I got sidetracked, and did not do as promised. I have not returned to complete the slide show of the 2011 North West Technology Education Association of Missouri (TEAM) Awards contest. But I am working on it. In case you missed it, you can read my recent article showing the best entry in the woodworking category.
Some of my recent work highlighted to me the very real difficulty in perfectly matching multiple tenons into multiple mortises. And that brought me back to the high school competition. It was the rocking chair in the photo below that brought me back. All of the slats, the arms, the legs, everything in this chair is put together using mortise and tenon joinery. I can only imagine a high school student working on this chair, and matching all the joinery:
As if matching all the back slats perfectly were not enough, there are plenty more mortises and tenons to match on the base. The stretchers must be installed properly, to minimize racking due to the forces exerted during rocking. The rockers themselves must be secured in the proper spot, to ensure smooth rocking:
This is one of the reasons I find the efforts of the educators in shop classes fascinating. They are showing our children the importance, and the relevance, of getting an item put together just right, of making it durable. All of this adds up to a quality item that will last a long time, rather than being placed on the sidewalk after a couple of years.
I am proud of our high schools in Missouri, for continuing to teach our youth the importance of working with our hands, to create. KUDOS, Missouri Technology Education teachers!