I took a self-study drafting course as an elective in 9th grade (at the high school). I sat in the drafting room and did hand drafting while the shop teacher held shop class on the other side of the wall. We could see each other through large glass windows. He was willing to work with me, teach me technique, and grade my drawings. That was great. That was my precursor to learning CADD years later.
Geometry, trigonometry, and physics were very useful courses that I used throughout my working career and in the wood shop. Learning about angles, sines, cosines, tangents, and calculating angles were extremely useful. Physics taught me force loads and calculating strengths.
Unfortunately, during 7th and 8th grade (in the junior high - different teacher than my 9th grade teacher), shop was a mandatory course for two periods per week in 7th and 8th grade. The teacher was always yelling, had a few favorite students that he allowed to use tools, and restricted most of us to hand sanding blocks of wood with a worn out piece of sandpaper to make a useless window sill trinket. Most students dreaded wood shop and considered it a joke.
I learned most of my woodworking doing projects with my father and sometimes great uncles who used mostly hand tools (hand saws, chisels, planes, brace & bits, screwdrivers, and hammers) and a few hand held electric tools such as circular saw, jigsaw and drills. If it were not for them, I probably would not be enjoying wood working today. I truly learned to love hand tools, refurbish, and maintain old hand tools from them.
I would recommend to high school students with an interest in wood working to join a woodworkers or wood turners club, and find a good mentor (or two) who is interested in teaching and working with you to learn the hobby/trade. Most have a love of the hobby and are more than willing to offer their knowledge to a willing and eager youth.
Last edited by Piper; 03-14-2018 at 02:22 PM.
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