I probably would have started woodworking a lot earlier in life if my experience in 9th-grade shop class hadn’t been so abysmal. I don’t remember what I tried to build during the class, I just remember that I didn’t finish it.
That’s not to say that the class was a total waste. I did learn a few things. My shop teacher was a stickler for safety, so I’ve always paid close attention to that. But, the one thing we didn’t have available back then was good dust collection or air clearners. Consequently, I breathed a lot of sawdust into my lungs before I began to see the benefits to wearing a dust mask.
I suspect there are a lot of things we all wish our shop teacher’s had taught us during those woodworking shop classes. Doug Hicks has come up with a few of his own and in November, he’ll be teaching a seminar at the Woodsmith Store in Des Moines on this very topic.
Doug is more than qualified to teach the seminar. Early in his career, he was a shop teacher in Illinois and New Hampshire. Here are a few examples of things he wished he’d learned while in high school (and tried to teach in all his classes):
- How to set a hand plane
- How to properly drill screw holes
- How to use test pieces
- How to sneak up on a cut
- How not to use pencil lines
- How to sand “across” the grain.
So that begs the question — Do you have any high school stories about things you wish you’d learned in woodworking shop class? If you do, send them to me using the comment section below. Or email them directly to Doug Hicks. Then later on, I’ll have a follow up after his class on all the tips we’ve come up with.
Note: The Fall Seminars at the Woodsmith Store begin this September 28th with “How to Get Started in Woodworking,” and run through December 14th with “Cabinetmaking 101: The Basics of Designing and Building Cabinets.” They’re every Thursday at 6:30pm (except on Thanksgiving). A full schedule of the classes will be posted in the calendar soon at WoodworkingSeminars.com.