Construction School: The Week in Pictures

This week in the Building Construction Technology class at Tennessee College for Applied Technology in Nashville, we were building a pair of French doors between the shop and classroom; repairing woodworking machinery; replacing cabinetry in the dental technology lab; and designing a “tiny office”—complete with plumbing, HVAC and electrical—which we plan to build and sell. Here’s what it all looks like:

If you thought the blades of the power saws were intimidating, you should see the schematics from their user manuals.

Classmate Maher continues to inspire us with his furniture designs, including this coffee table made with scraps from our barn door project.

An early-morning trip to the orthodontist with a child landed me at school in the wrong shoes. Instead of my work boots, I was still wearing yellow clogs inspired by Gustav Klimt’s painting “The Woman in Gold.” The juxtaposition of my gaudy shoes and the beige-on-beige palette of so much lumber made me realize how much I crave color and how little of it there is in a workshop.

 Well, except for this harvest gold dust filtration system. Speaking of which, we learned about MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) ratings. The higher the number, the tinier the particles an air filter can capture. On a related note, I have noticed that when the class gets unruly, the instructor turns on the roaring harvest gold Dustalufagus—kind of like how I crank NPR in the car with my kids.

The planters at my front door finally rotted out. I can replace them for a staggering $60 each, or I can make my own, using scrap wood and a lot of help from my classmates. Look at all those 45-degree angles cut on the compound miter saw! Behold the stunning right angles of the OSB rescued from the Dumpster! Not one of those nails shot from a pneumatic brad gun penetrated my flesh! Is it not the most beautiful garden accessory you have ever seen? On second thought, how can anyone sell these things for just $60? It took me four days to make. I climbed in a Dumpster. This planter belongs in a safe-deposit box.

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