High School Woodworking Projects

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Forum topic by bwad40 posted 08-21-2017 07:43 PM 2954 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View bwad40's profile


18 posts in 1723 days

08-21-2017 07:43 PM


I am a woodworking teacher in Colorado and I am looking to add more projects to my Beginning Woodworking class. I wanted to get some project idea from the forums on what my students should build. If anyone would like to include a photo or two of projects they think would be good for high school students, I would greatly appricate it! Students are between the freshman and junior year and have minimal woodworking experience. I typically keep the jointer too rabbet and dados. Any suggestion would be great!


18 replies so far

View BlasterStumps's profile


1682 posts in 1212 days

#1 posted 08-21-2017 08:29 PM

How about a chisel rack, hammer rack or drill bit organizer? Or, what about a pizza peel, or oven rack tool to pull and push the rack? Candle box, valet tray, tie rack, trivet also come to mind.
Mike in CO

You can tell by my suggestions that I am old, old huh? I could have suggested a stool, rubber band rifle, ash tray and then for sure told my age.

-- "I build for function first, looks second. Most times I never get around to looks." - Mike, western Colorado

View buckbuster31's profile


256 posts in 1288 days

#2 posted 08-21-2017 08:52 PM

we made a gun rack in my shop class. simple, yet fun. we are Kentucky boys here, so we all had guns. another easy one would be router bowls like you see for Halloween?

View patcollins's profile


1687 posts in 3637 days

#3 posted 08-21-2017 08:52 PM

My first project in shop in the 80’s was a door stop, second was a cutting board. My shop class was only a 6 week elective that I didn’t even get to pick in the 8th grade. Some students never made it past the door stop. We had to cut it all with a handsaw and chisel out the dado. Hard part was we didn’t even have a miter box it was all hand done.

View Rich's profile


5609 posts in 1361 days

#4 posted 08-21-2017 08:53 PM

You could always browse the projects section of LumberJocks for ideas. If you have any concern about using someone’s ideas, shoot them a message to see if they object.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View John's profile


246 posts in 2354 days

#5 posted 08-21-2017 08:54 PM

Our first project in high school was a basic cutting board. Taught us the basics of milling lumber, and gave us something to give to mom. That was followed up by a simple nightstand. 21 yrs later, mom still has the nightstand!

-- I measured once, cut twice, and its still too short...

View Just_Iain's profile


326 posts in 1188 days

#6 posted 08-21-2017 11:15 PM

Mine was a small box with lip to hold the top basically in place. Nicely sized to hold 3 decks of cards with some space to carry over.

Also you could ask if you could use the Joinery Bootcamp offered at:

-- For those about to die, remember your bicycle helmet!

View FirehouseWoodworking's profile


777 posts in 4045 days

#7 posted 08-21-2017 11:27 PM

Mine was a dog profile door stop, and that was in the sixth grade! We used a band saw for the rough profile and then handtools. A plane was used to bevel the stop. My mother still had it when she passed this past March.

Why not consider the traditional project for all new carpenters? A tool box! Simple, open tote. It can be built with power tools or simply hand tools. The joints can be simple butt joints or they can get fancy with dovetails!

It could become a useful project that potentially will last a lifetime and perhaps ignight a life long interest!


-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

View RDan's profile


154 posts in 3096 days

#8 posted 08-21-2017 11:30 PM

Thinking the kids might like a cell phone or tablet stand. For more advance students move on to one of the speaker bases. It would be a modern twist on these items. Dan

View bwad40's profile


18 posts in 1723 days

#9 posted 08-22-2017 12:30 AM

Thanks everyone for all of the suggestions! I would love to do an unplugged unit for the first part of the year so I could use work one on one with students on equipment, however; high schoolers are very frustrating with hand tools. I would be sharpening tools constantly! I will take all of your suggestions under advisement but if you have anymore, please keep them coming!

View Woodmaster1's profile


1474 posts in 3359 days

#10 posted 08-22-2017 01:30 AM

I use to have them do an all hand tool box with dovetails, something on the lathe, cutting boards (can be very involved a far as design), scroll saw project, then something they design at the end. I used a rotation to different stations so there was only 4 or five at each station. Tool and machine instruction at the beginning and assign the rotation groups and let the fun begin. I taught industrial arts for 40 yrs and had a blast. I use to have a notebook with all the projects but I don’t think it is around anymore.

View gmc's profile


72 posts in 2928 days

#11 posted 08-22-2017 12:31 PM

We made a small jewelry box with a drawer and routed recesses in the top for change and small items. Then we used glue and powered felt to coat the drawer bottom and the cut outs on top. We also made two small table lamps with a ships wheel to turn them on. That was 1970 and I still use them today. Between both projects we used all the major woodworking machines and several joining processes. They remind me today how simple works best. I went on to take metal shop and welding. I spent the next 40 years in the IT industry. A confused kid ;-)

-- Gary, Central Illinois

View tomsteve's profile


1037 posts in 1991 days

#12 posted 08-22-2017 02:48 PM

something i would suggest is having different catergories for the students to choose from. something like an outdoor furniture( planters,bird feeders,etc), kitchen ,utensils(cutting boards,wine glass rack,serving trays, knife holders), electronic accessories( ipad/phone stands), table top decorations( candle holders),and games.

View Bill Berklich's profile

Bill Berklich

1108 posts in 1160 days

#13 posted 08-22-2017 09:22 PM

Lots of really good ideas. Here’s one that plays to the tech frenzy, an iPad / cell holder. Easy to do cheap materials (2×4s will work) choice of hand tools or power tools. Curves are faired with a block plane and you can skip the little extra piece it’s really not needed. Zoom in on the sketch in the background for rough dimensions. Resize for a phone. Btw these are great sellers for fund raisers too.

-- Bill - Rochester MI

View BlasterStumps's profile


1682 posts in 1212 days

#14 posted 08-22-2017 10:36 PM

“bwad40” what part of Colorado are you in?
Mike in CO

-- "I build for function first, looks second. Most times I never get around to looks." - Mike, western Colorado

View bobasaurus's profile


3633 posts in 3956 days

#15 posted 08-22-2017 10:51 PM

In my middle school shop class in CO we made a CD case, chess board, and a miniature pool table with marbles from a kit.

Some suggestions for projects they might be interested in: cell phone cases/stands or fidget spinners (just ball bearings in a hole and bandsaw out a profile?).

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

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