Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tech Tip Tuesday



Here's a conversation overheard at work recently:

"Why did you go to the Dark Side?"

"They had cookies!"

One of our experienced assembly technicians had trained a new intern in one particular assembly technique that the technician had used with good success. However, the intern had learned another way from another technician that he found easier.

The same is very true of boat-building. I may show one or two methods of doing something, but that doesn't mean that it is the only way to do it. If another method works for you and is safe and efficient, I say - do it. I often find as a teacher that I am customizing what I teach at the individual level to accommodate the students tools, experience and ability. Fortunately, my classes are very small, so I have the luxury of doing this.

One important thing that I have learned is that people learn by very different methods. When teaching a new step in the strip-canoe building process, I talk about what we're going to be doing and follow that up with what is important to how it relates to the next step. Then, as I'm demonstrating, I try to explain it again. When the student is finally doing the work themselves, I try to offer tips and tricks that work well for them. If I find this isn't working, I propose another method or research other ways to do the same task for them.

As I hear at home, "To each cat his own rat."

8 comments:

jbchicoine said...

Okay, did you set up and photograph Darth & the Cookie, or did you find that on a Google Image Search?

Nice post, by the way--you sound like an effective instructor...

Canoez said...

No, Darth and the cookie came from an image search.

:-D

Lord Vader doesn't live here.

I'd like to think I am an effective instructor - my students seem to get good results and are actually among my best "salespeople" when we hold our open house at the school where I teach. I think that as a teacher, I learn as much from my students as they do from me - not all of the lessons are boat-related, either, some are very good life lessons.

One of the marvelous things about my class is that it is a small group of committed people who spend a lot of time together. I find that some of the students start spending time together outside of the classroom as well. I like that.

Cat said...

I may show one or two methods of doing something, but that doesn't mean that it is the only way to do it. If another method works for you and is safe and efficient, I say - do it.

When I decided I was going to build a canoe, I went and got a book about it. Then I decided I needed more points of view and got two other books about it (you know you're a nerd when...). My favorite book is like this--the author goes over the technique she chose for the demonstration boat step by step with pictures, then covers other techniques she's tried (with some pictures from previous boats) and mentions techniques favored by other authors which she hasn't personally tried, and tells the reader where to find more information.

I really liked this balanced approach.

Canoez said...

Cat - that would be the book by Susan VanLeuven on strip construction. She basically sums up stuff from Ted Moores, Gil Gilpatrick, Mac McCarthy, and David Hazen. The book is like a fudge brownie - dense and delicious, but a bit overwhelming.

Randy Folsome has a book I didn't find very good and Nick Schade has a new book on strip construction out as well. I should have bought it from him when I saw him at the WoodenBoat show. Gil has an updated version of his book coming out soon as well.

More than one way to skin a cat...

Cat said...

More than one way to skin a cat

Err...so to speak :-)

Yep--I couldn't remember her name, but that's the book. Plus I got Gil's book and _Canoecraft_ (which I'd actually read several years before, when I had no place to build a boat and no tools to speak of)

_Canoecraft_ was intimidating, Gil's book was reassuring because if a bunch of high school boys could throw a canoe together then by gum I could do it too, but I liked Susan's the best. A sort of "it can be as complicated as you're comfortable with" approach.

Canoez said...

Canoecraft is one of the better ones - I think it is probably that Ted is so good at what he does that makes it intimidating.

Another book that would make you feel good is David Hazen's book. It is one of the originals - pre-dating Ted Moores book. Some of the material feels dated (and some is - particularly about polyester resins...) but Hazen makes it feel approachable.

No substitute for getting your hands dirty and building, 'tho.

(Wondered if the cat comment would get ya!)

Cat said...

(Wondered if the cat comment would get ya!)

Do not meddle in the affairs of cats for they are subtle and sneaky in the ways of--OH my GOD what IS this in my SHOE?!?

In other news, I think I may have found some pitch pockets while sanding the white pine. I will try to take some pictures in the next couple of days and put a link to them here, if that's okay; they are small and subtle, and I would appreciate your informed opinion about whether they're something to worry about.

Canoez said...

"Do not meddle in the affairs of cats for they are subtle and sneaky in the ways of--OH my GOD what IS this in my SHOE?!?"

:-D

On my profile is an email link. If you email me the pics I could put them up here and we could discuss. Personally, I don't like pitch pockets as they can "flow" when the hull gets warm and you have to worry about delamination of fiberglass and epoxy in that area. That's one of the reasons that cedar, redwood and the like are preferred hull materials - they're light weight and don't have that issue.