Wonderful Wooden Wonderland – Sara E.

How much wood would a wood chuck chuck if a wood chuck could chuck wood? Unfortunately I don’t know the answer to this question, but I do know how many wooden yoga mat racks my team and I can produce within a week. As the Ann Richards Make-O-Rama is quickly approaching, we are racing to finish our mat racks in time to present at the fair that lies on April 24. Although my team and I are getting a bit anxious about our time constraint, we are confident that our final product will be completed and at its highest quality.

As we march on our speed with producing these racks has increased dramatically. Now that we have repeated this task of measuring the dowel holes every six inches, cutting the wood down to the length of six feet and drilling the holes at a 30 degree angle we are very comfortable with the tools and process. We have also recently made the decision to finish our wood rather than paint it, which will require us to add an extra step in our work. Now we will be sanding our racks very well. After testing out some wood finish that was leftover from another project, we noticed that it looked much more nicer and natural than paint would of. Glancing through a website about finishing wood (http://www.minwax.com/how-to-finish-wood/wood-finishing-basics/) we now feel confident about our final processes. We also are trying to incorporate some sense of Japanese culture by having the pieces of wood align straight up as the tree it came from was growing.

1

As shown in this image, we set the angle of the platform of the drill press to 30 degrees. This assured us that the pegs would be angled slightly upward to properly hold a mat.

2

One finished rack, although not sanded.

3

Sophie working on cutting a dowel using a saw.

4

Two complete racks. The pegs were glued into the drilled holes using wood glue and were drying in the picture.

(All pictures personally taken in the Ann Richards’ Maker Space)

We recently ran out of wood and dowels as we finished two racks (four individual wooden pieces 6ft x 3.5in x 2in). During a class period we were able to go on a surprise field trip to our nearest Home Depot with our teacher to stock up on wood. Our experience at Home Depot can be described as awing in both a positive and negative sense. Our positive awing moment was seeing the total amount of wood that the store carries and imagining all the things you could create with it. Right when you walk in it is instinct to begin to brainstorm the infinite possibilities. However, this moment of empowerment was cut short as it was brought to our attention that we were the minority. There were many men populating the store, while women were the extinct species. As we were rolling our cart full of eight foot long pieces of wood, some men came over and asked if we needed any help and were very persistent. We replied nicely, “No thank you”, yet they still responded, “Oh so you’re a strong girl”. I was baffled at his response and increased my walking pace a few notches. Attending Ann Richards I have always been surrounded by people who encourage women empowerment. I am here so much that I forget we live in a world where there are still people who believe women are weaker physically and mentally than men. Unfortunately Home Depot is a hot spot for men with this mindset. I hope that in the next several years this outlook on women versus men changes for the better.

Overall our race against the clock is going well and our project is coming together nicely. Not only are we creating professional mat racks, but we are demonstrating the abilities of women that many doubt at the same time.

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