Sabbatical Day 2- Red Rocks

My company, Red Gate software, has given me a 6 week sabbatical. I’m documenting the time with all the posts under a tag if you want to follow along.

Day 2 of the sabbatical was the opposite of day 1. Instead of an early start, it was a late one. I was up early, with PT and some chores, but the sabbatical portion of this was at night. I had a 6pm class at Red Rocks community college.

I left early, needing a student ID and wanting to get oriented. However traffic was a mess and my 45 min drive to the other side of town ended up taking more like 70 and I was too late to get an ID. I’m not sure how often traffic is like that, but part of today and tomorrow needs to be finding a better route to that side of town. A few accidents, and the radio said traffic was worse than normal, but I’m still concerned.

Red Rocks Community College is nestled in the foothills just a little SE of Golden. It’s a beautiful spot, looking out over the mountains. I should have taken pictures, but I was a bit frazzled when I got there and it was confusing as to where the classroom was. I ended up driving around campus a bit before I found the location.

Apparently the Fine Woodworking program at Red Rocks is very well known. It was one of the few I’d seen nationwide that offered regular programs. However the instructor polled people since he regularly gets people driving from Wyoming, down South, even out west near Glenwood Springs for classes.

There’s a nice shop and I’ll get some pictures next time I go. It’s large and there were actually two classes in there at the same time. A turning class and my intro to woodworking. However noise wasn’t an issue last night since things are spread out.

Our class project is to build a small and table. The sample he showed was nice, tapered legs, beveled top, held together with mortise and tenon joinery. However we’re not using power tools, but hand tools. Slightly disappointing to me as I wanted to help get some skill with other items, but not too bad. It will be good practice since I’ve not really built anything that didn’t require glue or screws and this won’t. Pinned dowels to hold the tenons in there.

It doesn’t sound like a lot, but I’m sure it will be. We have roughly eight weeks to learn how to flatten a board with a hand plane (our first project), then sharpen tools, then build mortise and tenons, and finally the table. It’s an interesting class, and while I don’t worry too much about the grade, I do want to do well and go on to other classes.

Last night we learned about planes, took one apart, learned how it works and then started seeing how to sharpen the iron. It was mostly listening and watching, which made for a long night on hard shop stools. By the end, I was exhausted and I’ll certainly keep that in mind for the future. I might need to stick with classes that are one night a week if I continue.

Still, it’s exciting, and somewhat amazing to see how flat and smooth the instructor got a piece of wood with a plane. No power tools, no sandpaper. Hoping I learn how to do that.

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