Wisconsin's Fox Valley Technical College woodworking lab opened its doors to potential careerists from Horicon High School's woodshop and other area schools. Mark Lorge, FVTC Instructor in Wood Manufacturing Technology, explains.

For our open house, we invite every high school within 120 mile radius of Oshkosh. We ask for groups of 25 or less and we schedule these groups to enter the lab at 20 minute intervals.

Once the group has been through a brief introduction, they are taken to a work area and our students will describe a machine or process to the high school students. Then, our students will pick a “volunteer” to set, start, or feed the machine.

Once the group is completed with that area, they move on to the next area. This year, each group went through a block laminating exercise that included ripping on our Weinig gang-rip saw, machining the pieces on our Weinig 4-sided surfacing, and cutting the pieces on our Razorgage up-cut sawing.

They then applied adhesive and clamped the block laminate in our JLT clamp rack. The group then took a previously glued block to our 20” SCMI jointer to joint one face. The material was then surfaced in our Martin surfacer and then resawn on our Northfield bandsaw.

The individual pieces were surfaced again in our Martin surfacer and then sanded with our Extrema wide belt sander. The sanded parts were machined on our Komo cnc router which bored and counterbored holes for tee-nuts, sized the board, and put a bullnosed edge around the perimeter.

The sanded and machined board was then hand sanded using our Ekasand random orbit sanders and then moved into the finishing room for lacquer to be applied using our Kremlin spray system. We also demonstrated our Weinig molder. 

Each group was in our lab for around 90 minutes and they left with 3 completed multi-wood clipboards and a piece of molding. This was the 26th time we have had this open house since 1988 and we estimate that at least 10,000 high school students have participated at Fox Valley Technical College Wood Lab.

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