Woodworking, Building Students Share Skills With Public


Two of the students in Richard Alvarez's Woodworking and Building Trades classes are making a lodgepole-style California king-size bed out of indigenous red heart cedar.

But neither Ben Curtis nor Cash Armstrong plan to lie in the project they have so far spent around 30 hours creating.

"We'll be done with it by next week. We're selling it for $1500," said Curtis.

The young men have come a long way from the core project, the wall shelf, all students start out with in Wood One.

By the end of the first semester, students are building a mission-style end table and handling a router, which is an electric tool used to cut grooves, hollow out larger areas and create decorative trims along the edge of a piece of wood.

Students must pay for their own materials, but they get to keep their creations.

In Wood Two students start out by making a coffee table.


Brittany Davis hammers her way to success.

They use a router to carve a design in the furniture, then cut that design out with a ban saw. Students construct trophy display cases for the high school too.

Woodworking isn't just for the guys

Senior Brittany Davis has quite an aptitude for woodworking. Her current project is a five-drawer chest she's constructed out of red heart cedar.

She works on the chest during her time off from her job as a certified nurse assistant at Rim Country Health & Retirement Community.

Davis tied Don Engler for a second place medal for her Construction Technology Skills at the Arizona Construction Championship held Feb. 18 at Metro Tech in Phoenix. Brendon McClaws placed third in the same category.


Ben Curtis had two hours to build a 4-foot metal stud wall frame that consisted of a door header, space for a window and a place to connect a roof truss.

The Arizona Construction Championships are sponsored to test the construction and leadership skills of students; to showcase future construction workers of Arizona; to invite construction companies to build relationships among students statewide; and to have fun.

Other events included a contest for the most nails driven into a board in one minute and the fastest times screwing five screws into a board, and a prepared speech with the topic, "Champions At Work."

There was also an hour-long construction knowledge and math test administered to all students.

According to Alvarez, when students display their skills at the Arizona Construction Championships, they get exposure to potential employers.

Apprentice trade programs, like those offered through Pulte Homes and Fulton Homes, are always looking for talented newcomers to the field.

Former students are working locally in the electrical and framing trades right here in Payson.

Students have landscaped an area near the auto shop/construction building to showcase a few of the competencies they have learned in their construction class.

"Even though we are a small district, I think we are still pretty competitive with the schools in the Valley. We do a good job with the amount of students and facilities we have preparing kids to go into building trades," Alvarez said.

Later this year Alvarez hopes to take eligible students onto the regional and possibly the national competition depending on work and sports schedules.

If you would like to purchase an item from one of the students, can contact Alvarez at Payson High School (928) 474-2233.

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