Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

January 2, 2017

Junior High Shop Classes

My craft room is crammed full of all my most favourite treasures and tchotchkes, which are fun to look at and reminisce.  I was sitting at my craft table the other day and I spied the metal & enameled mushroom I made in the 7th grade.  

I think a lot of schools have been forced to do away with shop classes due to money, but in the 70s when the brand new Sandwich High School opened in the fall of 1976, school districts were flush with money and kids could take shop classes.

When I entered 7th grade that fall, my course schedules put me in 4 different shop-type classes in each quarter till the spring.  I had Home Ec which I hated, Art which I sucked at, Wood Shop and Metal Shop.  I don't have anything left that I made in wood shop, but we were taught how to use all the tools like bansaws and so forth.  We wore goggles and took safety very seriously.  I never remember the teachers having to yell at anyone for dangerous tool-play.  I remember making a cutting board, a bread knife made from a piece of saw blade, and this silly little toy called a 'do nothing machine' which was actually quite clever.  

This is the only thing I have left of the stuff I made in metal shop, which included a twisted brass bracelet and a lantern that we had to hammer nails in to make a design like old fashioned lanterns.

I was examining this mushroom and it hit me that I was only 12 years old when I made this.  First we had to hammer, shape and solder the brass base, which is about 2" tall.  Then cut, hammer and shape the metal top.


Then sprinkle the enamel powder on top, melt it, and add the enamel threads.

I'm pretty proud of this seam.  I loved to solder.  


Industrial strength adhesive was used to glue the top and the bottom.

This project made me wonder if these classes are offered anymore and do they really teach children to use lethal saws and blow torches?  I was 12 in 7th grade...most of my classmates were 13.  That's still really, really young.  Yet no one thought anything of it.  We were excited to learn how to do these things, safely, and our parents received as gifts all the stuff we made.  There wasn't a single complaint from the community or self righteous parent thinking that it was 'too dangerous' to let kids use blow torches.

Just more proof that the 70s were better than now when it came to 'live and let live'.

14 comments:

  1. It's so cute! I did sewing and cookery at school until they made me take science subjects. I sucked at them!

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    1. I hated science too....I took enough to satisfy my graduation requirements. Graphic Arts was my fave class though.

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  2. Very cool. I took art classes but never shop. I am not super handy with tools but I would like to try a blow torch someday. There are still shop classes in our high school in TX.

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    1. At the time we had shop, my school was in the top 3 in the state. Money was abundant and we had all the bells and whistles in those days. Including an Olympic size swimming pool, FM radio station and state of the art auditorium. The kids got to take a variety of stuff in jr. high that would be electives in high school.

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  3. Never had shop in my day. Took a few cookery classes in one school (went to 10) and they taught as much science as cooking and some of the science was too obvious for words. I hated it. I also did classes for sewing and knitting, I was useless at both. Music I was too lazy. Never had the opportunity to do metalworking.

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    1. I really liked metal shop, or 'metals' as we called it and Graphics the best. Home ec was a disaster...we just didn't have enough allotted time to realistically make any of the recipes.

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  4. That's really cool. Nothing but cooking and sewing and home economics for me when I went to school. You were so lucky to get your fingers into more than pie!

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    1. Yes and I appreciate it now. I wish I had back then! I would love to take another class in metals now.

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  5. That's so cool that you still have that. I LOVED Home Ec and arts n' crafts. I never took a shop class but if I had it would've been the automotive one. I don't think they offer those classes anymore.

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    1. They had automotives in my school too but only for the high school kids. Mostly boys. I used to eschew anything girly, that's why I kept taking Graphic Arts during high school. It was so much fun and I was pretty good at it. Wood shop, I could never managed to sand my project enough to get the flaws out of the wood.

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  6. Creative from a young age I see.

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    1. Thanks. Yes....I always got craft kits, colouring books and colour forms as presents. Gotta keep the only child busy during the winter.

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  7. Hey JoJo,

    Yep, finally, I get over here :) Oh wow and awesome! Your artistic flair most certainly was there from such a youthful time. Of course, you're still youthful. Reminds me of metal shop from my high school day in the late sixties, early seventies. I made a candle holder. Have no idea what happened to it.

    Oops and a belated 2017. Where has the year gone? LOL

    Gary

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    1. Thanks Gary! Happy New Year to you too!

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