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Build Classes

Submitted by Mike Bielski on Sat, 03/24/2018 - 15:14

Hi Everyone!

 

Nice that the forums are back- and that I could register a new account (with my name and regular email).

So I have started a build class.  It's taken a long time to line up the details with the venue (who wanted me in the first place), but the first official class is this week.  We're building Shrike plywood kayaks, starting with cutting the panels on a CNC router.  I'm wondering how many people have ever run a build class before, and what the major pitfalls are going to be.  I'll hold my nose for the horror stories, since I've passed the point of no return.  

m

Etienne Muller

Sat, 03/24/2018 - 19:24

I have done one on one instruction on boats... and paddle making with many participants at the same time.

The issue I always face is the speed at which people who are not practiced in the use of tools, especially hand tools, are able to work. To get accurate results takes more time than one expects. You need at least a third more time than you imagine you will need, and double would be even better, if you want to keep the stress levels down and the enjoyment levels up.

If you find yourself becoming impatient, try using the tool in your weak hand. It gives you an idea of the difficulty your student is experiencing.

The second issue I have to overcome is quality. Like many of us here, I try to work to extremely close tolerances. You just can not expect that level of accuracy form someone who is unaccustomed to the processes. One has to stand back with some equanimity and allow the student to do a less than perfect job. They will still end up with a seaworthy boat, and will be happy with their results... More happy than if you do half the job for them.

 

My two cents.

Et.

BTW. I just replaced my printer. I got the Epson SC p9000. The colour is just outstanding. If you are still thinking along those lines.

Etienne Muller

Sat, 03/24/2018 - 19:24

I have done one on one instruction on boats... and paddle making with many participants at the same time.

The issue I always face is the speed at which people who are not practiced in the use of tools, especially hand tools, are able to work. To get accurate results takes more time than one expects. You need at least a third more time than you imagine you will need, and double would be even better, if you want to keep the stress levels down and the enjoyment levels up.

If you find yourself becoming impatient, try using the tool in your weak hand. It gives you an idea of the difficulty your student is experiencing.

The second issue I have to overcome is quality. Like many of us here, I try to work to extremely close tolerances. You just can not expect that level of accuracy form someone who is unaccustomed to the processes. One has to stand back with some equanimity and allow the student to do a less than perfect job. They will still end up with a seaworthy boat, and will be happy with their results... More happy than if you do half the job for them.

 

My two cents.

Et.

BTW. I just replaced my printer. I got the Epson SC p9000. The colour is just outstanding. If you are still thinking along those lines.

admin

Sat, 03/24/2018 - 20:12

In reply to by Etienne Muller

Tasks that take me 15 minutes often take the class 2 hours. There is the trade off of giving them the time to do the job right, vs helping them stick to a schedule so they actually finish the project during the allotted time.

As Et say, you may have to hold your nose a little bit on the quality at times. Beginners are probably not going to get the fit and finish you are accustomed to. There is then the question of doing it yourself so its done well, or letting the student do it and learn.

If you are doing epoxy work, you generally need to leave that until the end of the day so it can cure overnight, unless it is a sub assembly that can be put aside while other tasks are continuing.

You will learn a lot from teaching the classes.  Its fun and nerve wracking at the same time.

Mike Bielski

Sun, 03/25/2018 - 16:25

Thanks Guys-  I have done workshops on simple things- or things I thought were simple- like traditional paddling mitts made of neoprene.  They take me about 2 hours, I had 7, so I figured it wouldn't be a problem.  I had to teach people how to tie a slip knot over and over again.  It took most of them way longer than 7 hours.  Someone said there is a rule of Pi when you're teaching someone else to do something.  You multiply how long it takes you to do it by Pi to get a close idea what it would take someone else.

Anyway-  as we're building plywood and have a CNC router, I'm guessing that the majority of the critical steps will be taken care of by the machine, so we'll mostly be gluing stuff together.  I'm concerned that the hatches and deck fittings will take a long time.  In fact, I am thinking that I will be building the deck fittings for everyone so that they can just install them.

To start off this week the students have to "qualify" on the tools to be able to use them, so I gave them a set of very loose plans for a set of sawhorses from a magazine article, so that I can see how fast they work and how they can follow sketchy plans.  One of the men in the class has already build a plywood kayak, so that could go either way...

Now- back to putting together my week 1 assignment sheet...

 

Keep in mind that even assembling pre-cut parts will take much longer than may seem reasonable.

Also, be careful of people who "know what they are doing." They can "get ahead" in ways that sets them back substantially. 

For example, I had a strip-building class where we were just about to start fiberglassing. Someone decided to wet down the boat to raise the grain, because he knew I do that. However, I don't do it in class, because waiting around for an hour or more for wood to dry out prior to applying epoxy is not something we had time for in a 5 day class.

John VanBuren

Tue, 03/27/2018 - 08:00

Hi!

   I have had the opportunity to help out with boat building classes a couple of times. The important things I learned are:

Save a day by epoxying the panels to full length a few days before the class.

Use masking tape on the fillets. And even if it means you getting up early; pull the tape while the epoxy is still green. It saves about a day of sanding and makes a much neater joint.

Do not try to apply fiberglass and epoxy over fresh (wet) fillets. It makes ugly joints.

Have a designated epoxy mixer (that was one of my jobs) so the main instructor can direct the epoxy application done by the owner of the boat.

Teach the use of cabinet scrapers, to save on sanding efforts.

Stay positive in your direction.

Have fun 

I hope this helps,

John VB

Mike Bielski

Thu, 03/29/2018 - 09:46

Hey all-

First class in the books.  I had to qualify all of the students on wood shop usage, so we made fish-shape push sticks for the table saw and sawhorses to support our work.  I intentionally gave them kind of sketchy plans for the saw horses to see how they'd deal with it.  The plans came with a materials list that stated length of stock, and as I expected, the engineer in the group was smarter than the rest of us, because he didn't get stock as stated on the materials list, he calculated the number of linear inches and bought enough linear inches of stock.  It took him about 40 minutes to figure out how to cut his pieces so that he could make saw horses that were a little bit shorter and a little it narrower than everyone else's.  Other than that, everyone ended on time, with enough time left over to clean the shop.  Success!

m

Rob Macks Laug…

Fri, 03/30/2018 - 09:45

Ask students what they want and listen. Let your enthusiasm for the subject show. Encourage everyone, especially those who struggle.

Give people time to work without hovering.  Everyone is in a different place and you never now where they are going.

When I taught college studio art classes I had a student who didn't seem to able to "get it" and make things work for him.

A couple years later he came back to thank me for my support and showed me a portfolio of work he had done which knocked my socks off.

So I'd have to say the most important thing a teacher can bring is inspiration and encouragement.

Live Long and Paddle,

Rob Macks

Laughing Loon Custom Canoes & Kayaks

http://www.laughingloon.com/

207-549-3531

 

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” - W.B. Yeats