Hunter Kight4/19/2012Tillery Speech I can remember when I was little I wanted to build the perfect birdhouse. I wanted tomake it for my grandmother so that she could put it in her yard and attract all kinds of birds andwatch them nest. I got some wood together from my grandpa’s shop in the back yard andattempted to make this perfect bird house. When I finished I had a birdhouse with about 50 broadnails in the roof and a bottom that hardly stayed together. Hi, my name is Hunter Kight and I willbe telling you about my journey into making a porch swing. When I was little I was not great withwood by any means but, I liked to think I had what it took to become a master carpenter. When Igot the senior project I figured I would try my hand at wood again to see if I really did have theability to be that master carpenter I dreamed to be as a kid. I began to research carpentry and found that it is as much the tools at use as it is thecarpenter’s innovations that build great works. I found that throughout history tools such as thehammer and saw have come a long way and that because of this carpentry has become a loteasier and more precise. My research also helped me find that there are many different types ofcarpentry, from a trim carpenter to a ship carpenter. I would be working as a very basic finishcarpenter, by making a simple yet nice porch swing. I chose to do a porch swing because Iwanted to build something that would give me a challenge but was not overwhelming for my firstbig project into carpentry. I also thought I would enjoy the challenge of going into something I hadnot even thought about doing in years. My facilitator was Thomas Johnson and he was a huge influence on building my swing.T.J. has been working with wood for many years and has created everything from quilt holders toa baby carriage to spirit carvings. He became so involved in wood work and carpentry that hetransformed his barn into a woodshop. He lent me his entire woodshop and all the tools within it
to help me accomplish my project. Never letting me use the saws and planers alone, T.J. wasalways there with me to help me and guide me throughout my entire process. There is no doubtthat I would not have been able to create this project if it were not for his guiding. With that beingsaid I would say that he was a great influence on me and my skills throughout the process. My process was a long and difficult one that turned out to be a life changing experience.The first thing I had to do was buy the wood and that led to my first problem, the prices. Buying alot of wood is hard to do cheap, especially with the higher gas prices, because when a semi hasto spend more money getting the wood to the store the price of the wood goes up. What I decidedto do was buy the cheap low grade wood, of course, but finding a straight piece of wood that islow grade is nearly impossible. A friend and I spent nearly an hour in Lowes going through all thepieces of wood and laying them out on the floor to see how straight they were. Now I could notjust find wood at exact measurements like 1" x 4" because in reality that is about 3/4" x 3.5" so allthe wood we bought had to be a little bit over sized. Between that and the price of brass woodscrews my wallet was having a pretty sad day. Once I got all of the wood the building could begin. I started off by planing all of the wood down to the specific size, mostly 3/4" or 1/2",depending on which part of the swing it was on. I used a planing machine that had two rollers thatrolled the wood through at a slow speed while a rolling cutting blade took about 3/16" of an inchoff at a time. I had to take so little off each time because if I took to much off it would crack orbreak the wood. After planing all of the slats I had to rip them, which is to cut them long ways into1 1/2" wide strips. For that I used a machine that looks like a table saw except the saw is set intothe table with half of it poking above the table top, it also isnt able to move up and down like atable saw does. This machine has a metal holder that is the length of the table and parallel to thesaw, it moves left and right depending on how wide you want the pieces to be ripped. After thatpiece is set then there are two smaller pieces set on the other side which keep the wood in place.To rip a piece of wood one has to measure and get everything set to the desired length and thenpush the wood forward through the saw, keeping a safe distance for the fingers of course.
After everything had been cut to the specific thickness and length I cut the arm rests. Ihad to draw them which made the process pretty difficult. To cut the ends I had to find a circlethat was wide enough to trace and then I had to use smaller circles for the curves for the smallerpart of the arm rest that tapers off. I had to first use band saw to roughly cut the shape of what Ihad traced. I had to then use a table sander to sand down the actual lines that I traced whilebeing careful so that I keep it smooth and dont go over the lines. I then cut the back pieces in relatively the same manner. I printed out a scale model ofthe back pieces that I wanted to make so that I could trace it because there was no way I coulduse circles to create such a gradual curve. I then traced the outline onto the wood and once againroughly cut it with the band saw, and after I sanded it to the exact lines. After sanding them all Ihad to lay them down and make sure they were all the exact same because if they were a little offthen the back and seat would be uncomfortable and the slats wouldnt be flush. Once everything was done I had to put the swing together. I first started by putting theback pieces together. For that I had to drill holes in each piece that lined up so that I could put acarriage bolt through each piece to hold them together. Now this wasnt as easy as it sounds, Ihad to make sure that the back pieces were lined up with a slight angle backward. I also had tomake sure that each of the four individual back pieces was at the exact same angle so that theywere flush when I put the slats on. Once I drilled the two holes that were lined up with each otherall I had to do was slide the carriage bolts in and tighten them up. Next I put the bottom part of thearm rests together. For that all I had to do was align the four small pieces and make sure theywere square and then screw them together. Finally I had to screw the slats onto the swing. I did this by aligning the very bottom partfirst, partly because it was easiest and also because it was the safest so that I didnt screw up. Ithen got the amount of boards that were going to go on the seat portion of the swing and spaced
those out relatively close to how I wanted them and began to screw them in from bottom to top,making sure that I had the same size gap from left to right. I then flipped the swing and did theexact same thing for the back rest portion of the swing, making this part relatively simple. Lastly Iscrewed the arm rests onto the side of the swing with more carriage bolts and the swing wascomplete. I did, however, run into a few problems along the way that became pretty annoying.Problems I encountered were boards that broke when planning because there were knots in thewood and those knots weren’t as sturdy as the rest of the board, so they broke off easily. Anotherproblem was the planner was having difficulty grabbing the boards and cutting them right, partlybecause of the fact that the boards were warped. I also had a problem with my friend who washanding me the drill bit giving my the wrong size, so instead of cutting a 3/4 inch hole I cut a 1/2inch hole. Therefore I had to go and put bigger carriage bolts and cut a few other piecesoversized so that they fit together right. The last big problem I had was measuring wrong anddrilling holes for screws that were off, and then having the screws strip I was trying to screw themin. Throughout the experience I learned many important things while going through theprocess of building my swing, not only about carpentry but about myself. I found out that I can bea great problem solver when faced with something I haven’t seen before and figuring out what todo to make it work. I also discovered that I am good at learning new things quickly. While buildinga swing isn’t the hardest thing in the world, I would say that I picked up on the tools and knowhow’s of building throughout the experience. I also found out carpentry can be frustrating andtedious. When something doesn’t quiet fit together and it is only off by a fraction of an inch thatcan be very frustrating, yet through a little ingenuity everything worked out like it was suppose to.Lastly, I learned many things that will help me to do simple “do it yourself” jobs rather than havingto get a professional to do. While I did learn these great skills I have decided that I will not pursuecarpentry as anything other than a hobby. I found that, while I’m by no means an expert, it takes
to long to make one item and there are not enough profit margins to make a living off of it. InsteadI have decided to go into mechanical engineering at Georgia southern. Ive decided thatEngineering would be a very good job field to enter into and that it would be something I wouldenjoy.