Impact Classes

A New Wood Shop Opens The Door For More Creative Opportunities

By Cathy Niland | 2.26.2021

Our Woodworking classes are some of our most varied and most popular. The department includes offerings in woodturning, woodworking, marquetry, hand carving—but doesn’t have the space to keep all the equipment in the shop when classes are running. So if you ever found yourself at The Crucible between sessions, you might have witnessed our studio staff moving six Woodturning lathes in and out of the Wood Shop.

Students and faculty have long dreamed of a bigger space to accommodate more classes and more room to work. “It was getting kind of crowded,” explained Woodworking Department Head, Eric Blanpied when asked to describe the studio. When our Bike Shop relocated last year, it opened up space for ARC Welding equipment to move, leaving the room next to the Wood Shop open for an expansion.

new wood shop

Director of Studio Operations and Facilities, Vanessa Zagaroli looks on as Studio Operations Technician, Paige Plander works to rewire the woodturning lathes.

Making Room For An All New Wood Shop

For the last few months, the Crucible’s studio staff have worked to transform the empty classroom into an expanded Woodworking studio with room for all the Woodturning equipment, plus additional working space. After removing the Welding infrastructure—including an estimated 3,000 pounds of metal—the studio team did a deep clean before installing a new ventilation system and upgrading old wiring. The woodturning lathes having a dedicated location will be a major time saver for staff and faculty. 

“Rewiring, sliding around the work tables, switching out tools, laying down mats for wires—there were all these parts that got activated for Woodturning,” said Director of Facilities and Studio operations, Vanesa Zagaroli. “It was really an event to shut down and set back up all in one day.”

Eric is especially thrilled about the upgrades to studio safety. “In the past, we had ducting that had gotten pretty convoluted and didn’t have efficient airflow,” he explained. “We weren’t able to use it for more than a few machines at a time. Some machines were even using external dust collectors which are bulky and not as practical. With those gone all of the machines now have a centralized dust collection system!”

Director of Programs, Alyssa Stone offered a different perspective. “Being able to have those two spaces running simultaneously will open us up to welcome our students into the classes they are requesting more and more. That expansion allows there to be a little less pressure on one single space.”

new wood shop

Woodworking I student Laura Vogler spends extra class time working on a mitered wooden box, February 23, 2021.

Students Are Already Seeing The Benefits Of A New Wood Shop, Mainly Efficiency

With more space, faculty don’t have to worry about students navigating around dangerous machinery and the improved ducting and wiring allows them to use multiple machines at once. Our most recent Woodworking I students left the class with more projects than anticipated thanks to the improved efficiency of the studio.

But it’s not just the Woodworking classes benefitting from the move. The new location of the ARC studio next to our Oxy-acetylene torch cutting stations has already made teaching easier and more efficient. “ARC and oxy-acetylene are almost always intertwined,” said Vanessa, “so this move enables the teacher to be in one place, not running between two studios.” 

This weekend, students in our Woodturning I class will be the first to use the lathes in their new, permanent location. The many facility upgrades done by our talented studio team have been the silver lining of our COVID-19 closure. We can’t wait to see the great work our community will create in these new and improved spaces.

Ready to get hands-on in our new Wood Shop?

Register for upcoming classes like Marquetry, Woodturning I, Fundamentals of Woodworking, and many more

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