Woodshop class makes a treasure from trash


Clarion photo Anna Rollins

Juniors Mason Hitchman and Connor Nickerson sanding away at their hand crafted rocking chair.

By Anna Rollins, Reporter

What object is your grandma’s best friend, a new mother’s partner in crime, and the big toe on your right foot’s worst enemy? The one, the only, rocking chair.

Cleveland woodshop class is crafting a one-of-a-kind rocking chair to auction off at the PTA Auction March 5.  “We wanted to utilize a whole bunch of scrap material that came off the first stage we built for the first production the theater department did,” explains woodshop instructor Brian Barnes. “It was a very elaborate stage, some of my students found a plan online to build a cool rocking chair with it. The materials were free and we have a whole bunch of students that are willing to commit to free labor for us for it is a very labor intensive project.”

The rocker gives a helping hand for practicing techniques in woods production and manufacturing. The surface started out rough and angry, keen on splintering your behind if you took a seat. To smooth down its rage, woodshop students will spend 90-plus hours sanding it out.

“A lot of students help out because they want to, other students I have work on it so they can pay off some of the materials. We don’t have shop fees for our class, so what I do if a student wants a really expensive board that we have in our shop is I give them a price for the board, and they have to work it off at $10 an hour by sanding the chair.”

Junior craftsman Mason Hitchman understands the chair is much more than just a tool to practice skill. “The chair is bringing the woodshop community together,” Hitchman empathized. “Goes to show if we work together, we can create something that is beautiful.”

The class has an extremely limited budget of $2,000, which only covers expenses of equipment, not materials. It is hoped this royal throne will bring in some bank in order for program to grow farther.

However, Barnes wants much more than cash. “I want recognition for our shop, people talking about the cool program we have going on here. I want to build students’ confidence so they know they can do something as complex as this, and I want the students to learn a new skill. I am seeing a lot of talent come from that chair, a lot of people are proving to be very good woodworkers-shaping things… artistically and creatively.”