We’re now in the home stretch! Students are vigorously working toward a quickly-approaching end of the semester. We have just about one week left. Everyone is pitching in to fine tune their drawings and produce a book that will explain the process of building cabinets for a Rural-Studio-built home.
The class has drastically changed over the last month: a woodshop class is now unable to actually work in the Studio’s shop. So, the class determined that next best thing to real fabrication is to build a virtual instruction guide that will help the future Rural Studio cabinet builders.
All the great work that was done prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic is now enabling everyone to work from their homes, whether they be in Alabama or even South Korea. Zoom video calls are amazing things! Students are working to create a book that includes in-depth drawings and instructions on how to build a set of cabinets. Stay safe and stay tuned for a more in-depth look into the final book!
As assigned, the teams have been diligently working towards their cabinet designs. As part of their assignment, the teams built physical models, or mockups, of the cabinet itself. This is a very common practice at the Studio, which is used to test the fabrication process.
This means that the students finally get to build something in a shop class! Because a large component of this course’s assignment is using a CNC router, instead of traditional shop equipment, a number of the students ventured back to Auburn’s shop at Dudley Hall and CNC’d the cabinet pieces.
This week, the students’ five cabinet teams have been working hard on the design of their cabinets and of their fabrication process. To help students determine how their cabinets will be constructed, Steve and Chelsea implemented a design tool called a storyboard, which is a guide or instruction manual that documents the process, or evolution, of a built piece of work.
Storyboards flush out the order of procedure and give the students a method for testing the actual process of construction from start to finish. All of this work is helping the class move toward the fabrication of a built mockup, or prototype, of their final cabinets. These mockups will be reviewed as their midterm during the next weeks!
We had another special guest this week, this time from Auburn! Jon Byler, who operates the shop at CADC’s Dudley Hall, kindly took the time to pay the class a visit in Newbern. Because he’s an expert on the CNC-routing process, Jon is helping the students coordinate using the router to fabricate their millwork pieces. CNC-routing is a new and exciting adventure for the Shop Class, and Jon was incredibly helpful in giving an in-depth router tutorial along with some great advice on design and process.
For the 3rd-year students, each semester begins by getting familiar with the Rural Studio Wood Shop and all it has to offer. The shop is very basic in the tools that it’s equipped with. So, students have to be creative in how they use each tool.
To kick off the class, the first task is to make a wooden cutting board in the shop. Each student is given three small pieces of cherry and walnut wood. After that, the limits are endless. With only the constraints of what is available in the shop, the design is up to whatever anyone wants to try.
By allowing the class to begin at a small scale, the cutting board project provides the opportunity to use and get familiar with all of the tools in the shop before moving to a larger and more difficult scale: cabinetry scale. The assignment also begins to facilitate an understanding of what it’s like to work with wood, which also proves helpful when the students work on the framing for Ophelia’s Home. Because there’s so much possibility, it’s always exciting to see the end result for each cutting board!