As budget cuts make headlines, school boards and parents must continue to look for ways to offset dwindling resources and support popular programs that might be eliminated. Woodshop classes, where generations of students have learned a valuable skill, have been fighting for their place on the curriculum for years. Minwax, a manufacturer of stains and polyurethane, has been trying to help fill the funding gap.
In collaboration with American Woodworker magazine, the company has created the Woodworks Project Planner, a national school program that provides creative ideas and woodworking project plans free of charge to educators and students in woodworking programs across the United States.
The planner, which features both practical and inspiring woodworking ideas that are appropriate for beginner, intermediate and advanced students, provides detailed plans for each project. Minwax will send the Woodworks Project Planner to nearly 4,000 woodshop/industrial arts programs and educators across the country this year.
This year's planner features an easy-to-build skateboard rack, a desktop charging station for electronic devices, a classic Adirondack chair and a practical hideaway locker.
The company developed the program as a way to continue to pass on a useful and often marketable skill to the next generation. Additionally, Minwax also developed the Community Craftsman Award to recognize and encourage the many students and woodworking groups who improve their community by working with wood.
This article originally appeared in the January 2011 issue.