Advice for our younger members - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 03-14-2018, 09:49 AM Thread Starter
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Advice for our younger members

For the young folks here still in high school from us old geezers.
What courses did you take in high school that help you with your
current wood work? What do you wish you had studied? For me
pencil drafting helped me a lot. I wish I had taken geometry.
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post #2 of 17 Old 03-14-2018, 10:24 AM
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I took both four years woodshop and drafting.

Last edited by Steve Neul; 03-14-2018 at 07:07 PM.
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post #3 of 17 Old 03-14-2018, 11:35 AM
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Three years of mechanical drawing, one year of architectural drawing, then engineering classes in college followed by years of working with machine blueprints and then applying what I knew to woodworking. I took shop one semester in HS but don't remember much from that; I made a simple Cedar box - whooohooo! The drawing classes served me far greater in the ensuing years. I still draw only now I use CAD programs.

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post #4 of 17 Old 03-14-2018, 12:05 PM
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I took woodworking and drafting in high school, but the biggest thing was having a father who was a woodworker and seeing him do it all the time. There's nothing like having it in your life. I don't know that I'd have ever pursued it otherwise, any more than I would know the things that I do about cars or construction or anything else. If he had been the kind of guy who took the car to the mechanic for everything, or who hired someone to do work around the house, I might not want to do things myself.
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post #5 of 17 Old 03-14-2018, 01:44 PM
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In junior high, woodshop was mandatory for boys. (Home economics was mandatory for girls.) I was terrified of woodshop at the time, so I got myself excused by joining the orchestra, which was a waste of time, but it got me out of woodshop. Woodshop was optional in high school. I didn't take it. Missing out on woodshop is one of my lifelong regrets. :-(

Each person is so different, but what helped me with my current woodworking has been:

* Focusing on safety first, and working hard to internalize safe tool usage so that it becomes "muscle memory" automatic.
* Practice. The more woodworking you do, the better your skills and the resulting projects will be.
* Paying attention in math, especially geometry and trigonometry.
* My best friend from college, who is one of the smartest people i ever met. He grew up around woodworking and carpentry, and I learned a lot from him, when we bought and worked on a house together a long time ago. Much of what I learned has been forgotten over the decades, but what remains has helped more than I thought.

I "restarted" my woodworking hobby when I bought a table saw about a year ago. Obviously I am long out of school, but these resources have been helpful for me:

* The public library. I found so many wonderful books on woodworking.
* My local woodworking club. I have learned so much from the other members, who are older and much more experienced.

I would love to take woodworking classes, but haven't found the right classes for me. The classes I found are for true beginners at the local shops, or for people who want to become woodworking trade professionals (e.g., cabinet makers) at the local community colleges. There are also costly "boutique" classes far away from me, for people who will be producing award winning art and museum quality pieces. What I would like to find are reasonably priced classes such as "Intermediate Table Saw Usage and Jigs" or "Intermediate Bandsaw Usage including advanced Resawing and Curve Cutting techniques"; stuff like that.

So far, the only classes I have found are at the school of hard knocks, by taking on projects that are above my skill, and muddling along as best I can. :-|
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post #6 of 17 Old 03-14-2018, 02:08 PM
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What shop classes in school?

George
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post #7 of 17 Old 03-14-2018, 02:16 PM
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Had to go to wood shop in Jr High, from the minute I walked in there I knew i was going to like it. I went to a small school maybe 300 kids from K-12 and they had just gotten a new shop teacher, he was about 40 and was super, in 8th grade I mail ordered a set of plans from Kuemple not sure about the spelling but I built my first grandfather clock in the 8th grade. I was in the shop every second I could be, it did make my other grade suffer some though

My FFA project blossomed and I was farrowing about 45 sows of my own, and selling the feeder pigs, with the profit I bought wood working tools, and started building furniture for people didn't make squat, just had fun building it. then did a stint in the USAF, got out went to college, then got back into wood working

But I think I have come to a conclusion about my wood working lately, it is more of a tool whore, so i have to build stuff to justify spending thousands on tools

There is no app for experience
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post #8 of 17 Old 03-14-2018, 02:20 PM
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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. Reason: add spaces between paragraphs
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post #9 of 17 Old 03-14-2018, 04:23 PM
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The big problem now days is that all of the idiot "educators" and psychologist think that all high school students should be preparing for college. That results in way too many students in college that should not be there. It also helps result in huge student debt for far too many students.

Everybody does not belong in college regardless of their intelligence quota or their high school grades. High schools still need to offer courses that prepare students for life that does not include college.

George
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post #10 of 17 Old 03-14-2018, 07:13 PM
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The big problem now days is that all of the idiot "educators" and psychologist think that all high school students should be preparing for college. That results in way too many students in college that should not be there. It also helps result in huge student debt for far too many students.

Everybody does not belong in college regardless of their intelligence quota or their high school grades. High schools still need to offer courses that prepare students for life that does not include college.

George
Very true, my brother was a high school math teacher and he said most of the curriculum he was teaching the overwhelming majority of people would never in their life use it. He said other than teaching it he has never needed any of it in his life. Then you have the building trades that is crying for help and most kids don't know which end of a hammer to use.
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post #11 of 17 Old 03-14-2018, 07:17 PM
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Took shop in the 7th grade and was in college prep courses from there. Still have the tray I made there. I found out many years later that truck drivers made more than me.

A diamond is how coal reacts under pressure.
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post #12 of 17 Old 03-14-2018, 08:04 PM
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I'm going to teach my kids woodworking. The only class I ever took in school was in grade 7. It was 50% woodshop 50% drafting. I got a 100 in both. I would have continued but it was only offered in grade 7.


Quote:
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Very true, my brother was a high school math teacher and he said most of the curriculum he was teaching the overwhelming majority of people would never in their life use it. He said other than teaching it he has never needed any of it in his life. Then you have the building trades that is crying for help and most kids don't know which end of a hammer to use.

I'm on You Tube: Woodified
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post #13 of 17 Old 03-14-2018, 08:04 PM
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I took shop through High School and worked for a general contractor summers until I graduated. The rest was just learning out of necessity, because hiring anything done was not an option in the early lean years.
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post #14 of 17 Old 03-14-2018, 08:33 PM
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I'm going to teach my kids woodworking. The only class I ever took in school was in grade 7. It was 50% woodshop 50% drafting. I got a 100 in both. I would have continued but it was only offered in grade 7.
Neither of my kids has any interest in woodworking. My daughter will work for me sometimes and she can do house painting but it's just a job. She has no interest in learning anything for herself.
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post #15 of 17 Old 03-14-2018, 08:46 PM
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I loved math in High School, especially geometry and it continues to pay dividends in woodworking and in my day job.

I began to study architecture in college and my drafting instructor told me I'd never make it because I was left handed and I'd smear the drawings I made. (great mentor, huh) I somehow still drew plans for most of the things I built, but 40 years later, I've been taking CAD classes. Apparently the computer doesn't care whether you're left handed or not!
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post #16 of 17 Old 03-15-2018, 01:32 AM
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I went to a Polytechnic highs school and my freshman year I decided I was going to be a nurse. So that's exactly what I majored in, Nursing. After going insane I listened to an upperclassman who told me to drop my major and join his, Building Construction. I immediately changed every class in my schedule to get into it, then majored in it. As weird as it may sound I did everything that told me to do, and my life is so much better for it. Took a drafting class too.

The school I went to has sixteen majors, everything from welding and web design to aviation and radio broadcasting. It's pretty great.

As far as advice goes I'd say take any classes you possibly can. If your school doesn't offer any then try a community college or woodworkers guild.

It's not bad to dream. But you also have to consider what's realistic. -All Might (Boku no Hero Academia)
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post #17 of 17 Old 03-15-2018, 12:41 PM
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For me it was art classes to help develop the creative side.. Unfortunately in school not all art teachers are made the same..Not necessarily a bad thing when I think about it, but I did run across a few who treated art class as babysitting class for the kids who liked nothing more than ruining art supplies..

As for my advice to young people...Stay young. Nothing good comes from getting too old to learn new things.. On the other hand your options about getting old are rather limited. You either get old or die trying.. There really aren't a whole lot of other options available than getting old. Getting old seems to happen whether you like it or not. Who ever came up with that plan just failed to see the downside of getting old.

I figured it's time to change my signature so hold your breath. This is it.
Impressive, huh?
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