Going back to school

I have been waiting for this moment for years literally, both a little scared and very excited to be going to Oregon College of Arts and Crafts this weekend and next, for a four days hands on wood working class, specifically geared towards backyard structure building. Yes, I have always wanted to know how to build anything, and often say that I wish that I were an electrician, a plumber, an HVAC contractor…as all of that is infinitely fascinating to me. Then I could build a house, from bottom up. Brendan Conaway is the instructor and his website is inspiring http://www.micro-structures.com/. We have a new house, a new yard and have inherited the perfect place for a backyard structure where an old garage used to be, the foundation is still there and the promise can be seen in the parameter of concrete.

From the instructor:

Hi Everybody,

Welcome to the Backyard Structures class !

This class is a great opportunity to put together a good tool belt, fill it with some tools, and get used to wearing it and using it. Here are the tools you’ll need:

Tool belt and bags – A “framers” set-up, with big bags for nails/screws, and smaller pockets for tools. Should have a loop for a hammer. Most are made of cordura nylon, which is pretty strong. Some have fixed bags, others are a component system, which allows you to add bags as needed. (I added a ‘holster’ for my drill, and that’s been very useful.) Get something you like and feels really comfortable.

Hammer – A ‘framing’ hammer which has a waffle face on the head, meaning that the surface which strikes the nail is NOT smooth, but has a rough surface. I use a 21 ounce hammer, but something a little lighter would also be OK. Get something that feels comfortable in your hand and that you can swing easily. Do NOT get a hammer with a metal shaft. Wood is better, absorbs shocks and saves your wrist, elbow, etc. The ‘Vaughn” 19  oz. ‘California Framer” was popular with the last class.

Tape measure –  25 feet long. Get one that locks well and is affordable to you. The cheap ones break sooner, but the expensive ones also break, or get dropped, lost, etc.

Speed square – This is a triangular piece of metal (or plastic) to draw perpendicular lines across the face of boards. Get the 6” version, and hopefully your tool belt will have a handy triangular pocket that fits it exactly.

Bear Claw – Also known as a Cat’s Paw, this is like a small sharp crowbar for removing nails. If you don’t make any mistakes, you won’t need one. (I use mine often…)

Gloves – I use those over-engineered, ergonomic, padded “framing” gloves that leave my thumb and first two fingers uncovered. They’re great, enabling me to get into my work, not worry too much about what I’m picking up, and save my skin from blisters, splinters, and cuts. They fit tightly and I don’t really notice I have them on. They’re a little pricey, and they don’t last forever, but I always use them.

Eye and ear protection.

Rain gear, extra pair of socks and work shoes. It looks like it’ll rain (a lot or a little) so please be prepared to work in the wet.

1 Comment

Filed under construction, education, lifestyle

One response to “Going back to school

  1. Emma Tsai

    This will be fantastic for you. I’m psyched.

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