Monday, May 23, 2016

Bunch of Education Things

Haven't been posting too much about education things of late - just don't need to get myself all worked up. However, as always, there are a lot of good things happening that never get enough press. First up:

Book shelf built by my replacement at the high school and his talented scholars. Laminated wood rather than metal. I don't know the story behind it but it sure looks good.

Surly sent me a link to a fundraiser site for Worth Motorcycle Company. Worth is taking at risk kids and involving them in motorcycle restoration. Here's the money quote:

"The kids Worth works with really struggle in the classroom — which is okay. Everyone doesn't thrive in a classroom. What is not okay is refusing to provide alternative routes to success via, for example, vocational training. This is one of the things Worth looks to achieve with this sort of experiential training: facilitate a path to success for those who struggle within more traditional learning environments."

What a concept. Maybe it'll catch on and some day all schools will offer vocational training. Please understand my sarcasm is not directed to Worth Motorcycle Company. I've just heard it too many times to wonder why there is even a question of the value of vocational training in schools. Be that as it may, it sounds like they have a great program going there and could do even more if they get a little cash flowing their way. If you can help them out a bit, great. If not, check out the link anyway. It's good to know about these things.

Cycle World had their Hand Built issue recently and in it there was an article on Evan Wilcox. I came across some of his work when I was vintage racing. He does some really nice work. In the article he mentions Fuller Moto and the sheet metal book in the above photo. I'd never heard of Bryan Fuller before but he's got a pretty impressive resume. If I watched something on television besides old movies, I probably would have come across him. After checking out his web site, I ordered up the book. Service was fast - just a couple of days and it was here. Other than the chapter on welding, I've just thumbed through it but there's something for everyone here. 

I'm certainly not in his league but I disagree with his comments on gas welding. He basically says forget about it. I say, if you are a good gas welder you could build a whole bike or car without ever striking an arc. It might put some limitations on your design and the materials you would have to work with, but it used to be done all the time. In fact, the article about Evan Wilcox has a photo of him gas welding. Also, I think learning to gas weld first makes it easier for rookies to learn to recognize the puddle and understand the dynamics of fusion welding. Admittedly, I'm nit-picking a bit here. It's his book but it's my blog.

He also talks about quenching metal after welding. He mentions only two things he can think off when it would be acceptable to quench metal. I'll toss in a third one. Say you have a frame made out of square tubing and you want to tack legs on to it. Knowing the tack weld will shrink when it cools, you normally lean it out of square a bit so it will pull in where you want it when it cools. If it doesn't look like it's going to pull in enough, quench the tack, it will shrink more and walk right into place. No extra charge for that one.

If you're into building hot rods/customs/bikes, or just damn near anything out of thin metal, this book should be in your library.

The latest issue of Practical Welding Today has an article on their 2016 Teacher of the Year, Elaine Waters. Ms. Waters is the Senior Welding Instructor at Georgia Trade School located in Kennesaw, Georgia. It's a real good article addressing not only the reasons Ms. Waters received the well deserved Teacher of the Year award, but also a bit about the school and the job it's doing to "provide alternative routes to success" as mentioned above. Congratulations to Ms. Waters. Also, Practical Welding Today is  free. It comes out every couple of months and I always get something worthwhile out of it. Might want to consider a subscription.

So there you go. There are good things going on. While the number of schools with Voc Ed programs in public education has dropped off, there are still a few remaining and they're doing good things. There are other venues such as Worth Motorcycle Company that are picking up some of the slack, there are private trade schools that are offering first class training at the post secondary level and there are some really good books to further your education.

I'll leave you with this: When I was at the Abbey of Gethsemane, I saw a plaque with this quote from Michelangelo at the age of 87: "I'm Still Learning". 


Surly said...

I have a copy of that book with a different cover. I'll have to compare mine with yours. Thanks for the review.

Frankie Flood said...

on the topic of education...: