Shop Class in Nixa, MO

David demonstrating roughing out a bowl

On Monday, April 15th, David Van Giesen and Ben Alexander were invited to Nixa High School to Demo “roughing out a bowl”, by instructor Mark Colburn.  Mark is a club member of WTOSWMO and a teacher at Nixa High School.  His woodworking class has had some lathe experience turning pens and small spindles on a 10″ mini lathe.  Each year they enter a contest with other schools in woodworking skills, Mark wants to do bowls next year and is sure that will be a winner.

Ben talking safety while demonstrating

David took first and second periods and Ben took the third period.  We roughed out a greenwood blank during each class.  We also brought show & tell items, primarily bowls and platters, to share with the students.  As we went through our demos we also discussed the types of tools we were using, tool differences in use, safety, and how to then dry wood for final turning.  Ben brought a copy of the handout “bowl orientation in raw wood” and a handout from the Beginners Class for Mark.

We found the students (15-18 years old) very attentive and interested in learning.  Good questions were asked and several students expressed interest in attending our meeting.  Mark will be able to come to the April meeting and encouraged his students to attend.  One of the attendees to the third class was John Wiggins, an instructor from Missouri State University who was there to evaluate the student teacher in class.  John spoke to me after the meeting and said he was very impressed with the presentation that David & I did.

At the end of the meeting one student told me he would be moving to Illinois and wanted to know how to get in touch with woodturners there.  I referred him to the AAW web site for clubs in that state. Another student, Luke, showed us a model 18 wheeler he was building from wood.  Luke did a nice job on the flatwork and also turned the wheels, axles, and exhaust pipes on their lathe.  He did excellent lathe work!

written by, Ben Alexander

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