Tales from the rookies of Woodshop club


Hannan Waliullah

Woodshop 1
Sophomore Tiffany Tang’s completed project, a wooden pen.

When someone walk into the woodshop room during a Thursday lunch, they see and hear two types of buzzing. The first type of buzzing comes from the instruments, which chip away at the pieces of wood to make them something more. Each tool with a unique buzz: the drill is shrill, the band saw is powerful, the lathe is soothing.

The second type of buzzing, however, is from the club members excitedly using the tools to craft their first project: a pen. Like the tools; they’re all unique: some are new, others are veterans. Some are further along, while others make rookie mistakes. However, they’re all working towards something — they’re all buzzing from the mistakes they made, from all the progress they’ve achieved.

This is the buzz of woodshop club.

Sticky rubber gloves

Wearing white rubber gloves, junior Sanjana Kothuri drips super glue inside the wooden block, coats the metal tube, quickly slides the tube inside the block, and then thud! She smashes it onto the table.

“I don’t know why I need to use gloves with this,” Kothuri said.

She soon learned the reason: even being cautious, she got glue onto her gloves. She somehow also manages to get glue onto her hands. Kothuri was not able to finish her pen, yet she reflects on the experience of her first time working with wood.

“It was my first time working with wood,” Kothuri said. “It was actually pretty fun. I got some wood on me earlier which might be annoying but it was fun overall.”

Third time’s a charm

A sigh echoes through the woodshop room, signalling someone’s frustration over their mistake. Its source: junior Himanshu Chaudhary, who had failed his second attempt at making a pen.

Woodshop 2
Junior Himanshu Chaudhary’s first and second attempts at making a pen.

“I’m so frustrated! Do you not see this?,” Chaudhary said. “My cruel, cruel pen broke again.”

Although this was Chaudhary’s third woodshop club meeting, he was unable to complete his pen. In his first attempt, the wood had split in half, beginner’s mistake. The second time, the wood had chipped off, exposing the barren metal tube underneath. However, Chaudhary is not going to give up. Hopefully, third time’s a charm.

Race against the Clock

Throughout the 45 minute lunch period, junior Vishal Swaminathan works diligently. He wanted to finish his pen during lunch. He manages to shave his pen down to the desired shape, a small slender tube. He was then able to sand the pen, starting with the rough, 100-grit sandpaper, working down to the finer sand paper. Finally, he waxed his pen, allowing for a slick, shiny coat. He was ready to assemble his pen.

With the guidance of junior and president Dara Woo, he started to assemble the pen using the pen kit. He had almost reached his goal. However, then woodshop advisor Ted Shinta said the expected words: clean up. Swaminathan could not finish his pen.

“I almost finished my pen, I ran out time and I didn’t get to finish it,” he said. “Hopefully, I’ll finish it during the next meeting.”

Onto new endeavors

Sophomore Tiffany Tang and vice President Jamsheed Mistry surround the wood clamp. Since Tang had finished waxing her pen, Mistry guides Tang into assembling the pieces of the pen. However, the pen pieces were not able to fit together.

Tang was excited for her next project: a skateboard.But she could not begin her next project without finishing her current one.

“I looked in the store, and I saw that skateboard costed a lot of money,” Tang said. “So I decided to make one, because it seems cheaper, and I won’t have to spend money.”

The pieces somehow were able to fit together and Mistry and Tang were able to assemble the pen. After putting the pen it in a decadent transparent box, Tang traded her finished pen for another piece of wood. This time, however, the piece of wood was larger. It was clearly not for a pen.