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 September 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.
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
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 feel 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.