I was reminded the other day of my
junior high wood shop. My first shop teacher was Mr. Clark.
The first day in class was early
Sept. It was still real hot in West Virginia and the
pollen was high. One kid, William, had allergies so bad he
his eyes were watering. Mr. Clark took one look at him and
said "What's a matter, do you miss your Momma?" Which
embarrassed the kid but was real funny to the rest of us.
Then it was time for our safety
lecture. The teacher walked over to the band saw and said:
does anyone have a pencil?, and I gave him mine. He turned
on the saw and swiped the pencil across the blade, which cut it
in half. He turned off the saw and said "It will do the
same thing to your finger" and that was the end of the lecture.
I spent the first few weeks making
a house address sign (name and house number) for my father.
I planed a pine board from 3/4" thick down to 1/2" with a
Stanley #5. I was so proud of the finished product I
wouldn't let my father hang it on the house in the weather.
It hangs in my shop now.
I learned a lot in my 3 years in
shop. I made a toolbox, a stool, several bowls, and small
stuff. I've never got over the feeling of self-sufficiency
I got from finishing a project and I think it's a big reason I'm
into woodworking now.
I think it's a real shame most middle schools don't have
shop. It's a time in a kid's life he needs to fell like he
can do something for himself. It's one of the things that
helps a young person down the path from kid to adult.