This week is the first annual Get Woodworking Week set up by my good friend Tom Iovino of Tomsworkbench.com. Often we talk about traditions and how we would like to have them carried on and this week in an opportunity to think about how we can get others involved with the woodworking we love and also get out there and get others in the shop. There are many of my fellow woodworking bloggers writing fantastic articles this week, others inviting a friend to the shop, and some that just make an effort to get into the shop themselves.
This made me start thinking about how in days past even if you didn’t have a family member or other mentor to get you started in woodworking. We pretty much all had shop class. For me it started in middle school. In the 7th grade everyone had shop half of the school year and home economics the other half. Boys and girls alike learned to build something along the lines of a bird house and how to use basic tools. Of coarse we also learned how to use a sowing machine the rest of the year, I made stuffed football of our school colors…I think I still have it around somewhere?
In high school, shop was an elective class and to be honest most of us guys probably chose it to get out of the classrooms. It was great to be able to spend and hour or so working with my hands and being in the shop. I even entered in a carpentry contest against other schools and won 1st place in our region and competed at the state level. I will never forget the night we came back from signing up for the state level, they gave us a set of plans that we would build the next day. Mr. Orr my shop teacher asked if I wanted to build the project that night as a practice run or call it an evening as it was already getting late. Like a lot of teenagers I was not exactly motivated and called it a night…..I have always regretted that decision. I did ok the next day but could have done much better I am sure.
Many schools no longer have shop classes and that is a shame. As a nation we seem to have forgotten the importance of being self-reliant and being able to build things with our own hands. I am making it a goal to find a local shop class and see if there is anyway that I can help and get involved. I hope that each of you will find your own way to get involved also.
For more on Get Woodworking Week and other participating sites visit Tom’s site at: Tom’s Workbench