Friday, March 8th

Ok, for today, if you have not finished the work below (Careers in Construction) you should do so and email me the completed assignment.

If you have completed it, please continue some research for our doghouse project which we will be completing next. We will need to establish some dimensions for the house so we can design and build the doghouse.

Sketches, dimensions and pics/plans for houses online are what you should be collecting today.

Have a nice March break.

Careers in Construction


Review the “Types of Construction” and “Who Works in Construction” section below before starting this assignment.

Your task is to consider the 3 career paths skilled trades, technicians and technologists, and professionals and then go to the following web sites to locate one career from each field or area of expertise. Write, in your own words, a one or two paragraph description of each occupation. Include things such as what duties they perform, how they complete their training and what education they need before starting. Use proper sentence and paragraph structure. Be mindful of your grammar and spelling. You must cite which web site you used for each part of your report. When you have completed this task you should email the assignment to

Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities
Skills Canada
Careers in Construction

Types of Construction

In Ontario, the construction industry employs about 7% of the workers. As in the rest of the world, construction projects can be categorized into four different types. The four types of construction are light, commercial, industrial, and civil construction.

Light Construction is probably the one that we are most familiar with. Homes and other small buildings such as townhouses, offices, convenience stores, and small apartment buildings would be considered light construction. This type of construction is most often recognized by its use of dimensional lumber for framing.

Commercial Construction can best be described as the building of structures like office buildings, warehouses, schools, and apartment buildings, which meet the specific business needs of customers. These buildings require the use of much larger equipment to construct and more time to build. Many more people are involved in this type of construction as each building usually has unique characteristics and design requirements. In commercial construction you will most often see the involvement of architects and designers because of the uniqueness of the buildings and the opportunity for creativity.

Industrial Construction includes those structures that are used in industry such as oil refineries, power plants, lumber mills and other manufacturing facilities. It would not include, for example, an office building for a power plant. That office building would still qualify as commercial construction. The main reason for this type of construction is to serve an industrial purpose. In industrial construction, the most important consideration is a building’s function. Architects, designers, and especially engineers who have a knowledge of the industrial processes that will take place there, will be involved in the design of these projects.

Civil Construction is a type of construction that is closely linked with the needs of society and the public. Projects such as bridges, roadways, dams, and airports can be considered civil construction. If you look at the above examples you will see that this type of construction is closely related to the land and quite often involves transportation infrastructure. Architects and designers become involved with civil construction projects as again there is most often a special need for engineering expertise.

Who Works In Construction?

There is a wide variety of occupations in the construction industry. These occupations can be divided into four groups. You could either be working as an Unskilled Labourer, a Skilled Trade, a Technician or Technologist, or as a Professional.

Unskilled Labour

If you have ever walked or driven by a construction project, you will have noticed that construction involves a lot of workers. The frontline group of workers in construction is often referred to as unskilled labour. This name can be deceiving because it might give you the impression that people without any skills whatsoever work on construction projects. Construction labourers, through experience are usually highly skilled. They often work with and help specific trades such as carpenters or bricklayers. Their work can be demanding and strenuous so they must be in excellent physical condition. They are considered “unskilled” because they don’t possess the same skills as the trade workers they assist and they have not gone through an apprenticeship training program.

Skilled Trades

A trade is a career or occupation that usually involves working with tools, materials, and machinery. This type of career requires a high skill level which is usually attained through serving an apprenticeship.

Apprenticeship is hands-on training for people who enjoy learning by doing. Apprenticeship training is done under the supervision of a Journeyperson and it provides access to well-paying jobs that demand a high level of skills, judgement and creativity. Apprentices are paid while gaining work experience, and their wages increase with their level of skills.

About 90 per cent of apprenticeship training is provided in the workplace by employers or sponsors who provide training to standards of skill and safety set by industry. The remainder involves classroom instruction on theory, which is usually given at a local community college or provided by another approved training organization.

The construction industry provides some of the highest paying skilled trades jobs. Occupations such as electrician, carpenter, HVAC technician, bricklayer, tile setter, cabinet maker, ironworker and plumber are some of the skilled trades involved in construction. Sometimes though, work in the construction trades is seasonal and dependent on the weather. Generally speaking, plenty of work is available for those interested in a career in construction.

Technicians and Technologists

Technicians and technologists most often can be found working in an office and their work usually involves drafting, estimating time and materials, surveying, architecture, construction methods, or management. They are the link between the professions and the trades. Their work is very similar to that of a professional in that they both use mathematics, knowledge of construction principles, and computer skills to solve construction problems.

Technicians usually get their training at community colleges and they end up being hired to work with architects, government inspection agencies, construction companies or engineering firms. A technician’s starting wage may be similar to that of a skilled tradesperson but on an hourly basis it may in fact be lower. The technician has the advantage or opportunity for more regular work and advancement opportunities.


Engineers, land-use planners, architects, and the city building department officials are all involved in the start-up of construction projects. Architects are concerned with the needs of the customers and those who will be using the building, and it is their job to design structures to meet those needs. The architect usually acts as the liaison between the contractor and the building’s owner throughout the project.

Engineers specialize in structural, mechanical, electrical and civil engineering. Architects often require an engineer’s stamp of approval when unique structural modifications to a design are made.

Construction professionals require at least four years of university education to become certified in their field.

Tuesday, February 26th: Tips for Successful Gluing

All of our wood projects so far have included the use of adhesives, and specifically wood glue to hold the parts together.

This article contains some good tips for effective gluing on your wood projects. Read the article and then answer the following questions:

1. Why is it important to dry fit project parts?

2. How can you “customize” a glue brush in order to get more control of glue application?

3. What tools can be used to help clean squeeze-out?

4. Why would you want to place blocks in between clamps and your project?

5. Why would you run strips of masking tape along a clamp?

6. What is a sign that a wood joint is too tight?

7. Glue bottle applicators often become clogged with use – what is a good way to clean them out?

8. How could you test the strength of your glue?

9. What are some of the steps you should take before beginning a gluing assembly? What should be done with your clamps?


Friday, February 22nd – Surfacing and Lumber Defects

Surfacing Rough Lumber/Identifying Lumber Defects

The first step in our folding stool building project will be to surface rough lumber for our use.

We have already started by cross-cutting 10′ boards to shorter lengths for ease of jointing and planing.

Take some time today to read the information at the links below and then answer the following questions. Please email your responses to me at

1. Jointing and Planing Rough Lumber: This is a detailed overview of the process of finishing rough lumber. We will follow a similar process when we begin finishing our lumber.

a. What are some advantages of working with rough lumber?

b. What are the disadvantages of working with rough lumber?

c. What machines are required to surface rough lumber?

d. Briefly describe the 8 steps of surfacing rough lumber outlined in the article.

2. Identifying Wood Defects: Read this article about common wood defects and answer the following:

a. Some people say that “Lumber just isn’t as good as it used to be”. Why is that?

b. What are the potential problems in using “heavy” lumber?

c. What is cupped lumber? What is problematic about using it?

d. What is warping? How do you check for warping in lumber?

e. What are wanes? What causes wane?

f. What are knots? Why are large knots a problem?

Friday, February 15th

The environmental impact of forestry is seen all around the world. From rainforests in Brazil to our own deciduous forest here in Northwestern Ontario the harvesting of wood must be carefully managed in order to ensure sustainability for future generations.

The Ontario Wood initiative was started to increase awareness of locally produced sustainable wood. Check out the Ontario Wood website here and answer the following questions. Email them to me at or write/print them out and hand them in.

Read the “Forest Industry” page.

1. What are the major sectors of the Ontario forest market?

2. What was the value of wood product manufacturing in 2009? What was the value of furniture/cabinet making?

3. What type of products are produced by the secondary or “value-added” industry?

4. How many total direct and indirect jobs are created by the forest industry in Ontario?

Read the “Forests” page:

5. What is the area of Ontario forests? What percentage of Canada’s forests are contained in Ontario?

6. What are the two types of trees that make up Ontario’s forests?

7. What are the common uses of softwoods? What are some uses of hardwoods?

Read the “FAQ” page:

8. Who runs the “Ontario Wood” program? What does this program do?

9. How do consumers benefit from the Ontario Wood program?

10. How does the wood and wood product industry benefit?

After Catapult project is completed we will be making a variation of this folding stool.More precision cutting, measuring and drilling will need to be done for this project. We will start next week by determining how much material we need and then jointing/planing/ripping it to size. Try to see if you can find plans online for this stool – how much material do we need per stool?

Wood Finishing Basics

Many of you have reached the point of adding a finish to your projects. Below there is an article for you to read and some questions to answer on the topic. Hand in the answers or email them to me.

Please ensure that you have also completed the previous assignments posted earlier.

Read the following article about wood finishing and answer the questions below:

1. What are three important aspects to a work area when finishing wood?

2. What are some of the items frequently used in wood finishing? Have you used any of the items listed?

3. What are a few of the different applicators that can be used with stain?

4. Why is it important to use a good quality brush?

5. What are some attributes of a quality brush?

6. What is one of the most important steps in wood finishing?

7. What sandpaper grit (grade) should you start with? What grade should you finish with?

8. How can you control the absorption of stain in end-grain wood?

9. What four factors determine the final colour of a stain?

10. Describe the traditional “two step” finishing process.

11. How can you prevent your project from swelling and warping due to temperature change?

12. What should be done with leftover product?

Are you done? Everything? Really?

If you have completed all of the above, you can:

1. Check out the catapult at this link:

Try to estimate the size of this toy. How big would each piece be? How many parts are needed? How do you think this project would be built?

Upcoming Construction Project Research


This doghouse is a little bit over the top for our purposes.

As one of our construction projects we are going to build doghouses.

We will develop a single plan and then in small groups we will construct ten or so of the houses we design.

I am hoping that we will be able to use as much existing material as we can (material that we have in the wood stock room) as well as some insulation, shingles and paint that we have left over.

Our goal will be to create doghouses that will be marketable – we will sell them to dog owners who need houses!

Spend today doing some online research for doghouse plans and requirements. What size should our doghouse be? What is the “average” size dog and how much space do they need? How much material will be required? What shape/design is best for our cold climate?

Gather images, plans and data that you will need to create a plan with. Google is your resource here – use search terms such as “dog house plans”, “dog house sizes”, “building a dog house”

Some things to keep in mind:

Economical use of material – the cheaper we can make these things, the easier they will be to sell.

Simple to build – not overly complex

Universal appeal – will meet the needs of the most possible people.

Eventually as a class we will compile all of our preliminary planning to create a single plan that we will then build.

Friday, January 31st Safety Work

Read the information found in the following links and answer the questions below. You can email your answers to me at or write/print them out and hand them in.

Bandsaw Safety
Drill Press Safety
Belt/Disc Sander Safety

Band Saw:

1. The area to the right of the band saw can be dangerous when the band saw is in operation because:

A. a shadow will be cast on the operator’s work.

B. if the saw blade breaks, it can whip into this area.

C. sawdust may fly into the operator’s work.

D. this area is to be kept clear for other students to pass by.

2. If while inspecting the band saw blade you find it to be cracked, the safest thing to do is:

A. notify all the students in the class.

B. notify the shop foreman or manager.

C. unplug the saw and notify the teacher.

D. hang an “Out of Order sign on the machine.

3. When you have to back out of a long cut on the band saw, you should:

A. continue to saw forward.

B. try to turn the wood on the table.

C. carefully back the wood away while the blade is moving.

D. stop the machine, then back out of the cut.

4. What is the first thing you do before beginning to use the band saw?

A. Put on your safety glasses.

B. Check the blade for cuts and cracks.

C. Clean off the band saw table.

D. Make all necessary adjustments.

5. Wider blades require:

A. less relief cuts when cutting small radius curves.

B. more relief cut when cutting small radius curves.

C. less maintenance than slimmer blades.

D. more maintenance than slimmer blades.

6. You should make all adjustments on the band saw:

A. only when the machine is at a complete stop.

B. more than ½ inch above the wood.

C. while the machine is coasting.

D. only when the power is on.

7. When operating the band saw, you should:

A. keep well balanced and stand carefully.

B. keep fingers out of the blade path.

C. shut off the machine when backing out of cuts.

D. all of the above.

8. You should plan your cuts on the band saw so that:

A. small curves can be easily cut with wide blades.

B. there will be little scrap left on the table.

C. back-outs can be made after each ½ inch of forward feed.

D. there will be a maximum of forward feed with a minimum of backing out.

9. If a band saw blade breaks or comes off, you should:

A. call another student to shut off power.

B. step away immediately, shut off power, without endangering yourself, and tell the teacher.

C. continue cutting until the blade comes to a stop.

D. back your project away from the blade immediately to avoid damage to your project.

10. It is best to set the upper guide of the band saw:

A. tight against the stock.

B. when the power is off and the machine is coasting.

C. ¼ inch or less above the wood being cut.

D. ½ inch or less above the wood being cut.

11. You should check all wood for:

A. knots.

B. cracks.

C. foreign objects.

D. all of the above.

12. Dowels or other round stock should not be cut on the band saw unless:

A. it is held freehand.

B. it is held against a miter gauge.

C. it is held by the right hand only.

D. it is held by an approved holding device.

13. When using the band saw, it is important to remember to:

A. feed material at a moderate rate of speed.

B. keep fingers in the path of the blade.

C. hold the stock off the table.

D. cut round stock whenever possible.

14. When handling long pieces of wood:

A. do the cutting by yourself.

B. stand closer to the saw.

C. get help and do the pushing yourself.

D. don’t cut long stock on the band saw.

Drill Press:

1. When the drill begins to break through the work, you should:

A. ease up on the feed pressure.

B. maintain the same feed pressure.

C. stop the drill press immediately.

D. apply more feed pressure.

2. If work is caught by the drill and starts to revolve, you should:

A. stop the machine immediately.

B. exert more feed pressure.

C. decrease the feed pressure.

D. grab the work with your hands.

3. Before operating the drill press you should:

A. remove watches.

B. remove rings.

C. roll up long sleeves.

D. all of the above.

4. Which of the following is a drill press safety rule?

A. Increase the feed pressure when you break through the under-side of the work.

B. Stand very close to the drill press.

C. Never try to stop a revolving piece of work that is caught in the drill.

D. All of the above.

5. Which of the following is a statement of safe practice:

A. the smaller the hole the slower the feed pressure.

B. the larger the hole the faster the speed.

C. the smaller the hole the slower the speed.

D. the larger the hole the slower the speed.

6. The first thing you do before using the drill press is:

A. remove the chuck key.

B. put on your safety glasses.

C. insert the chuck end of the drill bit.

D. clean off the table.

7. The safest way to remove chips from the drill press table is with:

A. A tilt of the table 45° to the left.

B. a brush.

C. a long ruler.

D. your hands.

8. By removing the chuck key from the chuck before turning on the power, you will prevent the:

A. chuck from being damaged.

B. chuck from becoming unbalanced.

C. chuck key from being thrown out at a high rate of speed.

D. drill from breaking.

9. Touching the rotating chuck or drill with hands is:

A. permissible if the instructor is watching.

B. safe if a rag is used to protect the hands.

C. done to slow down the rotating chuck.

D. never permissible and very dangerous.

Belt/Disc Sander:

1. When using the disc sander, you should:

A. hold down the work firmly.

B. sand on the downward side of the disc.

C. avoid awkward hand positions.

D. All of the above.

2. When using the belt sander, be sure that you:

A. always use the backstop.

B. sand small pieces whenever possible .

C. never support the work.

D. wear gloves to protect your hands.

3. When using the sander, you should always:

A. sand small pieces.

B. leave the machine on for the next person.

C. use the upward side of the sanding disc.

D. avoid awkward hand positions and hold down work firmly.

4. What is the first thing you do before using the sander?

A. Make sure the saw is plugged in.

B. Make sure the belt is not torn or loose.

C. Put on your safety glasses.

D. Set up the sander for use.

5. Which of the following is correct when using the sander?

A. Hold down the work firmly.

B. Use the backstop when using the belt sander.

C. Always use the table when using the sanding disc.

D. All of the above.

6. Never leave the work area after sanding until:

A. the machine has come to a complete stop.

B. the sander and work area are clean.

C. neither of these things should be done when you leave the area.

D. both A and B are correct.

7. Which of the following is true regarding the use of the sander?

A. Awkward hand positions are appropriate if you are careful.

B. Sand on the downward side of the disc.

C. Sand on the upward side of the disc.

D. Never use the table when sanding.

8. Work should always be supported on the backstop or table except when:

A. you are sanding very small pieces.

B. you are sanding curved pieces on the outer drum.

C. you are sanding large pieces.

D. you are always to use the backstop or table.

9. If the sanding disc or belt is torn or loose, you should:

A. use the sander, but be very careful.

B. unplug the sander and notify the teacher.

C. move the backstop or table farther to the disc or belt.

D. move the backstop or table closer to the disc and belt.

10. When using the sander, make sure the table or backstop is:

A. as wide as the piece that you are sanding.

B. against the belt or disc.

C. 1/16 inch or more from the belt or disc.

D. 1/16 inch or less from the belt or disc.

Wood Project Reflection:

You have had a chance to work with some shop tools and materials so far when working on your bandsaw box.

1. What do you feel has been the most challenging part of the project so far?

2. Is there anything that you would do differently if you were to start your project again?

3. Do you anticipate having any problems in completing your project?

4. I would like you to find a YouTube safety video for each of the tools listed above (bandsaw, drill press, disc/belt sander). The videos should be short (5 minutes or less if possible) and contain as much of the safety information listed above as possible. Ideally the video will have clear video and audio. Include links to your video with the rest of the answers above.

Finish all of that? Try your hand at the “eyeball game“. This is a simple game that tests your ability to estimate angles and lengths – a handy skill to have when working in the shop.

Have a nice weekend, see you on Tuesday.