High School Woodworking

Instructor: Tara Saylor


I decided to let the explorations of the materials and tools lead the way to the final outcome of my project. I learned to use the Dremel tool and sanding tools to fool the observer into thinking that the culture was not made out of wood. I tried to create the illusion of a smooth, shiny material like clay or stone. I formed an Alien Buddha head because these days it seems that holiness and spirituality are a foreign concept. I also wanted to mimic the organic forms of nature because the complexity and beauty of the natural world are the purest creation of the energy driving our world.


For my semester project I decided to build a small bedside table with drawers. I figured it would result in a useful piece of furniture. The overall process of assembling it was a promising journey that included a skillful mindset. It was a great experience learning about tools and other materials. I’m very proud of how my project turned out and being able to experience the completion of my hard work.


For my woodshop project, I chose to build a chessboard. I chose this project because I enjoy playing chess. I built the chessboard out of maple and mahogany. First, I sanded the wood, then cut it into 16 pieces of 1.75 inches in width. After this, I stained the mahogany wood so that it resembled a milk chocolate color, to make up the darker squares of the chessboard. Once I completed this, I glued together four pieces of maple and mahogany in four separate sections. After that, I cut these four sections in half, and glued all eight pieces together so that every other square was the opposite type of wood. Following this, I applied a clear finish over the entire board. In addition to constructing a board, I experimented with building chess pieces, but it was much too difficult to make them symmetrical with the tools at hand, so I ended up not making them. Overall, I am satisfied with how my board turned out, and I look forward to playing on it.


For my final project, I decided to make a mini skatepark for fingerboards. I ran into many challenges along the way but I was able to overcome most of them. This project was difficult at times because it required me to be very attentive to detail. Since everything was so small, even the slightest mistake would show. It was super fun to work on, though, and helped me to fine-tune my skills with all of the tools I used. I even picked up some new skills along the way! I am sad that I did not get to see this project to completion, but I am sure that I will finish it outside of class.


As an avid gardener and someone who enjoys growing food and all of the wonders of nature, I chose to build a compost tea brewing stand.


For my woodworking project, I decided to build a bed headboard. I decided to make this because it seemed like it would be a fun project and would make my room look very pretty compared to my bed headboard before. During the buying process, I went to Ojai Lumber to get my supplies. It was really cool seeing so many different kinds of wood there, and I finally found the perfect pieces. After that it was building time. My building process was fun and pretty easy to do. I learned a lot, like the importance of sanding and how to use certain tools. Overall, I am so glad I chose to do woodworking class.


This semester in woodworking I challenged myself by creating a four-color rotating screen printing press. While it is still in progress, I have learned how to safely use and operate a plethora of new tools, as well as learning more about the planning stages and preparation of woodworking projects. I wanted to create something I will use and that could be long-lasting. I can’t wait to get printing! :)