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Forum topic by scole posted 06-22-2011 08:58 PM 1104 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 2531 days

06-22-2011 08:58 PM

Hi folks,
I’m on a mission! I have as of last year been put in charge of the woodworking and construction program at our local high school. Last year I taught part time, two classes twice a week and every other week I taught Fridays as well.
I came into the shop and wondered what I had gotten myself into. the place was an absolute disaster of monumentous proportions. I can’t even begin to describe the absolute and utter chaos. Well I can give a hint. Not a single machine had a guatrd on it, and the benchtops were piled 2 feet high with broken tools, lumber scraps nuts bolts pieces of machines and power tools. For every group of 10 power tools, maybe 2 worked and had all the pats to it. It was bad!!!!
Anyway, I have spent the last year rebuilding and restructuring the place. I have two shops, the front shop is for carpentry and the rear is for woodshop. I’ve created a curriculum and been able to replace bits and pieces here and there. many a late night rewiring drills etc.

Im trying to find out if anyone knows of an organization or group out there that donates or supports the vocational arts programs. They are on the upswing after many years of beng considered either too expensive or not worthwhile. I would venture to believe that anyone r4eading this would agree that voc arts should be put back into all schools.
I’m on a shoestring budget and still need more handtools. Drill bits, drills, chisels etc. I’ve taken a lot of my own tols into the shop for the students to use, but still end up with a student waiting for a tool and we all know what happens when an 8th grade student doesn’t have anything to do…..................

Everything is going really well with the program to the point where I signed a full time contract and I now have 5 classes, 5 days a week.

I suppose I should also ask that if anyone out there has any old tools that may even be in need of repair that they could donate to a worthy cause, it would be appreciated. I’m hitting up swap meets and used tools stores, but after spending close to 2k last year of my own money ( on a quarter time teachers pay) for tools and expendables, I need to find some outside support.

Anyone have any ideas…......

-- "Be the change you wish to see in the world" - Ghandi

3 replies so far

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2669 days

#1 posted 06-23-2011 05:09 AM

In my area you could go to some of the local banks or such places. Tell them your story and have a plan when you go in. Don’t say you need some money. Tell them you need a dozen hammers at $27 each and you need 6 planes at $150 each etc. Then ask them how they can help you. We have a bank that is locally owned and very supportive of our school system. A Vice Superintendent was drinking coffee with a VP from the bank one day. He said I have to find someone to fix our score board on the football field. The VP said wait until I call back. The next day he called and said The Bank wants to buy a new score board. It was $40,000 I think! Let the city help.

View BentheViking's profile


1782 posts in 2557 days

#2 posted 06-23-2011 05:43 AM

I took two years of woodshop in high school. I have to say that our high school shop was amazing…jointer, planer, bandsaw, TS, RAS, belt/disc sander, lathe, finishing room, lots of other tools. I have always felt very lucky to have been able to get an introduction to woodworking here.

My first year I did all the normal projects that the teacher assigned. My second year was basically a repeat of the first year, doing different designs of the same projects, since second year and first year students were all lumped into the same class.

Towards the end of the school year, I was tired of doing repeats of projects, so I asked the teacher if myself and a few other second year students could do our own project. He said yes, but that there wasn’t money in the budget for our lumber. So he had us pick a project (Adirondack chairs and a end table), research and design it, then we came up with a cut list and called a few local lumber yards and got a donation on the wood. We built the set, leaving it unfinished, put it in a display case near the office and held a silent auction among the faculty. We took the money and donated it to a charity program my father ran that helps people in the community. Bringing the project full circle, the money was used to purchase a window AC unit for a shut-in with terminal cancer, which I then helped my father install.

I know that story has nothing to do with tools, but maybe you can get either big box stores or local lumber yards to donate tools. Also for many hand tools stretch your budget at Harbor Freight if you have one near you. My friend used to run the tool room for his colleges furniture design shop, and they bought most of their hand tools at HF since they knew students would be unlikely to take good care of them.

Good luck, I always kinda wished I had gone too a vocational high school instead of a regular one.

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View BentheViking's profile


1782 posts in 2557 days

#3 posted 06-23-2011 11:11 PM

Another idea I thought of is an online community called freecycle that allows users to ask other users for free things or offer free things. Check Yahoo Groups to find one in your area. You never know what people on there may have, but it is always worth a shot to see if someone has some things they want to get rid of.

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

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