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Episode 84: Carving Out Successful Futures for Students in Woodworking Class

He has been helping students carve out successful futures in a skilled trade for more than 30 years in Jordan School District. On this episode of the Supercast, we go inside Rick Minor’s Woodworking classroom at Mountain Ridge High School. It is where students are learning a valuable skill crafting everything from beds and chairs to chess sets, wooden spoons and pens.


Audio Transcription

Anthony Godfrey:
Welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. He has been helping students carve out successful futures in a skilled trade for more than 30 years in Jordan School District. On this episode of the Supercast, we go inside Rick Minor's Woodworking classroom at Mountain Ridge High School, where students are learning a valuable skill, crafting everything from beds and chairs to chess sets, wooden spoons and pens. Hi guys, how are you? This looks a little different from the last time I was here and it's full of great projects.

Teacher:
Yeah. These, these kids would like to show you some of these very cool projects that we've got going on. But this, first of all, this is my most advanced class. I call this my Woods III class. These students will almost certainly go into this for an occupation, or they will at least use this to get them to their occupation.

Anthony Godfrey:
They will go out and work in this field while they're getting to their occupation? I see a lot of heads nodding. So I'm going to want to talk with them about that. So glad you're here.

Teacher:
I'm so glad I'm here too.

Anthony Godfrey:
This is awesome. And it smells good in here.

Teacher:
It does. I was going to say that's me, but it's not.

Anthony Godfrey:
What type of wood do you work with?

Teacher:
We work with all types. We work with the oak and alder and cherry and maple and walnut. We just got done shaping up some walnut a few minutes ago, which I think Landon's going to show you. Guys, show him the projects. Let's start there.

Anthony Godfrey:
Yeah, let's check it out. Tell me your name.

Student:
Tony.

Anthony Godfrey:
And tell me what we have here.

Student:
These are pens that I turned on a lathe.

Anthony Godfrey:
Wow. What are some of the materials you use to make these pens?

Student:
Well, the resin.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh yeah. The colorful ones are the resin.

Student:
Yep.

Anthony Godfrey:
That's really something. Wow. So you have obviously different shapes that you do.

Student:
Yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
Different thickness.

Student:
Yep.

Anthony Godfrey:
Wow. That's amazing.

Student:
I always keep a few from myself.

Anthony Godfrey:
You keep a few for yourself? That's always a good policy. Is that a favorite?

Student:
Yes.

Anthony Godfrey:
Do you have people start to request them once they see that you make things?

Student:
Every once in awhile, but not often.

Anthony Godfrey:
Yeah. That's awesome. Great job. Whoa, everywhere I turn. There's something else. This is like a Lord of the Rings spoon. Something that was built by Miles right there. Oh, Miles come tell me about this spoon. You could beat back orcs with that spoon I think.

Student:
So it's a five foot spoon, roughly. And I built it out of cherry. I just carved it out and now I'm kind of in the process of sanding it.

Anthony Godfrey:
Yeah, this, this cherry spoon. Are you in a large family? Because what I picture is maybe you use this five foot spoon to get a serving of whatever meal is on the table before your brothers and sisters can get to it.

Student:
That is an excellent idea.

Anthony Godfrey:
That is really something. What made you think, you know what, I'm going to make a five foot spoon today?

Student:
You know, I saw everybody build one foot spoons or something like that. It just kind of popped in my mind. What if I build like a five foot spoon from cherry or walnut? And I asked Minor and he approved of the project. I cut it on with the band saw and started carving it with the tools over there on that chair that is set up.

Teacher:
But first you had to plan it using the software.

Anthony Godfrey:
So this involves some software.

Teacher:
Yes. So you can cut this out on the same scene, the bowl of the spoon is cut out on the scene. See, so it's creates a perfect bowl.

Anthony Godfrey:
This is really something. That's really good. This is like an optical illusion cutting board. Who made the heart here?

Student:
I did.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me about this one. What's your name?

Student:
I'm Landon Leveridge.

Anthony Godfrey:
Landon, told me about this heart shaped cutting board. It has all these blocks. It looks like, well, the eighties reference would be kind of a Cubert board with all the 3D squares covering it. That's really something.

Student:
They call it a 3D tumbling pattern and  it's made out of walnut, cherry and maple. And it's not a hard cutting board. It's just, you got to wrap your brain around the pattern of it.

Anthony Godfrey:
That's incredible. How did you put this together?

Student:
It's a lot of cuts on the table saw on certain degrees and then you kind of glue it all up and it looks like that.

Anthony Godfrey:
Fantastic. So will you actually use it as a cutting board?

Student:
That one would definitely just display. I made two of them.

Anthony Godfrey:
I would hate to cut this one up. This one looks really, really nice.

Student:
My mom wanted a heart.

Anthony Godfrey:
Yeah. That's really nice. So you made it for your mom. Mother's Day gifts for days, right guys? You're ready with that project every time. So you had to cut each individual piece of wood here from three different types of wood. Then you glue it all together or how does that come in?

Student:
You can glue it into strips. And then you glue it together.

Anthony Godfrey:
I didn't see the strip till you pointed it out. It's so nicely done. What's a favorite project that you've ever done?

Student:
My favorite project is probably the bed I'm making.

Anthony Godfrey:
You're making a bed. Well, I made my bed, but not for a few days. A huge headboard. This looks fantastic.

Student:
So this is a full bed. I should have done a queen, but I moved down to the size of my room. So I'm doing a full and I've just made it out of maple and walnut.

Anthony Godfrey:
I would think a man could sleep really well in a bed he made himself.

Student:
Yeah. You get a nice satisfaction from sleeping in it.

Anthony Godfrey:
Yeah. That's really fantastic. Is this the biggest project you've made?

Student:
Yes.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. Tell me your name.

Student:
Bryce Reeser. The project I'm working on right now is one of the rocking chairs. I've made it into a double rocker. So it's like for two people, a double rocker. I've taken one of these chairs and I've doubled the size of it so two people will be able to sit in that.

Anthony Godfrey:
And did you have anyone in particular in mind?

Student:
Yeah, my my mom wanted a bench for our backyard. And so I started looking for benches and then I told her about these rocking chairs and she was like, oh, it'd be kinda cool to have one that could rock. I was like, okay. So I went and talked to Minor and he thought it was a really cool idea to make a double rocker.

Anthony Godfrey:
Do you think this pattern that when people bring ideas to Minor, he helps make that happen? What's the hardest part of making a rocker?

Student:
I would think kinda like the seat pieces, I think has been the hardest part.

Anthony Godfrey:
How would you describe this, all separate pieces that are lined up parallel to each other to create that seat?

Student:
Yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
So tell me about this table. First of all, tell me your name.

Student:
I'm Camden Gibbs.

Anthony Godfrey:
Camden. Tell me about this table.

Student:
My first goal was just to make a chess board so I could play chess at home. And then when Minor said look on Pinterest, we found a cool looking Rook like this. And then we were like, I think I could build that. So then we tried, and so far it's working,

Anthony Godfrey:
It looks fantastic. So you've cut different pieces of wood for the various squares on the board. And the board itself wraps around to create a Rook.

Student:
Play when you're ready, have all your pieces, when I'm done with the shelves, there'll be the pieces on the shelf.

Anthony Godfrey:
I think you're going to win every time when you play on a board you made yourself. Isn't that how it works?

Student:
I hope so.

Teacher:
Miles would like to show you how to use this machine. We're actually going to cut out a front leg and kind of have you push the button and let this go. We've already programmed in all the stuff they're going to show you. Lets you put the piece in there. You guys let him do that with a hammer. Show them how to do that. And then we'll knock that out and then we have something else we have going to show you over here.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay, fantastic. Let's try it out.

Student:
All right. So the CNC is a big part of making the rocking chair. I think around 50% of it is used on the CNC. And so today we're going to just carve a front leg out of it.

Anthony Godfrey:
What kind of wood is this?

Student:
This is oak, two inch.

Anthony Godfrey:
Feels dense. Okay. So this machine is like the size of a van.

Student:
Yes, it's huge. So if you want to just lock and load it into here.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. You're going to have to give me a little more information than lock and load.

Student:
So make sure the X is up towards this thing, and then just behind this block here.

Anthony Godfrey:
X is behind the block up like that?

Student:
Just like that, put it up against it and hold it tight.

Anthony Godfrey:
Right? That feel a sense of accomplishment now kind of like I've done something today.

Student:
Next thing that we are going to do is to secure in place, using these wooden blocks and a hammer.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay.

Student:
And so what you'll do is just take one piece, just kind of slide it in there. If you want to slide it over, down the back, this will kind of wedge it up against the edge. So it cuts it.

Anthony Godfrey:
Am I supposed to? I'm left-handed. So I can hold it or do I just kind of hold it and bang it in there? Banging in there. Do we know when to stop?

Student:
Okay. And then do it.

Anthony Godfrey:
I feel like I'm doing real work. Email does not give this satisfaction.

Student:
So then the next thing is just to make sure it's all nice and squares. We usually take a kind of a piece of scrap and you just put it over the top and then we just kind of use the hammer kind of bang on it.

Anthony Godfrey:
So that it's square in every direction or wash rather.

Student:
Alrighty. So then if you want to come over here, then just press this play button, press play.

Anthony Godfrey:
Just press play and we'll start working. All right.

Student:
Yep.  We'll do like six or eight passes passes just to cut all the way through the board. And this piece probably around five, ten minutes to do.

Anthony Godfrey:
How does it feel to have access to a machine like this?

Student:
It feels great. It definitely relieves a lot of pain and hard work using different machines, making sure it's all right. And human error is a big thing. Of course it eliminates that.

Anthony Godfrey:
How would you have done this without the machine?

Student:
Without this machine? I probably would have used a drill press using a circular bit to cut the two ends out and then used a chisel and carved the rest of it out.

Student:
Now you are done, what we'll do if you just want to press this X button and hold it.

Anthony Godfrey:
That one?

Student:
Yep. Hold it.

Anthony Godfrey:
Hold it?

Student:
And so we'll move it down and out of the way. That's good.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay.

Student:
So then after that, usually we'll take the vacuum.

Anthony Godfrey:
Stay with us. When we come back, students rock my world with a big surprise, something I was not expecting. Find out what it is.

Break:
If you're ready to start your child on the path to personalized learning, we are ready to help. The Jordan Virtual Learning Academy is coming to Jordan School District in the 2012-22 school year. Three new schools will be opening as part of the Academy, Rocky Peak Virtual Elementary School, Kelsey Peak Virtual Middle School and Kings Peak High School. Each school will have their own principal and teachers and each will give students a choice in their own learning. The schools will offer synchronous learning, which is teachers providing real time, live online instruction and asynchronous learning where teachers provide videotaped instruction for learning on a student's schedule. To register your students in the Jordan Virtual Learning Academy, visit http://connect.jordandistrict.org.

Teacher:
Last month, the month of February was CTE month.

Anthony Godfrey:
Yeah.

Teacher:
And this class, we celebrated that and we all kind of collaborated on a project. We'd like to show you that project right now. Could you guys kind of head over there and maybe show that down?

Anthony Godfrey:
Let's check it out.

Teacher:
So everyone here actually participated in the bid, the construction of this, everybody took part of that. Parker would go ahead and pull that off?

Anthony Godfrey:
Wow.

Teacher:
These students built you a rocking chair and we want you to take that home or use it in your office. And we'll actually pull that down. We won't make you get in to it while it's on the table, but we'll pull it down on the floor and let you sit on that.

Anthony Godfrey:
So I don't know what to say. I'm so thrilled. Thank you guys so much. I have nothing like this at all. I will use that every day. That is fantastic. Thank you so much. That means so much to me. This is the first time students have made a project for me. So thank you so much.

Teacher:
Take that down and let him set in that.

Anthony Godfrey:
High School Woodworking III students, 2021. Thank you for being super. Oh, thank you so much. You guys, this means the world. Wow. Okay. I'm going to sit in it. Oh, that's awesome. My inbox just went completely out of my head.

Teacher:
Is there any way you could sit in that chair and we could take a picture with you with all these students around it?

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh absolutely, I'd love to do that. Thank you guys so much. That is so kind. Wow. Yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me about the making of my rocking chair.

Student:
So the making, it was a whole month project. All of us have participated in some way using the CNC. As I said earlier, as a big part of it, around 50%. Sanding is another big thing, making sure all the edges, all the flat surface contact surfaces are soft. Nice to sit in, nice to touch. And then just making sure once again, mathematics, everything is at the correct width. Nothing's out of square and everything is normal.

Anthony Godfrey:
It's so sturdy. It's beautiful. The wood is absolutely gorgeous and I couldn't be happier. It's hard for me to be speechless and I'm speechless. This will go to great use, I promise you that. Wow. Thank you.

Teacher:
I don't know if you have a front porch or if you have a front porch that will go great on your front porch.

Anthony Godfrey:
I just moved and I have no, I have no furniture on my front porch and I was even shopping for something that rocks the other day. I'm not even kidding you. So this is where I'm going to work from home. And I do a lot of that. And this is going to be the chair. I'm going to be thinking of you guys a lot. So thank you so much. I can't think of a nicer gift I've ever received. Thank you. How do you feel getting to work in this shop with this teacher?

Student:
It's a privilege. It's like you probably won't see the shop only once in your life. So being able to work in the shop is a privilege, like I said. So every time I walk in here, I just take a minute to breathe it all in. This is the amazing wood shop we work in with this amazing teacher who helps us really learn this skill and hone our skills in doing this. Learning here with Mr. Minor, in this environment, that's a lifelong impact for you.

Anthony Godfrey:
How many of you want to go into a career related to woodworking? Talk to me about that. What do you want to do? What makes you want to do that?

Student:
Just kind of passionate, just seeing that I can build things with my hands. Cool things that people definitely really like and will want to buy in the future. Woodworking has always been in my family and I just love the satisfaction of finishing a project that you've spent so much time on.

Anthony Godfrey:
You guys are awesome. What great, great interviews. Thank you so much. Awesome.

Thanks for joining us for another episode of the Supercast. Remember, education is the most important thing you'll do today. We'll see you out there.

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