Joel Rodriguez entered Wood Review's Student Awards 2014. The following article appeared in issue 86 of the magazine.
I’ve always been interested in creating interesting shapes out of wood. Both my grandfather and father have a shed where they work and I often go in there and mess around with tools and bits of wood. I saw a picture in a magazine earlier this year that showed how wood grain could be used to create 3D effects and I was very impressed, so I started to explore this area.
I found YouTube very helpful in getting started. This was the genesis and before long I had a drawing and an idea ready to discuss with Mr Peter Jones, my wood teacher.
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Step 1: Choose Your Wood
Once I decided what I wanted to do I thought about what I could use it for and struck upon the idea of a cutting board. It did not take me long however to decide there was no way I would use it for that after the hours I had to commit to creating it.
For the timber I decided on pine, jarrah and cedar. Mr Jones machined the timber to 40 x 25mm and then we set the saw angle to 30° and starting cutting each section lengthwise. I found the angles not quite perfect so I carefully sanded the sides to ensure a close fit.
Step 2: Form Hexagons
I used Titebond glue and heavy duty rubberbands to squeeze together three blocks at a time to form hexagons. Clamping the hexagons together to form the final board was somewhat of a challenge.
Step 3: Sanding
Prior to oiling I used a belt sander to flatten the surface before hitting it with an orbital using different grades. A final hand sanding removed the rings left by the orbital.
Step 4: Oil Finished Product
I spent around 50 hours on this project and it took me about one and a half terms as I spent a day a week at TAFE. At the end of the year my school had a technology display and I received offers but I don’t think I will sell it as I put so much sweat and hard work into it. It’s certainly the best thing I’ve ever made and I am really looking forward to getting back into wood this year as a Year 12.
At the time of writing Joel Rodriguez was studying woodworking in Year 11 at Churchland Senior High School in Western Australia.
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