So, our final critique is this Thursday at 12.15.
I thought now would be a good time to compile all our collective wisdom on what went well and what I might change about the course next time. Of course, we endured much externally-imposed hardship this semester: several weeks with no dust-collector, dull planer and jointer knives, limits to how many people could work int he shop at one time, and so on. But let's compile a list of the little things we learned that could be useful in future iterations of this course.
Here's my list:
1) Stick with my guns about having everyone do the same basic project. There just isn't time to consider multiple different table designs. Trying to figure out how to realize these different designs lost us a class period or two, which we couldn't afford to lose.
OKAY, you're right, folks, the freedom was worth the time lost! But yes, there do need to be limits! The problem was trying to explain why several variations did not fit the bill at all, and couldn't be done with mortise-and-tenon joinery.
2) As much as I love white oak, it's much harder to work than, say, walnut or cherry. And, as we learned from David Jackson, the Californian white oak is itself more difficult to work than "Eastern" white oak.
3) Always use the "zero clearance" table-saw insert in combination with the tapering jig, to avoid scraps getting caught in the insert.
4) We should have a class-specific crosscut blade for cutting the shoulders on our tenons, etc. Some people managed to check out the sharpest blade while some people got a dull blade which resulted in tearout.
Exciting new things:
It sounds like we will be getting a new (old) Oliver mortising machine for the shop. This is the same machine the Kentucky woodworker in one of our videos, used! This might knock about two weeks off any future projects involving mortise-and-tenon joinery! It will also virtually eliminate the whole chiselling component of the assignment, which means also the chisel-sharpening component... kind of sad, yet most people won't think so.
Okay, please add your own suggestions here.