Woodworking class wins big
Teacher Jim Vice provides tools for everyday projects
Jim Vice is teaching a woodworking class of winners -- six of his students submitted projects at the Alameda County Fair and all received awards. The students accumulated three first-place and two second-place ribbons, two best of show nominations, and two honorable mentions.
"We're doing good," Vice said of his 18-and-older course. "The students participate in class and they learn things. It's probably why we were successful at the Fair."
Vice began teaching woodworking at the Pleasanton Senior Center in 1999. He then moved to Castro Valley where he has spent the last three years continuing his woodworking class and managing a machine shop in Livermore.
"I've always wanted to," he said of his passion for woodworking. "I don't know why, but I've never turned back. I love the sharing of ideas, the people you get to know, and the camaraderie you develop within the class."
Vice said he loves when his students accomplish tasks they never dreamed they could.
Linda McKeever, a student at Vice's class who grew up using tools, was swimming in prizes after the County Fair. She won awards for her banister bookcase, coffee table and two end tables with pull-out drawers.
McKeever, who is the executive director of Open Heart Kitchen, described woodworking as a "mental physical process."
"It's really relaxing for me and extremely stimulating for the brain," she said. "The physical side is that you end up with a beautiful piece of furniture that you created on your own. It's so different from the mental work that I have to deal with at work all day."
Vice focuses his class on crafting everyday items, such as chairs, bookcases and even rocking horses, McKeever said.
"You take the skills learned from his class and you can really create whatever you want," she said. "(Vice) teaches us these techniques so we can apply them to anything in life."
Vice said he always likes it when women sign up -- and not for the obvious reasons.
"I love teaching women woodworking," he said. "Ladies have the desire (for woodworking) but never have the chance because it's not fashionable in high school. I love that ladies get the opportunity to show their skills in my class."
The class strongly highlights taking precautions and doing things in an exact manner.
"We definitely emphasize equipment safety and using it properly," Vice said. "We're really into the precision part of woodworking."
Vice currently teaches at Canyon Middle School in Castro Valley, with beginner and advanced classes offered. Visit www.cvadult.org/woodworking.