Woodworking Workshop for Parents and our Fall Fair 2017 – Part 1

One of the nice traditions at the school I teach in is our annual Fall Fair. The Fair is a one-day extravaganza in which the school transformed into a magical forest-like world. Laden with autumn and winter atmosphere, our building’s interior is decorated with fabrics, branches, logs and leaves to support the imaginary themes of fairy tales and mythology. To help our school with fundraising during the fair, parents volunteer to join us in the workshop in the months ahead of the Fair day. This is a great opportunity for many parents to explore woodworking and a way for teachers to reconnect with veteran parents who have been helping us diligently for years and years. This year, I had five parents in my group – they worked on whittled animals, swords, dollhouse furniture and other toys.

This year, I came up with a new design for our Fall Fair wooden swords. In the past, our swords were made using a bandsaw and a belt sander – a slow process. This year I tried to come up with a design that can be executed repeatedly and efficiently using mainly our Sawstop table saw. I intend to show the process in a future blog.

In the past, we’ve whittled solid wood animals but have struggled with the solid wood antlers on our moose and deer. The thin antlers are a complex shape and grain orientation will make some parts of the antler more susceptible to breakage. Making antlers from plywood will solve the problem but it will make the antlers too “flat”. This year I came up with a nice solution – making them from copper.

First, I cut the copper sheets into the outline of the antler using metal snips. Then, I filed and sanded the rough spots. Lastly, I hammered them over a spherical shape, polished them and glued their stem into the animal head using epoxy.

After finishing the whittled animals, some are painted and some are left to look like raw wood. I painted this giraffe following a picture that I found on the web.

Simple and rustic dollhouse furniture can be easily made on the bandsaw from branches. This nice collection was shaped by one of our volunteer parents.  

A nice Chase Lounge is very easy to make out of a branch. Like every cylindrical object sawn on the band saw, here to you will have to hold it tight to prevent it from rolling or pitching out of control. Building a special cradle for cutting round objects on the band saw will reduce the risk or rolling and kickback.

Next week I will show how one of our parents built a Gnome house out of a hollow tree.

– Yoav Liberman

PWM Shop Blog, Woodworking Blogs
Yoav Liberman

About Yoav Liberman

Yoav S. Liberman is a woodworker and a teacher. His pieces have been featured in several woodworking books, most recently in Robin Wood’s CORES Recycled. Yoav teaches woodworking at the Rudolf Steiner School in Manhattan, and also frequently guest teaches in craft schools across the country.  Between 2003 and 2011 Yoav  headed the woodworking program at Harvard University's Eliot House. Yoav’s articles have appeared in American Woodworker and Woodwork Magazine. He frequently contributes woodworking web content to a number of digital publications   Yoav has a degree in architecture and later held two competitive residency programs: at The Worcester Center for Crafts in Massachusetts, and the Windgate Foundation Fellowship at Purchase College, New York. He lives in Chestnut Ridge NY.