High Schoolers

  • Advertise with us

« back to Hand Tools forum

Forum topic by bwad40 posted 09-12-2018 04:23 PM 673 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View bwad40's profile


18 posts in 2067 days

09-12-2018 04:23 PM

Hello All,

I was wondering if they were any other high school woodworking teachers on here and if you teach how to use chisels? I have been teaching for about 7 years now and decided this year to teach student how to use chisels for cutting basic joints (dados, rabbets, etc.). I have gone over them in the past and we use them a little but here is my issue, I can’t get them to take care of them. We go over use, how to sharpen, how to avoid dulling but as soon as class is over they are all in bad shape.

I was wondering if anyone else experiences this? I have freshman to seniors and about 15 students a class, nearly 100 overall. I let the use hand tools while I take small groups to use equipment for the first time. I love for them to be able to use hand tools but I am just not sure it is worth it. Any thoughts?

7 replies so far

View remdds's profile


41 posts in 3741 days

#1 posted 09-12-2018 04:53 PM

I don’t know anything about teaching but perhaps if you started with how to sharpen they might get the idea that it
is easier to protect a sharp edge then demolish it and having to go through the resharpening process. ???

View bold1's profile


356 posts in 2963 days

#2 posted 09-12-2018 06:13 PM

Doubt you have enough chisels to assign 1 to each student. That worked on our jobs for company hand tools. If its the only 1 they have to use, they tend to take care of them, instead of letting the next guy worry about them, and they can’t blame the condition on anyone else using them.

View JayT's profile (online now)


6426 posts in 3326 days

#3 posted 09-12-2018 06:14 PM

One of the HS shop teachers here in town has each student bring their own chisels and sharpening stone. (Each student has their own small locker in the shop to store their personal tools) That way each student is responsible for their own tools and the teacher isn’t the one doing all the sharpening and maintenance.

-- - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View bwad40's profile


18 posts in 2067 days

#4 posted 09-12-2018 09:33 PM

Yeah we started with sharpening but I am still getting kids going right in to the vice and having them roll off tables. I would like to have students bring in their own or have enough for each students but that isn’t the case. I would love even more to have students bring in sharpening stones! I only have two right now so everyone else just uses plate glass and sand paper. That works but we go through SO much sand paper. I had thought about making a tool box for each table with a variety of different hand tools that table could share and be responsible for but I haven’t gotten around to it and I don’t think I’d have enough for each table (5 tables with about 3 to 4 students).

View eflanders's profile


339 posts in 2966 days

#5 posted 09-12-2018 10:04 PM

When I was an aide, I often used chisels with the students showing them the value and practicality of their use. I usually let them use sharp chisels first and then let them learn why a dull chisel does not function effectively. It didn’t take for some to realize that sharp was the way to go. But time didn’t allow for going into proper sharpening, thus it was my job to see that they were sharp for those that accepted their value. IMO The majority rely far too heavily on machines doing all of the work and did not have the patience for hand work. If they were taking woodworking as a career choice as in cabinet making. In our school building construction was a separate class. What are the goals of your school program? Job training, creativity or maybe something else? Many school districts have given up their wood working programs in favor of cad/cam programming, robotics and cnc as this meets the needs of more employers today.

View bwad40's profile


18 posts in 2067 days

#6 posted 09-13-2018 12:56 AM

We are a little bit of everything. Our school really values the arts but I am a bit of more practical and want job training. The classes I teach are actually called Beginning and Advanced Cabinet Making. My school is great and really leave me to my own devices so I have a lot of flexibility in what I teach. I am very lucky!!

View MrRon's profile


6036 posts in 4359 days

#7 posted 09-13-2018 04:45 PM

I think sharpening tools is a topic all it’s own and more time should be spent on learning sharpening. Naturally, a school course can’t devote that much time to only one aspect of using tools, so students never learn to appreciate how and why a well sharpened tool is important. There are students who take shop classes to get out of attending more stringent classes and don’t care about such things as sharpening. It takes only one student to mess it up for everyone. It has been a long time since I was in school. I wonder if a student is graded in sharpening.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics