Sunday, August 10, 2014

Woodworking 101

For those who don't know, I started teaching at a different school this year. I loved SHS for eight years, but it was time for a change. I got the opportunity to start a German program at one of the best schools in the state, so I had to take it. With a new school, come new challenges for the Pattiwagon. I always had a podium in my room in Southaven. It was a much older school with many more vestiges of retired teachers, so podiums were easy to come by. Lewisburg (my new school) is an expansion school and has only been around a few years, ergo no podiums. I priced them and quickly discovered that podiums are expensive. 

As much as I'd like to be known as Rabbi Clayton, that price just doesn't fly on the Pattiwagon, so I set out to make one. (Important note here: This is the extent of my woodworking experience.) I scoured Pinterest for instructions and came upon this site with great instructions. A friend loaned me a jigsaw and sander in exchange for some canned goodness. Armed with my tools and instructions, I headed to Lowe's, where I happened to see my new BFF Ephren. (The previous week, he had helped me cut wall paneling to make mini dry erase boards for my students.) He recognized me and offered his services once again. I am so grateful for his help, as he cut everything perfectly, made sure to leave the nice edges for the front, and gave me the confidence to build. 

This is what I did: 

I started the day off right with a Boy Scout hotdog from Lowe's. I realized they must make a killing out there. I've never turned down a dog right off the grill. 

Fueled by the dog, I got to woodworking. While Ephren made all the straight cuts, I had to make the diagonal cuts on the sides, so that the top of the podium would slant. I also cut four triangular braces. Let's hope they keep the podium from keeling over in the middle of class.

After the cuts, I sanded and sanded and sanded. Probably, I could have sanded some more, but man, it got old after a while. How do you like my sawhorse? (Pattiwagon Life Lesson: If you don't have it, improvise.)

In addition to sanding A LOT, I measured A LOT. Again, hoping for sturdiness here. 

Here it is taking shape. You can see the braces I added. 

Finished with construction! 

Finally, I stained it with Kona wood stain. The whole project took me about six hours, and that included two trips to Lowe's. I'm so please with how it turned out. Once I get it in my classroom, I'll take a few glamour shots and post them. 


  1. Great job--looks very professional! I have some projects to do but I think I'll hold them until you're here for a visit.

  2. I am in awe! Impressed! Amazed!