Midnight Woodworking


High school woodworking class – day 3

Picking up where we left off last week, we need to finish the top and bottom of our box. We finished cutting and sanding one of the curved pieces, but we need two. So we laid the completed one atop the other board and used it as a pattern to mark the other.

While we started cutting that with a jigsaw, my wife started instructing one of the students at the lathe.


The kids, once again took turns cutting with the jigsaw, so they could all have a little more experience at it.

It takes about an hour to do a pen, for a beginner, so we plan on rotating two people onto the lathe, each class.

After the curve was cut, we moved over to the spindle sander and cleaned that piece up as well.

With all four sides of the box done, it was time to cut them to length. I started by showing them what was square and what was not.

Then while the first student was assembling her pen, the rest of us started measuring and cutting on the miter saw.

Tracie started the second student on the lathe as the kids each took a turn at cutting.

I will admit that it is hard to keep everyone busy, but the kids did a great job with being patient with me.

After the final board was cut, we took a moment to discuss how the frame would be assembled.

My camera man took a break to check his phone… I have also been bad about keeping my adult helpers busy. That should change over the next couple of weeks.

When we laid the top onto the bottom, in the orientation we liked, we found they didn’t quite match up. We marked the difference on one of the curves and the kids sanded it down to match.

With the boards all ready, I did a demonstration with my pocket hole jig.

With limited time and space, I determined pocket hole screws would be the best option for joinery.

Once I marked the hole locations and showed them what was needed, the kids took over and finished drilling all of the holes trading off as they went.

One of the kids was being really creative on the shape of his pen.

They all seemed to really enjoy drilling the pocket holes, and they did a great job finishing up all on their own.

Here are the first two completed pens. They both turned out really nice. I let the kids pick their wood blank as well as the pen kit. These two were both made from a piece of cherry. Both pieces were off-cuts from the furniture made for the Pope’s visit 2 years ago.

Well, we are out of time today. Next week, the frame will be assembled and stained, a couple more pens will be made, and we may get a chance to start on the next project. We will see…


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