting something from nothing, and there’s a series of steps you have to follow to get it successfully completed.” – Peter McKenna, woodshop teacher
Math and science are interwoven with each project. In addition to measuring, calculating fractions, and working with shapes, students pay attention to the science of building around the way the wood moves. “Wood was once living, and it still changes with the seasons,” notes Mr. McKenna.
All students in grades 4 – 6 take woodshop during part of the year.
Grade 4 students are introduced to hand tools—such as coping saws, files, rasps, and hand planes—and simple electric tools as they build a fiesta fish and a whirligig. In grade 5, students build a Shaker step stool and a lap desk.
The clock project introduces sixth graders to manufacturing, as they use jigs and fixtures to shape the pieces uniformly. Woodturning provides a more freeform challenge, as students craft a lamp or an ice cream scoop.
Woodshop is offered as an arts elective each term for students in grade 7 - 9. Mr. McKenna changes the project each trimester in order to introduce students to as many different aspects of woodworking as possible. Upper Schoolers work with power tools and learn more advanced techniques such as joinery, veneering, and steam-bending wood.
The spring project is always Adirondack chairs. Students can make an Adirondack chair, settee, rocking chair, footstool, or side table. Upper Schoolers often create a set of Adirondack pieces over the course of several spring trimesters.