During the first three hours of my my class on building a trestle table, here are the statements I heard the students say the most.
I cannot design.
I can’t draw.
I can’t come up with original ideas.
I will just copy an existing design.
Today is Tuesday. It’s only the second day of the class, but most of the students are finishing up the joinery on the bases of their trestle tables. Yup. They each designed a table on Monday morning and are getting ready for assembly on Tuesday evening.
It’s not that I’m a good teacher. I suck, and I know I suck, and I’m OK with that sucking. But I also know that the students are natural designers. We all are. In fact, the less we worry about “design,” the more creative the results.
So I just give them no choice. Design it. Here’s your paper. Design it.
That works wonders.
So the best part of the day was watching a 19-year-old student work on his table. It is going to be two carved cobras supporting a glass tabletop. The naysayers said he’d never get to the carving.
Dudes, he finished joining the end assemblies after lunch (sloppy joes) at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking, and was roughing out one of the heads when I left at 6 p.m.
So here’s my advice: Stop typing and start chopping. You can build a cobra-headed trestle table in a week and win the hearts of every chick on your block. Promise.
— Christopher Schwarz