schools Archives - West Wind Hardwood
On Paying it Forward

On Paying it Forward

North Island College (NIC) – Furniture Design and Joinery

One of West Wind Hardwood’s mandates is to “Foster appreciation of fine woodworking skills, from novice to master craftsman.” 

And one of our goals is to share knowledge.  “We offer a combined 200+ years of custom woodworking, boat building and appreciation of wood. Our accumulated knowledge is invaluable and should be shared, with our customers AND our employees.  Danny Schaftlein, Milling Manager completed his Joinery Apprenticeship in November 2014. Joel, Tyler, Jordan and Dustin have since followed in his footsteps!”

We take pride in our passion for wood.  And as such, we are always happy when schools – of any level – reach out to us for support.

Beyond offering his skills to NIC, Nigel Atkin is an intuitive carver.  I suggest you visit his Instagram here.  Check out his bevy of otters ?

Additionally, check out NIC’s site to better understand what the college offers.

The following is submitted by Nigel Atkin, a carver and substitute instructor at North Island College in Port Alberni. We are grateful for his support of West Wind Hardwood and his willingness to share his knowledge with all with an interest and appreciation of wood.

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BC Technology Education Association – Conference 2015

BC Technology Education Association – Conference 2015

Lars attended the BCTEA Annual Conference on Friday, October 23. Usually the conference circulates around the province giving long-distance schools an opportunity to attend with minimal traveling expenses but this year it was held in Vancouver, BC at Gladstone Secondary once again. Lars told me that he has finally reached that ripe age where most professionals are looking younger than him but rather than feeling ‘old’ he was gratified to see so many teachers; both young and young-at-heart in attendance.

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Tony Grove Woodworking School


“When a person reaches that time in their life when they possess a rich storehouse of experience and skills in a particular sphere, I believe they are almost duty-bound to pass on that knowledge for the benefit of future generations.” – Tony Grove

Master shipbuilder Tony Grove (see Dorothy Sails article above) will be spreading his wealth of knowledge to other promising woodworkers and shipwrights in his new school on Gabriola Island.

Designed for novices as well as advanced, courses will focus on woodworking skills and techniques for the marine environment with a few non-marine programs mixed in. All skills learned will be transferable to general woodworking.

He is now accepting students and course suggestions for next summer. Visit the school’s website at

Thanks to Tony Grove for use of his photos.

Wood Shop at Cedar Secondary

We asked Dave Fraser what wood shop class was like at his school Cedar Secondary, located just south of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. Here’s what he had to say:

“At Cedar we run a traditional woodworking program with a strong focus on wood turning and guitar building. Last year our community support workers Karen St Cyr and Brenda Stupich gave the class part of a $10.000.00 grant to help with at risk students,  giving them an opportunity to make something special.

After talking with the various classes it was decided to start making musical instruments, since then we have been building various things from acoustic and electric guitar to drums and cigar box guitars. Old Morris Tobacconists in Victoria donated 14 cigar boxes to the school; this has been a very popular project.

One of the local Cedar residence, Andy Lackey, has donated many truckloads of burls that have allow the students to make a wide range of bowls and lidded boxes on the wood lathes.

Unfortunately Cedar is closing at the end of the year and is being renovated to become a large elementary school.”

Sounds like they have some amazing community support! We wish Dave Fraser all the best come June. If you’d like to know more about the closure and what you can do to help visit

Woodworking in Schools: Canada VS Australia

Paul Fieldwick, teacher of Design and Technology at Halls Head Community College in Australia has given us an inside look at his curriculum and inspiring teaching style.

Here’s what he had to say about his student’s work:

Year 8 Wood and Materials Design

We are a typical government school in Western Australia catering for students from Years 8 – 12 (13 – 17 years old) when students join us we obviously start with the basics of measuring, marking out, hand skills, and of course safety. I tell the students that “machines do not have a conscious, they will not let go just because you are screaming in agony. They will keep spinning until part of you comes off” I usually follow this up with a couple of gory posters and stories of kids getting their hair caught in the drill press etc. My aim is to scare them so they do not get complacent.

Once the students have made a couple of simple projects, including using plastics, I then introduce the design skills of sketching in oblique and orthogonal (top view, front view, and side view). For their final project they are required to design and make a pencil holder using wood and plastic. Students are required to sketch and label their design, apply approximate dimensions, and complete a cutting list.


Year 9 Wood and Materials Design

One of the projects we do in Year 9 (14 years old) is mirrored or picture frames. Students are required to design their own frame and of course build it. One of the motto’s I tell the kids is “if you stuff it up, make a feature out of it”.


This one has a Jarrah inlay. Jarrah is a West Australian native timber, very hard and resistant to the elements. We use mostly recycled Jarrah for features as it is in short supply and expensive. Unfortunately from the late 1800s the white settlers (invaders) plundered the Jarrah forests of WA

A separated frame with clear acrylic rod to gives illusion that the inside and outside are not connected
A separated frame with clear acrylic rod to gives illusion that the inside and outside are not connected


And Finally… Year 10 Wood and Materials Design

A variety of projects for this year, anything from wooden toys to end tables. What awesome work these kids from “Down Under” do!