Propel is coming to a close much sooner than many of us realize, and the upcoming winter break is a big wake-up call for a lot of us.
As we approach the big break, I've been working hard to make as much progress in my project as I can. This past week I have continued to email back and forth with Mr. Bell, the music coordinator, about me working in a school with a class. I told you last week about being denied because of the concern with the cigar boxes. But I spoke with Mr. Bell thoughtfully and in detail about the significance of the cigar box being used for the guitars, and that while I completely understand the concern teachers may have with the boxes, that is not the message I am trying to send with these guitars. So he sent back a very promising response saying that once we find a teacher or school interested in my project, we will sit down with them and discuss what is best for them and their students. I become more and more excited as we draw closer to a school or me to work in.
As well as developing my community connections, I have been working on the mass production of 20 cigar box guitars. I have created a jig to make the process move quickly and efficiently, as well as come up with a couple methods to make the whole production move smoothly.
Over the winter break, I plan to finish my cigar box guitars. A lot of the work that is required to finish the guitars can be done without power tools at home. I just need to make sure I finish all of the work with power tools before the break. I can't wait to see what the finished products will look like!
Talk to you later!
That was the theme of these past two weeks; Go to work. So that's what I did.
Since I've talked with you last, I have finished my second 3 string cigar box guitar. Because I was now familiar with all the necessary steps to finish one of these guitars, I completed my second guitar in half the time it took for my first guitar. This guitar is a much nicer final product than my first guitar. I changed a few things that made the connection of the neck to the cigar box feel solid. It feels like it is all one piece, which is something that was a problem with my first cigar box guitar.
For my community connection, I got in contact with one of the head people of LRSD's muisc programs, Harry Bell. I pitched him my project, and asked if he could point me towards a school that would be open to the idea of working with a music class, and donating the guitars to the kids. The response I got was good for the most part. He was very enthusiastic about my project, the only thing that he was concerned with was that elementary teachers might not be happy about the actual cigar boxes. This is really annoying to me, because now I am going to have cover up these beautiful boxes. I completely understand the concern the teachers have, but there are a few things I just don't get. I am in no way promoting smoking or the consumption of tobacco. The money I spend on the boxes does not go to the tobaconist, it is all donated straight to Winnipeg Harvest. Also, cigar boxes specifically are important to the history of these guitars. Cigar boxes were what people would use in the 30s when they couldn't afford their own instruments. Some of these boxes are gorgeous, and it is sad to have to cover them up. But it's something that has to happen, so I am still going to make the guitars using the cigar boxes, I have just decided to spray paint over top of the box to hide the fact that it is a cigar box. I am still going to use every bit of my effort, skills, and knowledge when making these "box" guitars. I will keep you posted on how my project progresses in the next week.
I talked about my experience at CAPS last week, but I didn't have a chance to tell you how building my first cigar box guitar was going!
Earlier last week, I was able to fully complete my first electric cigar box guitar, and have been working on learning some songs and riffs. The guitar works with any standard guitar amp, and sounds great acousticly, as well. I understand every step of the process very well, and am now looking at the bigger picture.
Currently I am working on my second guitar while I plan my next steps and "mass producing" more guitars. I am making a couple changes on this second guitar to finalize my design, and then reproduce that design many times.
My future plans are to build about 20 cigar box guitars. This is obviously not cheap, so I will need to get a new budget approved before moving on. After I have these guitars built, I plan to get into a school and work with some kids. I will let you know how that goes in a couple of weeks.
Talk to you soon,
Earlier this week, I attended a CAPS event, which is a career and post-secondary symposium. It was a great opportunity for me to have some one on one conversations with people who are doing what I want to be doing after I leave school. For me personally, I am usually not too keen on career symposiums like this because I have a pretty good idea on what I want to do for a job when I'm older. So when I heard I was going to CAPS, I wasn't thrilled. But my opinion had changed pretty soon after I finished the CAPS. It is very easy to sit back and coast through things without taking the extra steps to go above what is expected of you. I find myself doing that sometimes. I'll take the easy route, and as a result, miss out on some potential opportunities for myself.
When I first arrived at CAPS, I spent a little time looking around at some of the different booths and tables they had setup. I'm really interested in mechanical engineering, so my main focus at CAPS was to find and talk to a few people involved in engineering. I spoke with a man named Rick, and he works with New Flyer, the company who is in charge of building most of the buses in the Winnipeg. He gave me a good idea on what an average day at New Flyer looks like, and what specifically mechanical engineers do at New Flyer. The more he talked about the work that went on there, the more excited I became to potentially be working as an engineer.
A point that everyone I talked to made, was that engineering jobs are very interchangeable. I spoke with a gentleman who said he worked for five years on the electronics in computers, then moved into designing special rooms for agricultural purposes that controls temperature, humidity, and other things. Everybody I talked to said that if I want to change my career path at any point, it is very easy to do within the engineering field.
I went to CAPS wanting to see if engineering really was the right choice for me. From talking to experts in the engineering field, and asking questions such as "What does an average day at the office look like for you?" I confirmed that I am, indeed pursuing the right career for me. That might change in the future, but right now I am happy with where I am going. I was pleasantly surprised with how I felt after leaving CAPS. I left with a good understanding on some of the career opportunities that engineering possesses, and the confirmation that I am headed in the right direction.
Earlier this week I was thinking of where I was in my project at this time last year. I remembered I didn't even know what I wanted my project to be yet. It was almost December before I really went into panic mode. I can hardly believe the difference from last semester to this one.
Just to summarize my project again, I am going to build a handful of cigar box guitars, and I want to try to work in a school to work with a few kids and teach them how to play these guitars, then give the guitars away to them at the end.
I am extremely happy with the progress I have made these past two weeks. I am currently working on my first "prototype" cigar box guitar, and am spending a lot of time on this one. I want to make sure I don't rush through this first guitar, because I want to learn the whole process and really understand how to complete each step. That way, I can make a whole lot more of these guitars really quickly, one after the other.
I am almost done the first guitar. All I have to do is give it a good final sanding, stain the neck to bring out the natural finish of the wood, add a bridge and nut, and then I can string it up! I should have a finished playable cigar box guitar by Monday.
In the coming weeks, I will have finished my prototype guitar, so I will be moving on to building more cigar box guitars. I will let you know how everything goes in my blog next week. Talk to you later!
It's been a couple weeks since I last updated you on what's going on, and a lot has happened since the last blog post.
I've been working hard to prepare to start building one of my cigar box guitars, and am ready to get started! Last week I ordered all the parts from an online guitar supply store, and the parts just came in yesterday! It contains parts such as tuners, strings, and electrical components. I have started wokring on the neck already, but before I could do that, I needed to go through some safety tests to be able to use a certain tool.
We've finished a lot of the side tasks such as technical proposals and progress reports, so I can really focus on building my cigar box guitars now. I've purchased the cigar box and the wood needed for the neck and head-stock of the guitar, and have done plenty of research. I've found many different techniques and styles of guitars that I want to incorporate into my build. I can't wait to move forward on my project.
After I build the neck, head-stock, and any other basic building, I just need to add on all of my ordered parts. I will let you know where I am in the building stage next week!
It's time to get to work! This week in Propel is our first real big step to working towards our final project. Pretty soon, we will have a lot of freedom. With that freedom, comes a lot of responsibility, and we will need to manage our own time effectively and in a way that makes sense for each of us.
In the past few weeks, we have had a lot of structure, and were being told specifically what to do. But now we are moving out of that phase. Some days, we literally have the entire day to ourselves for our own work time. This can be very good for some of us, and not so good for others. For some of the grade 11s, they have never had this sort of freedom. No one has ever said "you have these tasks to complete, and it's up to you to decide when and how you will complete them". I think they'll get used to it pretty quick. Propel taught me that skill last year.
So what have I been up to this week? I've been looking into where to get some parts for my cigar box guitars. I am buying all of my hardware and things like tuners, strings, jacks, etc. from an online store called C.B. Gitty. I will be getting the wood from Home Depot, and I have all the tools I need here at the school workshop. So I've just been working on finalizing my budget and costs for everything.
Over the weekend, I am planning on contacting a few schools in the LRSD to inquire about donating some guitars to their music program. Other than that, I will be getting the materials needed to build soon.
Talk to you next week.
Yesterday we spent the morning at The Forks. We were tasked with creating a short story only using pictures that we took ourselves. After a short tour around the outside areas of The Forks, we split off into small groups and were set free to take any pictures we wanted.
Joe and I were interested in their Target Zero Project. We specifically took an interest in their new geothermal heating and cooling system. We went all around The Forks looking for things to take pictures of. We found one of the geothermal pipe sights out in the bush. These pipes are around 300 feet into the ground. They take in energy from the ground, and carry it up into a mixture of water and some other things. This water mixture is then pumped into the buildings, and is then released as heat or AC. It all depends what the above ground temperature.
When we returned, we were introduced to a new Microsoft program called Sway. It's basically an interactive powerpoint that anybody can get information from, without needing a presenter to be there. I think we will be implementing the program into our weekly Propel lives.
Overall, going to The Forks was a fun learning experience. In the coming weeks, we will be working on writing our technical proposals for our final projects.
Talk to you later.
At this very moment one year ago in Propel, we were still in the classroom building process, and I had no idea what I was doing for a project. This year however, is totally different.
Last week, we finished all of our classroom building projects, and had little presentations on some of the struggles and successes we came across during the classroom building process. On Monday, we had our first official day of project talk! This was another difference from last year for me personally. When we began talking about projects in Propel last year, I had a general idea of the area I wanted to work in, but no idea what I wanted to pursue specifically. This year however, I have had a very strong idea since about the first week of this semester.
My project idea is to design and build a 3 string cigar box guitar, and give back to the community as much as I can. I have a couple ideas on how I am going to give back. One of the ways I already have given back is buying a few cigar boxes. This doesn't sound like it's done anything, but the tobacconist I bought from takes all the money from selling the boxes, and donates it to Winnipeg Harvest. Another idea I came up with was to busk at The Forks, and donate any money I make to somewhere like Winnipeg Harvest, or any other cause that is important to me. After conferencing with the teachers, they came up with the idea to build multiple guitars, and reach out to some smaller schools that don't have as much money and see if they wanted any of the guitars. I thought this was a very cool idea, it will just depend on how long it takes to build one.
We began working on our technical proposals for our final projects this week. It will be interesting to see what some of the ideas are from my peers, because I haven't heard too much about what other people are thinking about for their final projects. I think my project is a perfect fit for me because it involves so many of my interests and passions; woodworking, music, hands-on work, among a few other things. Anyway, I'll be posting a second blog this week as well. We are going on a trip to The Forks tomorrow, so I'll talk about that in the next blog.
Until next time!
Hello again! This week is has been very busy as we near the deadline to finish the classroom building process. Everyone has been working very hard to finish their jobs.
As I mentioned in a previous blog, I am part of the group that is soundproofing the recording room. On Friday last week, Areyan and I took a trip to home depot and picked up the wood that would be used for the acoustic panel frames. On Monday, a group of students needed to do a safety task in order to work in the workshop. We were given a list of safety rules and guidelines that we needed to illustrate through a photo essay. This was a much more fun alternative to filling out safety forms and tests. After we were all safetied, we began work on the wood frames.
I measured out the cuts that needed to be made, then proceeded to make the cuts. Sean helped us with drilling the frames together. So now we have three completed frames. While the frames were being built, other students were working on sewing towels together to be put into the frames. The towels will reduce echo in the room by "soaking up' the sound. All we need to do to complete the panels is stretch the towels over the frame, and finish by stapling them in place.
Some projects that are also going on in the class include painting a wall, buying softer lights for the class, running a twitter account (@propellrsd), and a few more. Overall, I am very happy with how the classroom building is going, and am excited to see the final result. This will make the room really feel like "ours" and will be a much more enjoyable working environment for us. After this, we move into project talk! I can't wait.
Talk to you next week!