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    When my fourth grade students finish their first mandatory projects (making a mallet or a walking staff) I invite them to choose their next project by themselves. Obviously I help them navigate through the many ideas that come to their young, yet creative minds, and I help them steer their commendable motivation towards a safe harbor. You see, I really don’t want a project to be racked on the harsh rocks of reality for the lack of skills (albeit temporarily, as this is the first year they study woodworking) or insufficient time for completing it. One such project that I supported last term was brought up by Thano, who wanted to build a boat.

    Shaping the hull contour

    We began with shaping the hull from a scrap of 4×4 Douglas fir, about 12” long. First, he drew a template that matched the boats sheer line (or the boat’s plan view). Then he drew the design on the blank.

    Following this, he held the workpiece in our bench vise and started to chisel downhill to shape the bow and then the stern.


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