Monday, December 6, 2010

Trees for Christmas

This week the younger boys finally finished the Christmas trees that they started making back in late October, just in time so they could take with them for the Christmas holidays.

Oliver Gamboa (left) and Estiben Franco with their trees
All of the younger boys (age 7 to 12) made a tree in our normal woodshop classes.  Some of the older boys got interested and also made a tree for themselves.  And before it was all over, we had the older boys make about 25 new, improved versions to sell for the benefit of the ministry.

The project began back on October 23, when the younger boys started marking and cutting out the tree shapes from some 1/2" thick cedar boards that we had prepared.  They all learned how to use the scrolling saw for this project.

On previous versions of this project, we have used the scrolling saw to make the cutout for joining the two halves of the tree together.  But it is difficult to cut this rectangular shape with precision, especially for the kids.  Errors in the cut are also on display when the two halves are assembled.  So this year I decided to try to make the cutout using our nice dado stack on the table saw. 

Einer Posada making a cutout from the bottom of the tree half up with the table saw and our shop made jig

Both halves of the tree have a cutout - but in order to interlock, one is cut up from the bottom of the tree and the other is cut down from the top.  So we put together a jig, shown above, to steady and provide backing for the tree halves while making these cuts. 

We used the dado stack to make the cutout exactly 1/2" wide, so the tree halves have to be sanded in order to fit properly.

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