Portable Power Tools Class Sparks Enthusiasm



By Donna Lee Dowdney

Recently the BARN offered the Portable Power Tools class as part of the Woodworking 101 series.


Dave Whitacre, Instructor

Dave Whitacre, the instructor, says, “I’m used to doing woodworking alone. The challenge for me is making the class meaningful for students with different levels of wood working skills.  Because it is an introductory class, it is intended to spark interest in working with wood and to encourage students to use BARN facilities in the future.”

Last year Dave moved to Bainbridge after retiring as a petroleum engineer in Alaska. Woodworking has been his hobby for the past 40 years.


Dave Kircher, Assistant, demonstrating safe use of equipment

Dave Kircher assisted in teaching the Portable Power Tools sessions. He says, “It’s clear to me that a key part of our classes is creating a nice product. Students were delighted that they could leave the class with a beautiful cutting board!”


Donna Lee Dowdney, student, creating her first wood project

Each student created cutting boards with arched ends and rounded corners by joining several different pieces of milled wood, including birch, beech, and walnut. After cutting the wood, the students joined and routed to round the corners, sanded, and finished the cutting boards by applying mineral oil.


Vin Chawla with Dave Kircher

Vin Chawla, one of the Power Tools students, says, “I was involved in this class because I wanted to learn more about woodworking techniques and about the BARN. In the class I learned three different techniques of joining wood including using dowels, biscuit joinery, and glue. I learned that dowel joinery requires the most precision and allows for the smallest range of error, while biscuit joinery provides great joint strength while allowing flexibility in application to account for less precise cuts. I also learned about routing to create round edges and the difficulty of maintaining the round edge around a corner.  Using routers and jigsaws requires a slow, steady, constant movement of the tools in order to avoid burns and keep the cuts accurate.”


Dave Whitacre and Vin Chawla with Cutting Board

Vin summarized his experience of his first class at the BARN by saying, “Dave and Dave were great teachers! The instruction was very good and kept things interesting. They gave a great choice of materials and explanation of using the tools. They were encouraging and helpful; the tools were of good quality and were well maintained; and the wood shop was clean, well organized — and great to work in! I’m planning five projects to use my new skills — and I’m joining the BARN!”



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