Test 3 – Wood Shop


Today's Post
Many of you may not have woodshop in your memory, but in the 1950s it was required for ninth grade boys. This third tale in my ‘test’ series is… 1Most of my tests bring a chuckle, but one does not. I’ll slip it into the series later.


Many of the boys at my high school were from farms and already had considerable experience with tools. My only tool familiarity was from watching my mother making minor repairs.

I don’t remember the required projects except the footstool and cedar chest. My footstool started the required height, but the legs ended up about half the requirement. I just couldn’t seem to get it level. I’d cut the bottom off the tallest leg, then it leveled on three, but with one leg off the floor. I had to cut three legs, then… Perhaps I hadn’t tested it on a level surface , but…

Red cedar for a liner and hardwood for the exterior of a cedar chest was too expensive for me and a few others. We did the optional plywood box with a lid and tray. I don’t know what happened to the foot stool, but the box is still in the family after 60 years. I must have passed that test.

Mr. Woody Carver told us a major part of our quarter grade would be from residential construction practice. We had to assemble 12-foot sections of a variety of walls. Some had window openings, and some had door jambs. Once a team of boys had a section finished, it was leaned against an outside wall.

When we started building trusses, it finally occurred even to the naivest of us that we were building a cabin for Mr. Carver. That was confirmed when an advanced student said he’d helped move the wall sections to the teacher’s lake property. I guess the minimum wage he paid was a B for the quarter.

Rresidential construction helped pay my way through college and I taught woodshop for ten years spanning the 1970s and ‘80s.