BONNERS FERRY — In their final year of cabinetmaking, the seniors at Bonners Ferry High School put the advanced carpentry and cabinetmaking skills they learned to good use.
From September to February, the students worked on the Queen Anne table project. In this project, the students applied several advanced woodworking techniques through the application of the project and the construction of tables.
First, students constructed the frame of the table using multiple mortise and tenon joints. This complex joint construction step takes several weeks. Students learned to trace and cut seams using a variety of tools. Tools include marking jigs, mortiser and table saw. After mastering this, they moved on to machining and shaping table legs
The students had to create a cabriole leg, a traditional piece of furniture in the Queen Anne style. Cabriole legs are traditionally curved, ending in a ball and a clawed foot. The BFHS students, however, chose to modernize their designs, making each leg unique to their individual projects.
“Because I allowed students the freedom to be creative in designing their legs, each style of leg is a unique reflection of each student’s personality,” said cabinetmaking and carpentry teacher Francis Carlson.
Depending on the complexity of their design, some students took over a month to complete their table legs. Some students like Connor Alexander and Brady Falck chose to cut slim leg models while others, like Kaden Brewer, chose to cut tall, blocky models, Carlson said.
After the legs, the students moved on to veneer, the art of applying a unique decorative layer of wood to a project. Students learned how to manipulate grain to create patterns and how to use veneers for inlays to make their tables stand out.
Veneer is an advanced carpentry skill that students can experience in the Woodworking and Carpentry 3 course. bright colors ranging from blue and green to orange and red.
Students also learn the advanced skill of marquetry inlay. Marquetry inlay is where veneers are cut using their color, texture, and grain to create an image. Almost every student has tried and applied this skill to their project. Marquetry was not a project requirement and required students to spend time outside of class working on this part of their project.
Seniors Connor Alexander, Ryan Carelli, Elisa Balcaen and Jackson Rickter have all chosen to work with dyed materials in their marquetry designs; while senior Wilson Newel chose natural woods and grains to complement his designs.
“This year is unique,” Carlson said. “Normally, students are interested in marquetry inlays, but only one or two want to spend more time applying it to their projects. This year, most of the students were excited about the process and spent hours cutting and placing the veneer by hand to create their images. »
From veneer to marquetry, the students perfected their drawer manufacturing techniques. The students had already built drawers the previous year on the wardrobe project. This allowed the students to practice interlocking and molding in drawer construction. To take their drawers to the next level, many students have chosen to use a lathe to turn their drawer knobs.
Wilson Newel attempted a bent lamination design for his drawer front. This required a series of bandsaw cuts and clamps to hold thin pieces of wood in place in a curved design. This was an independent lesson that he attempted a few times before completing the final design of his drawer front.
To complete the project, the students learned how to acid etch glass. This required the students to stick a design on the glass panels that cover the table tops. Some of the students who had completed marquetry wanted to choose an engraving pattern that would complement or become the focal point of the project.
Senior Kaden Brewer engraved a star design on his glass as a focal point in honor of his mother. “She loves the stars, so I think she’ll like it on my table,” Brewer said.
Once their glass was etched, the students installed the glass with a silicone moisture barrier to protect the plated surface under the glass.
Carlson said she would like to give special thanks to the team at Bonners Ferry Glass for working with the school in cutting the glass panels for the table tops.
“Their work and cooperation with us allows me to teach my students a more advanced skill in this class,” she added.
As the students have now completed the project, they have moved on to their final semester’s free project. To complete this project, students are given a set budget, common requirements, and advanced carpentry skills to incorporate into their project. They spend two to three weeks designing their projects, having in-depth construction discussions with the instructor, and gathering materials.
Every year, students look forward to this project. In the past, students have built gun cabinets, beds, desks, dressers, kitchen cabinets and more. This year is no different as students build entertainment centers, benches and book shelves to name a few.
Watch for updates and final images in June to see how these projects unfold.
“This has to be one of the most fun and creative groups of students I’ve had in all of my cabinetmaking classes this semester. The students are really excited about their projects and really enjoy the challenge of customizing each project at every level. I really enjoy every challenge the students take on in building their project, but also the enthusiasm we share about cabinetmaking and woodworking. I’m really excited to see what the semester brings,” Carlson said.