Saturday, January 4, 2014

SF3D leads

I posted my interest in woodworking education on, which is an excellent group serving the Bay Area design community.  It includes architects and designers as well as lots of fabricators of all kinds.

I've gotten lots of leads thus far from SF3D.  It will take some time to follow up on them, but here they are:

This from Tom Powers at
Hi Ken, everybody,
I helped to start an early childhood art education project in Santa Barbara. I put tools in the hand of six to ten year old children in order to teach hand woodwork. No one bled, probably just good luck, and the program is still going strong today. We began as a volunteer staffed nonprofit with funding from the community and eventually a grant from the National Education Fund. We drew teachers from the professional arts and crafts community; people who made a living with their work and were willing to teach their skills part time. It has now been incorporated into the County School system. Kathy Koury, an early teacher, now works as the director.

We worked with very young kids but the same direct contact would easily adapt to older people. It is very rewarding work. One learns to talk to a student in terms adapted to their level of understanding without the pressure of having a completion deadline.

Good luck,

This from Bill Callahan at

Hello Ken, I believe all will agree we've lost something special and important over the last few decades closing high school wood and metal shops. I attended a vocational school when I was in high school in the 60's where all trades was taught, including brick laying to type setting to name a few. For me, like others academics was not necessarily my strength but important, especially math. In addition to my pursuit today of design and construction of sustainable furniture I've recently launched a non-profit called OHIAS (Our Health Is At Stake) who's mission is to end waste as we know it today by putting it to work, putting people and community to work for the benefit of all people, community and planet. Our first project will be the creation of a (Marin) community benefit cooperative were people of all ages (especially those with the least opportunity - homeless and disabled) will be provided work transforming so called waste into high value materials and products. One example will be our urban forest yard where fallen trees from streets and yards will be transformed into certified lumber for woodworkers and builders. In addition to transformation, the center will provide all types of repair services like rebuilding small motors and appliances. Education will play a major roll, teaching people of all ages safe and proper tool use so they can do more independently. I figure there's upward of $82 million dollars of (circular) economic opportunity annually here in Marin alone, with most coming from construction waste (new and old). This project may not exactly fit what you're thinking about but I thought I would share it. 

Bill Callahan

Interim Director
OHIAS "Our Health Is At Stake"
1115 Third Street
San Rafael, CA 94901

This from Brian Schmitt at


Studio H is an in-school design/build class for 8th-11th grade students. First launched in Bertie County, NC and now based at Realm Charter School in Berkeley, CA, Studio H students apply their core subject learning to design and build audacious and socially transformative projects. 

Brian Schmitt

This from Patrick Hayes at

Ken and Community:  I am not sure how to plug into this project, though I will make myself available when boots in the shop are needed.

Great to see this discussion and to learn of Tom’s efforts.  Seems we are coming full circle are we not?  Wood and metal shops were available in the late ‘70’s and early ‘80’s in most public schools along with drafting.  Then seems to have left the education system.

Here is one regressive policy that I strongly support!  Trade training for all!

Patrick Michael Hayes, LEED® A.P. , DFD
Recycling Specialist, Environmental Services Division
City of Oakland  |  Public Works Agency  |  APWA Accredited Agency
250 Frank H Ogawa Plaza, Ste. 5301 |  Oakland, CA  94612

This from Ron Goldman at
Ken --
Let me know what develops.
I'd like to publicize it in Woodworker West.

Ron Goldman
Woodworker West magazine
Now available in digital form.

This from Christian Dauer at
Randall Museum as a long established shop class for all ages
scroll down on link for teen and adult course description.
We just toured the SF Waldorf and they do have great offerings in handtools based wood work

This from Gregory Johnson at
The high school i attended in Stockton has now set up a construction technology academy. They prep students for a wide variety of careers in the trades.

This from Patrick Hayes at
Ken:  I think there is some value in looking at the curriculum of Waldorf Schools.  Woodworking, hand tools, is part of the upper elementary school programs.  It is part of a progression of motor skills training that starts with knitting and crochet.  I am going to inquire with Seth Melchert, my mentor, and parent of 3 Waldorf grads, now college age people.

Will keep you posted.


1 comment:

  1. Ken has introduced me to this group, and it looks very exciting. About the Waldorf education, yes, they have great thing going on there: My children have been going there for many years: Before they start with maths, they learn rhythms and before they learn to write, they start drawing and painting. In Sweden they learn old fashion trades such as making candle holder and baskets with wire, they do black smithing making copper bowls, wood carving spoons from chunks of wood they go and fetch in the woods and eventually make a chair without nails or screws...