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Wood Shop in High School

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Forum topic by James Gallo posted 03-14-2019 01:03 PM 1196 views 0 times favorited 34 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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James Gallo

74 posts in 2499 days


03-14-2019 01:03 PM

My son is a Business Teacher at a high school here in Pennsylvania. He became close friends with the woodworking shop teacher and showed an interest in what the teacher was doing. Even tho he never showed an interest in my woodshop, however, he had moved away by the time I started woodworking.
Anyway, he helped my son build a dog bowl holder and it was very nice. It was made from red and white oak, and pocket screws. I figured he used pocket screws because they are fast and easy for a beginner.
Now my son wants to build end tables for his living room, again, out of oak. I asked my son if he was going to learn a new joinery method and he said he would ask.
I told him to ask the shop teacher about mortise and tenon joinery and the teacher said “whaaaaaat??? That’s way too hard. All I use is pocket holes.”
I don’t have anything against pocket hole joinery, they are great for a fast build and for newbies, but for a shop teacher to say it’s too hard, it makes me wonder what the actual students are learning.
I told my son I would teach him a mortise and tenon, or even dowels, but he said he is just going to let the shop teacher guide him and besides, the wood is free.
I don’t know, what do you all think?

Jim

-- Jg, Pittsburgh


34 replies so far

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Steve

1275 posts in 971 days


#1 posted 03-14-2019 02:12 PM

I’d let him continue to build as he wants to. Everyone has to start somewhere and it sounds like he’s only just started woodworking. I’d see if this is a hobby he sticks with before trying to get him to learn something new.

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pottz

5267 posts in 1373 days


#2 posted 03-14-2019 02:12 PM

sounds like they need to get a better woodshop teacher if thats all he knows how to do.thats like going to cooking school and you ask the teacher how to make a cake from scratch and they say thats too hard open the box-lol.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

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jonah

2075 posts in 3687 days


#3 posted 03-14-2019 02:16 PM

I can understand not wanting to use very time consuming joinery with HS students. They might only have a couple of class periods to do a project.

I do think it’s worth learning about them, or at least some easier variation (tongue and groove or something for panels, maybe), but I’m not going to second-guess someone from afar on it.

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Rich

4482 posts in 978 days


#4 posted 03-14-2019 02:53 PM

Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.

An extension of that which I came up with when I was working in engineering at a major aerospace firm was: Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach. Those who can’t teach work in QA.

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

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HokieKen

9512 posts in 1527 days


#5 posted 03-14-2019 03:42 PM



Those who can, do. Those who can t, teach.

An extension of that which I came up with when I was working in engineering at a major aerospace firm was: Those who can, do. Those who can t, teach. Those who can t teach work in QA.

- Rich

BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! Printing a screen cap and going to see my buddies in QA right now :-))

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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Brawler

34 posts in 219 days


#6 posted 03-14-2019 04:33 PM

My guess is that the wood shop teacher never have the students long enough to really show details. So either he doesn’t need to know more difficult joinery, or figures it too time consuming. Your son probably wants to stick with the shop teacher because of less pressure than working with dad. School wood shop is basically for striking up interest in wood working.

-- Daniel

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pottz

5267 posts in 1373 days


#7 posted 03-14-2019 04:41 PM



My guess is that the wood shop teacher never have the students long enough to really show details. So either he doesn t need to know more difficult joinery, or figures it too time consuming. Your son probably wants to stick with the shop teacher because of less pressure than working with dad. School wood shop is basically for striking up interest in wood working.

- Brawler


very true i had better tools at home so i never went past the beginner class-lol.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

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Woodknack

12804 posts in 2769 days


#8 posted 03-14-2019 05:15 PM

I think building a dog bowl holder with screws is fine. I would screw that sucker together too but I’m not really sentimental. I recently built 2 end tables using pocket screws for the aprons, and I painted the bases, they’ll be around long after I’m dead because every woman who sees them, loves them. And since the bases are painted, they can be repainted to match any room. If the wife loves the furniture, it will stay around. If she hates it, it’s going to go regardless of joinery. Pocket screws are just screws and have been around longer than any of us, not some radical new thing. Every door in your house is attached with screws and nothing gets abused more than doors. The other nice thing about screws is they are easy to repair. If one strips out, jam a toothpick in there and screw it back in, no specialized knowledge required. If a M&T comes loose (which they shouldn’t because everyone pins their tenons), chances are it will get fixed with a screw, a nail, or go to the dump unless the person is a woodworker. That said, all my other tables were built with (pinned) m&t joinery because it’s a stronger joint and they were nicer tables but most furniture is not meant to be heirlooms. My point being is that I don’t care if someone builds something with screws, it doesn’t offend me.

As for the IA teacher, I don’t know the situation. Just because he showed one guy how to use pocket hole screws doesn’t mean that’s how he teaches his class, it just means he didn’t want to be bothered teaching this person other joinery. If you are concerned, contact the teacher and talk to them directly. You might change his outlook or might learn his reasons.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View remdds's profile

remdds

36 posts in 3014 days


#9 posted 03-14-2019 05:20 PM

I agree that there is limited time for a high school teacher to teach advanced techniques. In the high school here, however, they not only teach some of those techniques but make the space available for very complicated projects. I took an evening class there myself and found the equipment exceptionally good (a little beat up) but very complete.

It was not unheard of for a student to build a grandfather clock. I’m sure those projects require a few after hours sessions but those special instructors are out there.

View CWWoodworking's profile

CWWoodworking

484 posts in 568 days


#10 posted 03-14-2019 05:26 PM



Those who can t teach work in QA.

- Rich

Priceless.

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CWWoodworking

484 posts in 568 days


#11 posted 03-14-2019 05:57 PM

James, would you have had the same reaction if the teacher only taught M&T?

Nothing wrong with pocket holes.

There is all sorts of “Woodworking”. People get too bent out of shape about different ways of doing things.

Personally, I enjoy the fast pace environment of what I do. The challenge of competing against a market dominated by imports. Finding ways to build things faster and better. It’s still “Woodworking”. Just a different type.

Others loathe what I don’t, prefer to really take their time and make an heirloom.

Neither is wrong.

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James Gallo

74 posts in 2499 days


#12 posted 03-14-2019 08:54 PM

You’r Righ CWW. And yes, I would be upset if ALL they taught was mortise and tenon. And as I said, there’s nothing wrong with pocket screws, and I use them myself occasionally. But what got me was his comment that M &T are way too hard and all he has ever used were pocket screws. Granted, his time with students is limited, but what about the students who are quick learners and want to move beyond. I don’t think this shop teacher has the capacity to teach them or at least expose them to other methods.

-- Jg, Pittsburgh

View WoodenDreams's profile

WoodenDreams

603 posts in 299 days


#13 posted 03-14-2019 09:11 PM

I took a woodshop class in high school 45 yrs ago. If I remember they only taught rabbit and dado joints, but explained the other joints, but not how to make the other joints. they graded use on what we did and not the projects we chose. Time was a big issue, cause once you pulled out the project at the start of class, the Classroom hour was over before you really did anything. 95% of us in the class took the uncompleted project home to complete when the coarse was over. I think most kids never complete the uncompleted project that they end up taking home. I know I didn’t. To most kids, I think they take shop is so they don’t have to take Math, Social Studies or English courses.

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pottz

5267 posts in 1373 days


#14 posted 03-14-2019 10:35 PM



You’r Righ CWW. And yes, I would be upset if ALL they taught was mortise and tenon. And as I said, there’s nothing wrong with pocket screws, and I use them myself occasionally. But what got me was his comment that M &T are way too hard and all he has ever used were pocket screws. Granted, his time with students is limited, but what about the students who are quick learners and want to move beyond. I don’t think this shop teacher has the capacity to teach them or at least expose them to other methods.

- James Gallo


i agree james, time is always the case in school classes but when a student comes with an interest the least the teacher could have done was show him the process of making a mortise and tenon and explained time wouldn’t allow it rather than brush it off as too hard.kids are hard enough to motivate teachers shouldn’t discourage the ones that want to learn.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

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Lazyman

3409 posts in 1776 days


#15 posted 03-14-2019 11:19 PM

Problem may be that the teacher doesn’t know well enough how to do a M&T joint to do it himself, much less teach it. Shop teachers are often versed in many areas, Wood, Metal, leather, etc., but proficient in few or none of them. They would probably be great handymen but not the best choice to make or even fix furniture. The teacher for the shop class I took in 8th grade was terrible.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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