Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Barn-building done for the winter

Student Kiera Shepherd tries a fairly advanced cut with a power saw, making a tenon joint.

I started to realize that although the title of this blog is purportedly "Sustainability Activities at Unity College," precious few student activities have been reported this semester.

There's two reasons for that. The first is that more and more other professors have been adding hands-on sustainability activities to classroom instruction and to co-curricular projects. Examples range from Nancy Ross's work with local hunger activism, to Aimee Phillippi's recent local foods class, to Doug Fox's efforts with the student weatherization teams. Some of these folks post articles on their own blogs or web pages, or there are many college news articles, but they haven't been making it onto these pages, an omission I'd like to begin to fix.

The other is that my own efforts at classroom integration of hands-on sustainability projects have been dominated this semester by the barn project, which has it's own blog right here. I've been spending durn near all my non-teaching time, 15-20 hours each week, with students building our own and other folk's barns, and the efforts have been recorded on that blog, not this. As a consequence, our usual work with wind turbines, solar panels, other hands-on stuff has gone by the wayside.

Working on our new barn has been fun for our class. We didn't get to finish it because we needed a permit from the Maine DEP. Instead we have it prefabricated in frame sections and bents, and stored in a shed for the winter. I'll most likely finish it next fall with a new class. But we helped build barns at MOFGA, the local Alpaca farm, and we remodeled the existing Unity College livestock facility to improve it's winter functioning, to make up for not finishing the new barn. We worked on four different buildings, with students seeing all the diferrent stages of basic construction.

Here's some good shots of students at work earlier this fall. Our project for the day was a bit of trial and error to see which sizes for mortise and tenons fit best to make a solid brace. In these shots we were working on perfecting the tenon.

Measure twice, cut once

Amber and the framing saw

Trey, Pat and myself work on a knotty problem in construction

No comments: