There are times that I want to think I have become a better teacher during the last 20 years I’ve been a woodworking and writing instructor. But then I always discover the real reason for that feeling.
Today we started a new workbench-building class at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking, and I was surprised how much progress we made during only six hours of work. We will be done with the workbench tops tomorrow – definitely ahead of schedule (but don’t tell the students that; I’m telling them we are already two days behind).
For a fleeting moment I thought I had finally figured out a way to organize every task and explain it so it was efficient and inevitable.
Then I looked at the notes I had written down when I’d interviewed the students at the beginning of class.
These guys were not newbs. We have a former instructor at North Bennet Street School, former model makers, people with art degrees involving shop, and amateurs who had been at it for 20 years.
Really, these 12 guys don’t need me. I’m just there to make sure it all gets done in a week and to fix any minor missteps. And if we fall behind, I get to start yelling in a German accent.
I’m OK with that. It should be a fun week. And I also get to eat at Frank Pepe’s Pizza about 10 times.
Here’s a tip if you are building a bench using a laminated top: Borrow a friend’s old biscuit joiner – there are millions of them out there that aren’t being used. If you are gluing up your top alone, the biscuits will help align the boards and save you hours (maybe days) of work.
— Christopher Schwarz