We have been building benches again. This time for the retiring faculty members of which I am one of course. I have been building the retiring teachers retirement gift now for several years so I got to do it on my own year as well. There are 5 of us retiring and setting out on our own to pursue everything from nothing to a new career. This is the first time however that I have had to build more than one. Whew, got em all done this afternoon.
My 8th and 9th grade students have done a lot of the work. I could have got them done with a few less mistakes without their help but they wouldn't mean as much to their reciepients. Each bench is personalized with a center plate that gives the family name and the year the couple was married. On the end of each one is a plasma cutout that has something to do with each persons favorite things. I put a group of oak leaves on mine. The benches are made from 1 1/2" 11 guage square tubing, 1/8" sheet steel for the plasma cutouts and 5/4 treated deck lumber. We used 1 1/4" drill screws to assemble the wood onto the steel. The steel frame was mig welded and then ground down smooth. They are painted with Nason enamel paint with an undercoater of Nason grey primer.
The kids learned a lot about cutting metal, welding with a mig welder, grinding, use of the plasma torch and making the wood parts. I let them do as much as I thought they could get along with. Lots and lots of too deep grinding marks and some really poor welds but at least they will hold. No telling how much wood was wasted cutting the parts just a bit too short. But then I guess that's what education is all about. I'm gonna miss the little devils but I gotta go on my way, I owe it to myself and my wife, besides they've already replaced me