As summer wound down, Hammer & Hand was given the opportunity to donate some labor and materials to a local preschool. I was assigned the task of building some type of cool outdoor structure, using leftover and reclaimed materials that we had available.
After meeting with the school director, it was decided that a hybrid pergola shed with a table inside would fit their needs just right. I drew up a quick sketch and began collecting usable materials. A recent project involving some demolition left us with some nice clear fir 6 x 6 posts, which would provide the post and beam structure we were looking for. Miscellaneous framing lumber found at the lay yard would fill in the roof.
As I began digging the three footings we needed, I looked past the yellow caution tape roping off the active construction site to discover I had an audience. It was not the inquisitive neighbor or extremely interested homeowner but a line of children, mouths agape, in wonder and awe about what in the world I was doing.
On day two, H&H carpenter James Fox joined the party. We started setting posts and beams as our audience filed in and took their places, 1/16 of an inch behind the caution tape. We designed an L-shaped structure with a shed roof that required a pretty funky valley but as it took shape, the children couldn’t wait to see what would happen next.
James and I decided to fillet some 4″ ABS pipe and use it as a gutter. And after measuring a few kids, we determined that the best height for a preschoolers’ activity table is 21 1/2″. But what really got the crowd cheering was when Mr. Fox carved rabbits into the fascia boards.
Our projects today are often complex, involving extensive project management. It’s refreshing to fit in a job like this, so focused on creativity and craft. At Escuela Viva, we could see a reflection of why we started building in the first place.
Back to Field Notes