Construction Technology Builds Chairs


Photo by Caroline Phillips

Coach John Phillips gives guidance to his students to help them build their chair. He started building them 14 years ago.

Caroline Phillips, Assistant Editor of Sports, Social Officer

They grab the wooden board and prepare to cut a foot off at the miter saw. In the corner, kids gather around the router to round of the edges of a piece of wood. They begin assembling the rocking chairs finally engraving their last names on the chairs preparing for them to be sold.

John Phillips’ construction technology classes are building Adirondack rocking chairs that will be sold to parents and teachers. Starting at $60 the rocking chairs can be purchased for various prices in May.

“I like to give students abilities that they can use outside of the classroom setting,” Phillips said. “The rocking chairs provided a simple way to combine the teaching requirements and a way to keep the funds running in the program.”

They began making these projects in 2005 after a teacher and her family had asked if he could repair their Adirondack rocking chair. He then used the original as a reference to build a new one.

“[The chairs] were easy to build,” Phillips said. “A lot of parents saw them and they would want their kid to build one, and after that they sold well.”

The class allows a more hands-on experience than most classes as it prepares them to head out into the workforce. Plus, by taking the class and building projects they receive certificates that can be applied to a resume.

“Certificates such as the NCCER will give them a leg up in the industry,” Phillips said. “Many companies recognize that as a form of training and it puts them over other candidates that my apply for something like a construction company.”

Many students see it as a bonding experience and teaches them how to work with a team like they would at a construction site, and instead of sitting down to take notes in a class they are actually going out into the shop to construct a chair.

“You get to bond with your group when you are making the project,” sophomore Dalton Couch said. “I like the class. It is an affordable way to build something because some kids can not just buy the material. Plus, I really like Coach.”