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Forum topic by Tooch posted 03-13-2014 09:00 AM 1445 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Tooch's profile


1856 posts in 2113 days

03-13-2014 09:00 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question planer grading plane

About a week ago I posted a topic about which floor model planer to purchase. After much debate and back and forth, and after procuring the appropriate funding and purchase order through our school district, I chose one and ordered it. Awesome.

In a typical good news bad news scenario, I’ve lost the two lunch box planers (that we currently use) in the past 3 days; one to a motor burning up and the other, “newer” model has a malfunctioning carriage lift. So now I am out of luck until our new one comes in, maybe a week or two.

For me, this isn’t that disconcerting; however, the end of the grading period is about 2 weeks away, and I have a bunch of students who can’t finish their projects until the new model comes in. Using hand planers is out of the question due to the number of students and volume of planing that needs to occur.

So how should I handle grading for the end of this grading period? If I push the project back til the last grading period, most of the students grades for this term will be based on cleanup and not on their actual production. If I grade them on what they have completed, there are so many students on varying degrees of completing the project that it would be impossible to evaluate them fairly. Ugh!

Any thoughts or ideas would be greatly appreciated!

-- "Well, the world needs ditch-diggers too..." - Judge Smails

18 replies so far

View WibblyPig's profile


172 posts in 3512 days

#1 posted 03-13-2014 11:09 AM

Can you contact any local shops and see if you can bring a load of boards down and have them planed? Have the students mark the thickness needed, then have the shop plane them for you.

-- Steve, Webster Groves, MO "A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in."

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1317 posts in 2172 days

#2 posted 03-13-2014 11:39 AM

There are worse things to grade students on than their ability to clean up. Honestly, some people might say a student’s ability to take care of their workspace is more important than their ability to do the actual work.

Think about it this way, would you rather have a very productive coworker who leaves moldy yogurt in the break room fridge and trash on the table or an unproductive coworker who respects the break room? I’m not paying his salary…

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View Tooch's profile


1856 posts in 2113 days

#3 posted 03-13-2014 12:06 PM

WibblyPig not a bad idea. I will take a look online and try to find some shops close enough to do this.

WoodenOyster I understand your point. Cleanup is very important, which is why I assign a weekly participation grade for it that [typically] is a balanced portion of their final grade. At the end of the day (or grading period) you should have something to show for your time, right?

I don’t know… i guess its just a matter of opinion, but I feel bad basing an entire marking period on how well they cleaned up.

-- "Well, the world needs ditch-diggers too..." - Judge Smails

View dhazelton's profile


2805 posts in 2534 days

#4 posted 03-13-2014 12:48 PM

If the two planers you have now are the same brand/similar model will the motor from the newer one fit the older one?

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 2607 days

#5 posted 03-13-2014 12:51 PM

I like Steve’s idea of contacting local shops. You might find someone who appreciates youngsters that are interested in the trade and would do it for you.

Even though you can’t have them all planing their stock down, could you do some sort of short introduction to hand tools, maybe with some hands on demonstrations? I don’t know if you do anything like that, but if a kid is truly interested in woodworking, and hasn’t experienced the joy of using a well tuned plane or a brace and bit, they should.

Edit : How much planing needs to be done? There may be a LJ near Pittsburgh to help. If I weren’t 5 hours away, I’d offer.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View bigblockyeti's profile


5316 posts in 1958 days

#6 posted 03-13-2014 01:15 PM

Sounds like quite the predicament, what’s the lead time on getting the new planer & having it ready to run?

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2927 days

#7 posted 03-13-2014 02:12 PM

Can you rent/lease a planer to get by until the new one arrives?

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View hoss12992's profile


4106 posts in 2130 days

#8 posted 03-13-2014 02:16 PM

You might wanna contact the Rockler store in Pittsburg. I think if you explain your situation, they would be glad to let yall use their shop to plane boards. Just a thought on that one. Which planer did you end up going with? As far as the grading goes, you could always have them write a paper (Laughing). Thought you might like that idea. LOL

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3208 days

#9 posted 03-13-2014 02:33 PM

It might even be possible to swap motors between the two broken machines even if they are different brands. One company makes almost all those motors and they are very similar. I would bet they are similar enough that the armature and brush parts from one would just plug right into the other.

If your school has an automotive shop, perhaps they could help.

Or, perhaps you could contact the supplier of your new machine and explain the situation and get some help with expedited shipment.

View dhazelton's profile


2805 posts in 2534 days

#10 posted 03-13-2014 02:46 PM

The other consideration is just have them complete the projects with the wood as is. You don’t say if they’re making birdhouses or Adirondack chairs or Chippendale highboys, so planing maybe rough sawn is appropriate. If not they can always sand.

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2845 posts in 3675 days

#11 posted 03-13-2014 03:12 PM

I taught for 30 yrs. Science, not what you do but similar things do come up. Explain to the students what has happened. Indicate that part of the grade will be on this quarter’s report card and a second one will be on next quarter. Then look at each student and grade them liberally this time as it’s not all their fault. Be more critical next time. Of course getting the wood planed someplace would be the best solution.

If I were you, for future reference, on a project that takes up a whole quarter’s evaluation pretty much, I’d provide grades for different steps of progress. i.e…. An oral or written understanding of the project. A diagram of the project with all measurements. A list or understanding of how to use the tools that will be needed. An evaluation for when all materials are cut to size, for example. Grading on just a few things or only when the item is completed leads to these types of problems. And it’s fairer to the student as many of them have different levels of ability to finish a project at a high a level as some others. A student might be great at diagraming or using some tools but have a bear of a time getting some cut lengths perfect. We all have our talents and disabilities.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View Tooch's profile


1856 posts in 2113 days

#12 posted 03-13-2014 05:14 PM

Thanks for all the suggestions, it really does give me a few avenues to explore. the project is a DVD/Video game shelf focusing on different joinery methods (Dado, Tongue & Groove, Mortise & Tenon) and really requires using the planer:

most of the kids have the sides and back piece created, and we always save the shelves for last. I suppose we can have them use rough stock and custom fit each individual piece, but I doubt we would meet the deadline for the 3rd marking period.

dhazelton - good idea but the “new” one was only 6 months old… i already took it back to HD. They don’t have any in stock so I got a store credit, and I can’t justify $400 for another junk machine.

bigblockyeti - delivery should be somewhere within two weeks i believe. End of the grading period is March 26.

Andy - it may come to that… times like these I wish I had a fully loaded shop at home, problem is I can’t afford one on a teacher’s salary!

Hoss - you know my failures at trying to get my students to write… why bring it up again?! LOL saslt in a sore wound… I do like the possibility of planing a few boards at Rockler.. the store is 5 mins from my house.

Crank49 - Auto shop has gone the way of the Dodo… its only offered now at the Vo-tech school that our kids are bused to. ugh.

Crafstman on the Lake – Thanks for your input. I have a feeling if none of the above suggestions work, I’ll be going easy on them this go around. I always try to break down project into 3 items – 1. Progress 2. Process & 3. Product. That way if they are learning the new processes and trying to make progress, they can’t fail if they have a really bad final product.

-- "Well, the world needs ditch-diggers too..." - Judge Smails

View Hammerthumb's profile


2908 posts in 2212 days

#13 posted 03-13-2014 05:34 PM

I am sure that as we work in our shops we have all had that head scratching moment where we have had to come up with an idea of how to overcome an obstacle. Maybe use this as an oppertunity, and ask the students to come up with a creative woodworking solution to overcome this problem. They still might not get the project finished, but you would have other performance criteria to grade them on. Remember that part of woodworking is problem solving.

-- Paul, Duvall, WA

View CoachSchroeder's profile


97 posts in 1841 days

#14 posted 03-13-2014 06:48 PM

If the shelves are all that is left what if you adjust the plan and add a different technique…
plywood shelves with a edgeband veneer or plywood shelf and quasi faceframe?

-- -Sam, in Wisconsin

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 2607 days

#15 posted 03-18-2014 08:12 PM

Tooch, what did you end up doing?

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

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