Summer 2022 wood working will be amazing!

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Has it ever been more difficult to be a teenager? I was thinking back today to 1988 and Hurricane Gilbert. I was in 8th grade and I remember that my last period class each day was wood shop. As the storm approached the gulf coast, the shop teacher instructed us (being the end of the day before an unknowable string off no school days as everyone evacuated) on preparing the shop for possible disaster. We lined our stools up around the edges of the room (normally we put them on top of the tables at the end of the school day), we unplugged all the power tools and neatly wrapped the cords, and we locked our in progress projects into the cabinets. While the storm ended up not affecting my home town all that much, I remember the seriousness of the preparation the one group of middle school kids took to “batten down the hatches.”

Kids today have had a different kind of storm to deal with, but it hasn’t lasted just one weekend. Covid and the resulting damage to the institutions of life will be felt as ongoing heartaches for years to come. I read and article today on how school violence which is on the rise, and not just between students. There are several reports of students actually assaulting teachers! Years that lacked proper structure, socialization and instruction are coming back to bite us all. Nationwide, crime is up, recklessness on the roads is way up, and, overarching all of these, anger and anxiety are more prevalent today than I’ve ever seen before. I’ve worked with kids for nearly 25 years now and something is definitely heading in the wrong direction. More than ever, I deal with kids who play between 4-8 hours of video games every day (not every week like I did at their age). And, even for the kids who aren’t so lost to video games, screen time or social media video watching, I find an incredible amount of insecurity in project or task outcome today. It’s so rare now that I have a student with the ability to say “This is what I worked on, and this is how I approached the task.” More than anything I hear “I’m not sure what I was supposed to do” or “I didn’t have any time all week to work on this.”

For the past 10 years, I’ve been bringing the same life skills that I learned in my middle school wood working classes to kids of the 21st century. Dreaming, planning, sketching, measuring, marking, cutting, assembling and finishing.

In a 3 or 5 day camp, kids from 11 years old and up put their phones away, and actually make something real. Even better, they decide what it’s going to be, what it should look like, and how it should work. Even better still, they LOVE it!

Guess what…it doesn’t always come out perfectly the first time. In fact, they’ll learn that when you make something on your own it never comes out perfectly, and that’s one of the absolute best parts of wood working. It’s David Pye’s “Workmanship of Risk” played out in a real wood shop, under the careful watch of a seasoned and experienced teacher. When kids finish putting together their Adirondack chairs and they often look at me and ask “Is it going to fall apart?” My answer is “You won’t know til you try it out.”

If you think that your teen would benefit and enjoy a week outdoors, ample time to dream and design, learn basic skills of carpentry, and meet new friends please sign up for the mailing list. References available upon request and I’d love to talk with you via email or phone to answer any questions you have!

“I really loved the camp you can really go at your own pace with your project, the workspace is wonderful Mr. Scott is really supportive and is there for you to make sure that you understand and can confidently work the machinery. I absolutely loved the camp.” – NK, age 15

Summer 2021 wrap up and planning ahead!

With the summer rapidly fading away and kids returning to school, I wanted to look back at all the fun wood working that was done at the shop in the past three months. For the first time, I ran 6 camps with kids ranging in age from 9 to 18. Every camp that I offered was filled and every camper finished the week with a new set of skills and some really cool projects. In total, the kids built 9 Adirondack chairs, 6 bedroom shelves, 3 ping pong ball shooter, 2 bird houses, 1 bird feeder and several other independent projects.

Each year, the camp gets better and better. This year, in addition to the prescribed or offered projects, the kids all got “open shop” time where they could design and pick their own projects out. That was something new for me and it kept me on my toes. What I have learned most about being an instructor at a wood working camp is that (next to safety which is always my top priority) my next most important job is helping every camper find their path to make each project successful. As the kids will tell you, I don’t do any part of the projects for them. When something doesn’t look exactly as they hoped, I encourage them to alter the plan a bit, or to redo. Either way, something is learned.

I have also discovered that each year there’s more interest in the camps I’m presenting than the year before. Personally, I think that’s because there’s not a lot offered to kids that isn’t technology based (i.e. computer screens) or competitive (i.e. sports.) Wood working is a solo journey. It’s absolutely not competitive. It’s both relaxing and frustrating. It’s picking out a project, drawing a plan, and bringing that plan to life. It develops a healthy sense of accomplishment and pride, the pride of creating something yourself! There’s little in my world that’s as satisfying as that process! And, I think they kids agree. I have campers who have come back 2, 3, 4 and even 5 years in a row.

This year, my set of camps filled up in 3 days. There was some shifting around of dates with some kids and I was able to add a couple spots to another camp, but all in all they were filled before I even got the word out. If you think this type of camp is something your child would enjoy next summer (2022) please click the link below to sign up for the mailing list. I’ll let you know around February what the summer dates will be and what projects will be made. Also, you’re welcome to come visit the shop anytime. Just get in touch and we can set up an afternoon:)

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A trophy shelf guarded by a dragon!

….and a birdhouse built for two:)

I had the pleasure last week of having two young wood workers in town and staying at the shop. They were eager to get building and both picked out projects that they wanted to try. By the way….these are my nephews! They always come to Baltimore with a lengthy list of things they want to make; a pair of stilts, a potter’s wheel, the world’s largest birdhouse, a trophy shelf, and more. I see my job as paring down the excitement just a bit to fit it into a three day trip. The priority for my older nephew was a trophy shelf.

As we started the build, I introduced him to the scroll saw which is one of my favorite tools. He took to it in amazing fashion! After a couple starter plans, he asked if he could try making the dragon that he’d seen older kids do at previous camps. Why not? In the end, we combined the trophy shelf and the scroll saw work to form a super cool projects. A trophy shelf guarded by a dragon!

My younger nephew also wanted to make something, so I helped him with a double deck birdhouse. We learned a lot about what types of birds go into each bird house. We also learned that it’s best to paint or stain a birdhouse green or brown so it is protected from natural enemies. Hopefully next spring this will provide a welcome space for a couple weary mama birds.

Nathan is happy with his bird house!

As for the stilts that my older nephew wanted…..well….we got him up on those as well. For these, I just gave him a pair that I’d made years ago after taking a stilt walking class from some local circus people. Truth be told, I haven’t gotten up on the in quite a few years. They tend to look better on the young!

Zach at nearly 8 ft. tall!

Summer 2021 is Underway!

The first two camps for summer 2021 are done and a fun time was had by all! The weather cooperated perfectly for the first High School Advanced class. Two campers made beautiful Adirondack chairs that they’re incredibly proud of. From arriving on day one and being shown a stack of boards….to leaving 4 days later with completed chairs, I don’t think they imagined how much they’d accomplish. The second camp wrapped up this past Friday and the weather dealt us a few surprises. The first day of camp was 97 degrees with a heat index of 105! Needless to say, our pace was slower and we took frequent breaks for the air conditioning. Day two switched things up and drenched the wood shop with rain and heavy thunderstorms. Finally though, Friday arrived with gorgeous low 80’s and sunshine. Perfect for those finishing top coats on the projects and a great cook out! Enjoy the photos below to get a glimpse into all the fun and action.

There’s something so special to watch these kids step out of their virtual worlds and grab a tape measure and a set of plans. At first, there’s questions on all sides. “What am I supposed to be doing?” “How do I start?” But by the end of camp, I hear statements like “I’m going to go attach the vertical slats now” and “Next I want to try and build a small table to go with this.” The progression is so priceless to me.

Summer 2021 Woodworking Camps

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Summer 2021 Woodworking Camps…coming soon!

Looking ahead…

2020 has been a challenging year for so many people and there was no exception for the world of summer camps. At the beginning of June I wasn’t even completely sure that I’d hold any camps at all this year. Luckily, by reducing the number of campers to 3 per session and by instituting a wide variety of new safety protocols we were able to run 7 woodworking camps this year!

Now I’m starting to plan for 2021 and, hopefully, a return to a more normal way of doing things. Typically camps can accommodate 5 or 6 kids each and are divided by age and experience level. Each camp features a main project that all the campers build and then a chance to design their own project and learn the skills of drafting, planning, choosing the woods and finally building. This past summer, campers created things like wind chimes, picture frames, light boxes, boomerangs, ping pong ball shooters and even Mjolnir….Thor’s Hammer!

If you have a child that might be interested in joining the fun for Summer 2021 please fill out the Google Form and I’ll add you to the email list. Camps fill very quickly with limited spacing so definitely get on the mailing list.

Enjoy a few photos from this past summer!

Wood Working Camp #3

This was the high school camp and I had three attendees. The main project was a very cool dragon chest. There’s one still being finished up and I’ll add a photo of it once it’s complete, along with its builder. Two of the campers worked on this chest. The third was finishing up work on an older project….Thor’s Hammer Mjolnir! No kidding, this thing turned out amazingly well. Needless to say, he spent the last two days of camp starting work on StormBreaker.

The high school camp is for kids 14 and up with at least one year of the Beginner wood working camp under their belts.

Summer Wood Working Camp #5

Yesterday saw the finish of the final wood working camp for summer 2020. It was an amazing 3 days in the shop. Two good friends attended and had a fantastic time designing and building several projects. Both kids were returning campers, so they know their way around the shop and how to safely use the various tools.

The first project, as it was for all the kids this summer, was a set of shelves for their bedroom. For this group, we used a beautiful piece of heart pine that had been given to me by a friend. Taking the timber from a rough sawn board to something to hang on the wall was quite a process! As you can see, the pine takes a wonderful stain and the final pieces look stunning,

 

The second project was also repeated at several camps this summer…a dragon design wall art piece. This is actually the lid to a clever chest, but for the middle schoolers we stop at something to decorate the room. They can return later to finish the chest if they want.

Scott_D_M_DragonArt

Finally, for returning campers, I have the kids pick design and build their own project. One of the kids wanted to build a light box frame for a photo of his Grandfather, Father and himself as a baby. Then he wood-burned their names around the frame. It was such a meaningful project for him! And…the result speaks for itself:

MS_w_frame

There’s nothing else like a week in a wood shop. The smells of the beautiful wood, the choosing of materials, the planning and the dreaming! I have a talk with each student that this is their week to dream, to build! What do they want their world to look like? Well…make it!

If you have kids who would be interested in learning the skills of wood working, contact me at scott.tiemann@gmail.com

This fall I’ll be continuing to run weekend and weekday builds for children 13-18 years old. Currently, I prefer a limit of 2-3 in a class that know each other and have already been socializing around each other (siblings, friends, etc.)

Summer Wood Working Camp #4

We’re all figuring this pandemic safety dance out day by day, right? The wood shop is rocking this summer with happy kids and great projects! We’ve got our masks, our face shields, our wood working gloves, and we’re all smiling with our eyes.

Just finished a two day camp for some younger makers. Wall art is what we came up with and each camper designed their own, from the size, to the design and colors. And check out how cool they look!

JK_LT_finalProjects

To make this project, the kids started with raw cut lumber, planed, sawed, sanded and mitered a frame. Then they took to the scroll saw for their design. Finally, they installed keyhole hangers on the back and added a coat of shellac to protect the work.

Here are a few other pictures from the two days. Enjoy!

Summer Wood Working Camp #2

We just finished an exciting week at wood working camp #2 and I must say that all the extra “to-do’s” when dealing with Corona aren’t dampening the excitement and wonder of wood working at all for these kids. Safety will always be first at any of the camps that I teach, and, as circumstances change from year to year, I’ll update workshop guidelines as needed.

The camp included four really exceptional kids doing great work. The first project was a set of floating shelves for their bedrooms. With a cool three board design, the kids learned measuring, cutting, finishing and some tricky biscuit joinery.  Project two was a personalized box with a scrolled design for the top. I love seeing what the kids choose for their design! This year we had a turtle, a hawk, an umbrella with rain drops, and a set of stars. Each one turned out very good and I love to think what treasures they might end up holding.

Finally, the kids each picked their own independent project. For this we had a ping pong ball launcher, an infinity mirror, a set of wind chimes and a family picture frame with a wood burned design.

The next camp will be this coming Tuesday the 28th and the following week is camp #4! If you have a teen who enjoys building and might want to learn the art of wood working, please let me know.

My favorite moment is when a camper makes a really well executed step like drilling a perfect hole on the drill press and I hear them say “That was so satisfying!”

Here are some pics from the past week:

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