STEM Scouts Have a Blast in the Woodshop!

Posted in Michael's Woodshop

December 4, 2022 by NCAC STEM

Have you ever heard of BlastCars?

They have been around for years as Scouts BSA programs, and sometimes dubbed the “older kid Pinewood Derby Cars”. The real difference? Their dimensions are a bit larger and above all they are powered by a C02 cartridge! Today, middle STEM Scouts have a 4 meeting module, where they experiment with building and racing Blastcars! Youth discover what friction is and how it affects the performance of a car, and learn about propulsion, acceleration and deceleration, and rocket-powered vehicles.

Lab Manager Ms. Pekarik (of paired Elementary Lab 9941) assists a scout.

To do all this, the scouts need to build cars – many, and each with variables tweaked. Sure, they could build cars with hand-tools, but NCAC’s STEM Lab 991 was lucky enough to build their cars under the expertise of Michael’s Woodshop volunteers!

Visit to Michael’s Woodshop

Michael’s Woodshop is a volunteer run woodshop for scouts at Camp Snyder in Haymarket, VA. Over the last 5 years, Michael’s Woodshop has assisted 250+ Bears in completing Baloo the Builder50+ Woodwork Merit Badges, and 1000+ Pinewood Derby Cars!

On October 30, seven STEM Scouts from Lab 991 visited Michael’s Woodshop at Camp Snyder for a Blastcar Build Day! Mr. Dave Schneeman, Woodshop Steward, led the group through a safety briefing, followed by stations to cut the cars according to the scouts’ designs, and sand the cars for finer finish.

After 1000+ Pinewood Derby cars, Michael’s Woodshop has perfected a build process. The Blastcar build was only slightly different. Scouts had to ensure that designs do not intersect with the drilled holes for the Co2 cartridges. Additionally, while PWD cars’ starting gates release at the front of each car, Blastcars are lined up against the rear (where the cartridges are!)

The Woodshop machinery as well as Mr. Dave’s expertise made for an incredible experience. Sure, scouts could design blast cars with hand tools. In fact, 2 weeks before the scouts’ woodshop visit, they practiced using hand tools. This juxtaposition led to a greater appreciation of the Woodshop opportunity, and the professional cars they got to design!

Lab Manager Mr. Scheina hands out blastcar kits.

Lab Manager of STEM Lab 991, Jon Scheina shared, “Building the cars at the woodshop was awesome. Every Scout I asked said that this activity was the highlight of the module. In the future, any labs that are fortunate enough to have access to a professional woodshop should absolutely use it to build their cars–both for the experience and for the opportunity to build more precise, well-functioning cars.”

Join the Woodshop Team

All of the activities in Michael’s Woodshop are designed and supervised by a dedicated group of volunteers. There are volunteer roles available for experienced woodworkers, and both adult and youth assistants. For more information about becoming a volunteer, please see Join the Woodshop Team or email us for additional information.

For more information about the merit badge classes, shop capabilities, upcoming events or reserving the shop, please visit the Michael’s Woodshop webpage. If you have questions or would like additional information, please email us at MichaelsWoodshop.CWBS@gmail.com

Important Thank Yous

Special thanks to:

  • Justin Youtz (T501) and Bruce Donlin (T1853) for sharing Blastcar kits (and tricks) with NCAC’s STEM Labs!
  • Dave Schneeman (Michael’s Woodshop Steward) for volunteering to lead the shop session
  • Jon Scheina, Mark Gray, Burt Wagner, Stacy Pekarik (Lab 991 Lab Manager and Associate Lab Leaders) for leading the inaugural Blastcars module!

250th Bear Completes Baloo the Builder Adventure

Posted in Michael's Woodshop

November 18, 2022 by David Schneeman

On November 5th, Bears from Pack 1160 completed their Baloo the Builder Adventure in Michael’s Woodshop. They learned about useful tools to have in their boxes and practiced using a number of tools including clamps, sanding blocks, hammers and nail punches. They made a golf tee game board as their “fun project” and after sanding, they applied a clear polyurethane finish. Finally, as their “useful project”, each Bear made their very own tool box. It was a couple of hours very well spent and not only did these Bears learn a few things and have some fun, they also earned the distinction of having among their Den the 250th Bear to complete the Baloo the Builder Adventure in Michael’s Woodshop!

Since introducing the Baloo the Builder and Webelos Build It Workshops, they have quickly become two of the most popular activities in the shop. These workshops are both great, hands-on activities that are fun, learning experiences for the Cub Scouts.

To learn more about these workshops and the many other shop activities available, please visit the Michael’s Woodshop webpage. Start planning now to schedule an activity for your unit in the spring.

All of the activities in Michael’s Woodshop are designed and supervised by a dedicated group of volunteers. With the high demand for woodshop activities, we are seeking additional volunteers to join the Woodshop Team. There are roles available for experienced woodworkers, Woodwork Merit Badge Counselors and both adult and youth assistants. For more information about becoming a volunteer, please see Join the Woodshop Team or email us for additional information.

For more information about the merit badge classes, shop capabilities, upcoming events or reserving the shop, please visit the Michael’s Woodshop webpage. If you have questions or would like additional information, please email us at MichaelsWoodshop.CWBS@gmail.com

New Woodshop Volunteers and A Three-Year Service Award

Posted in Michael's Woodshop

We are pleased to introduce the newest volunteers in Michael’s Woodshop. Alyssa and Teaghan have completed their training and have joined the team as Youth Assistants. In addition, we would like to recognize Dallas Cecil, a dedicated volunteer who has given three years of service in the woodshop. Michael’s Woodshop is run entirely through the time, effort and talent of volunteers and we welcome these latest additions and appreciate the ongoing commitment of our volunteers

Meet Our New Youth Assistants

L to R: Teaghan and Alyssa

Alyssa is a First Class scout with Troop 893G in Centreville, VA. She enjoys camping, uses Merit Badges to explore new interests, and looks forward to high adventure trips! Her dad has been woodworking for many years, and has roped her into many a project, so it just ‘made sense’ for her to join the team in Michael’s Woodshop. In her non-scouting time she rides horses and is a member of Centreville Dance Theater.

Teaghan is a Life Scout in Troop 1137G in Centreville, VA. Her Scouting passions include shooting sports, camping, and nature. Teaghan has an artistic spirit and enjoys exploring her talents through drawing and crochet. Her newfound interest in woodworking sparked while completing her Woodwork Merit Badge requirements at Camp Snyder in July.

Volunteer Service Award

We are pleased to recognize Dallas Cecil for three years of volunteer service in Michael’s Woodshop. Dallas serves as our CNC Lead and provides training and support for all CNC projects. He is an Eagle Scout and has served for over 12 years as an adult Scout leader serving as the outdoor chair for Pack 1148, Assistant Scoutmaster for Troops 1430B and 1148G and a Committee Member for Crew 1430. Dallas has received the District Award of Merit, the Venturing Leadership Award, and the International Scouter’s Award, with just completing an epic two-week Denmark adventure with Crew 1430.

We are always looking for additional volunteers in Michael’s Woodshop. Roles are available for adults and youth, from novices to experience woodworkers. If you are interested in volunteering, please see “Join the Michael’s Woodshop Team”, or email us at MichaelsWoodshop.CWBS@gmail.com.

A Scout is…Creative!

Posted in Michael's Woodshop

Scout creativity was on full display in Michael’s Woodshop during Camp William B. Snyder’s second annual Scout Specialty Week. Among the wide variety of merit badge offerings, Michael’s Woodshop offered the Woodwork Merit Badge, a challenging merit badge requiring extended sessions throughout the week. Scouts learned about lumber, shop safety, first aid and tool sharpening. To demonstrate the use of different tools, cuts and joints, Scouts created three projects including a toolbox, a wooden mallet and a cell phone stand. The real fun began when they designed and built their own projects. The results were amazing!

The classes during the merit badge week were led by a group of highly skilled woodshop volunteers. It was a very successful week with 15 Woodwork Merit Badges earned! To see more of the fun activities during the week, go to the Woodshop Activity Slideshows section of our webpage where you can view our latest addition Scout Specialty Week 2022.

Michael’s Woodshop operates year-round and is a great venue for Scouts of all ages to create and learn. We are able to offer Woodwork Merit Badge classes and many other programs through the time, talent and hard work of our dedicated volunteers.

If you enjoy being in a wood shop and like to teach and guide youth, please consider joining the Michael’s Woodshop Team. There are roles available for both adult and youth volunteers; from novices to experienced woodworkers. It is a truly rewarding role.

Please visit the Michael’s Woodshop webpage for more information about volunteering, upcoming events or for information about reserving the shop. If you have questions or would like additional information, please email the volunteer team at MichaelsWoodshop.CWBS@gmail.com

Like Kids in a Candy Store!

Posted in Michael's Woodshop

July 29, 2022 by Dave Schneeman

Normally in Michael’s Woodshop, we use the expression “like kids in a candy store” to describe either our shop volunteers (who just love to be in the shop) or parents who are visiting the shop for the first time and find themselves admiring the well-organized array of tools and great workspace. However, this summer we also used the phrase to describe the Cub Scouts who attended Day Camp and Resident Weekends at Camp Snyder. During their stay, they had the chance to visit Michael’s Woodshop and create their very own candy dispenser. It was a great hands-on project and over the course of the summer the Cub Scouts made 564 candy dispensers!!!

The process started with a safety briefing and some brief assembly instructions and then the fun began! Cub Scouts were guided by camp staff and volunteers in drilling, gluing and nailing together their dispensers. After the assembly process was completed, Cub Scouts sanded all the corners and edges and were then given the opportunity to stamp their project with the official “Handcrafted in Michael’s Woodshop” brand. It was great fun and the activity in Michael’s Woodshop was rated as one of the youth favorites. To see more great photos from summer camp, please link to our Activity Slideshows and view Summer Camp in Michael’s Woodshop 2022.

Michael’s Woodshop operates year-round and is a great venue for Scouts to create and learn. In addition to supporting summer camp and family camping weekends, Michael’s Woodshop offers a number of regular and seasonal activities such as merit badge classes and our annual Pinewood Derby Days! The shop may be reserved by Dens for our Baloo the Builder and Webelos Build It Workshops and may also be reserved for many other events such as District events, Pack & Troop activities and Eagle Scout Projects.

Please visit the Michael’s Woodshop webpage for more information about the shop capabilities, upcoming events and for information about reserving the shop. If you have questions or would like additional information, please email the volunteer team at MichaelsWoodshop.CWBS@gmail.com

Scout Applies STEM Skills in the Woodshop

Posted in Michael's Woodshop

March 1, 2022 by Dave Schneeman

Mihai displays prototype

Star Scout Mihai Z. created the CNC computer code needed to engrave the Cub Scout logo into a new cross over bridge for Pack 1540 in Fairfax, VA. Mihai volunteers as a Youth Assistant in Michael’s Woodshop and since the arrival of the CNC machine, he has been looking for opportunities to use the machine. Mihai enjoys learning new technology and he was able to quickly adapt his 3D printing skills to learn and program the CNC machine. It was a relatively complex first project but the end result was fantastic. Cubmaster Dusty Vaughn, who had initiated the project, was very impressed and stated that the Pack would certainly appreciate the engraving on their bridge for many years to come.

The CNC project was coordinated by shop volunteer Dallas Cecil. Under his leadership, Michael’s Woodshop is developing additional applications for the CNC machine including the creation of a library of standard images. Dallas is willing to work with unit leaders to develop images for engraving special projects, such as the cross over bridge. As new capabilities are developed, we expect interest in creating AOL plaques and other special projects will quickly increase the use of the CNC machine.

Watching a computer rendering
CNC machine in action
Final work product

Michael’s Woodshop is an incredible resource available to NCAC Units & Scouts. The CNC machine is just one of the many woodworking tools and machines available in the shop. Michael’s Woodshop is operated by a group of adult and youth volunteers, and we are always interested in adding quality volunteers to our team. If you like being in a wood shop and enjoy teaching and guiding youth, please consider joining the Woodshop Team. We have volunteer roles available for experienced woodworkers, novices and those who have specialized skills (such as operating the CNC machine).

After staining!

Please visit the Michael’s Woodshop webpage for more information about shop capabilities, reserving the shop or for information about joining the Woodshop Team. If you are interested in using the CNC machine for an upcoming project or if you would like additional information about the shop, please email the volunteer team at MichaelsWoodshop.CWBS@gmail.com

Wolf Den Creates Pinewood Derby Trophies

Posted in Michael's Woodshop

January 31, 2022 by Dave Schneeman

On January 26, the Wolf Den from Pack 1833 in Haymarket, VA held a Den activity in Michael’s Woodshop and created some nice trophies for their Pack’s upcoming pinewood derby race. The Wolves started with a safety briefing and were then given basic instructions for building the trophies. The Wolves were able to observe the set up and use of a number of pieces of shop equipment used by the leaders to make the initial cuts. They then had the opportunity to drill, sand and assemble the trophies. The Wolves not only had the opportunity to learn about shop safety and tool use, they also had some good hands-on experience and created some awesome trophies. It was a very fun evening!

Conveniently located at Camp William B. Snyder, Michael’s Woodshop is an incredible resource which may be reserved for use by all NCAC Units & Scouts. Michael’s Woodshop operates year-round wth opportunities for youth of all ages to participate in a variety of shop activities. Holding a Den project session is just one way to use the shop. Michael’s Woodshop also offers great Baloo the Builder and Webelos Build It workshops, Woodwork Merit Badge classes and has recently added several new Woodshop Specialty Classes. In addition, the shop is a great venue for hosting Eagle Scout and Summit Award projects as well as conservation projects and other unit activities.

Please visit the Michael’s Woodshop webpage for more information about the shop capabilities and upcoming events and for information about reserving the shop. If you have questions or would like additional information, please email the volunteer team at MichaelsWoodshop.CWBS@gmail.com

Celebrating Our 1000th Pinewood Derby Car

Posted in Michael's Woodshop

On January 8, 2022, Xander, a Bear from Pack 858 attended a Pack Pinewood Derby Session and created the 1000th pinewood derby car in Michael’s Woodshop! Xander started by creating his own car design. With assistance from shop volunteer “Mr. Gene” Lockhart, he then cut, sanded and added weights to his car. The end result was a great looking and sure-to-be-competitive car. To commemorate the occasion, Xander was presented with a special Pinewood Derby Car display stand with a 1000th Car inscription. Please join us in wishing Xander the best of luck in his races, but in our book, he is already a winner!

Michael’s Woodshop is currently in the midst of its 4th Annual Pinewood Derby Days season. View the Pinewood Derby Days 2021-22 slideshow on the shop webpage (click here) to see more of the fun! While Pinewood Derby Days is one of the most popular programs, Michael’s Woodshop operates year-round with opportunities for youth of all ages to participate in a variety of shop activities. Michael’s Woodshop offers great Baloo the Builder and Webelos Build It workshops, Woodwork Merit Badge classes and has recently added several new Woodshop Specialty Classes. In addition, the shop is a great venue for hosting Eagle Scout and Summit Award projects as well as conservation projects and other unit activities.

Please visit the Michael’s Woodshop for more information about the shop capabilities and upcoming events and for information about reserving the shop. If you have questions or would like additional information, please email the volunteer team at MichaelsWoodshop.CWBS@gmail.com

Michael’s Woodshop Begins Its 4th Year; Debuts CNC Machine

Posted in Michael's Woodshop

During Camp Snyder’s Fall Family Camping events, Michael’s Woodshop officially began its fourth year of operations and it certainly got off to a great start! During the two family camping weekends, over 30 families visited the wood shop and had the opportunity for some hands-on woodworking fun. Families were able to select from a variety of projects including game boards, tool boxes and bird houses. During the events, Michael’s Woodshop debuted its newly donated CNC machine and was able to add the fleur de lis image to youth projects. To view more of the fun, please see our 2021 Family Camping slideshow.

Since its opening in 2018, Michael’s Woodshop has offered high quality programs that directly support the Aims & Methods of Scouting across all youth age groups. Michael’s Woodshop has continued to operate core programs such as the Pinewood Derby Days car building sessions, monthly Woodwork merit badge sessions and has supported many Eagle Scout projects. During the past year, new Baloo the Builder and Webelos Build It workshops were developed to support Cub Scouts in completing these adventures. In addition, this past summer a visit to Michael’s Woodshop was added to Camp Snyder’s Day Camp and Resident Weekend programs and Michael’s Woodshop supported the camp’s first ever merit badge week. Finally, the first Summit Award Project was hosted in the shop this fall.

Michael’s Woodshop is a fantastic resource available to all NCAC youth. It is a hands-on work space that was designed for use by Scouts of all ages to create and learn. The shop is maintained and operated by a group of volunteers who are also available to help plan and carry out events. Michael’s Woodshop may be reserved for Unit activities, District events, Eagle Scout projects and many other Scouting activities. For information about shop capabilities, upcoming events or reserving the shop, please visit the Michael’s Woodshop webpage or email us at MichaelsWoodshop.CWBS@gmail.com

50th Merit Badge Earned in Michael’s Woodshop

Posted in Michael's Woodshop

In November, Cole S. of Troop 424 attended his second merit badge session in Michael’s Woodshop and completed all of the requirements to earn the Woodwork merit badge. He arrived well prepared with materials and project plans and was able to make a DVD/game storage console, two versions of a cell phone stand and a bird house. While completing the requirements, Cole used a classic “brace and bit”, various saws, a hand plane and more. In his projects he demonstrated several incised cuts and built a project with beveled edges. Not only did he complete all of the requirements, he also earned the distinction of being the 50th Scout to earn the Woodwork merit badge in Michael’s Woodshop. Congratulations!

Earning the Woodwork merit badge requires a certain level of interest and dedication. In addition to learning about shop safety, first aid, tool sharpening and various aspects of lumber production, there are four projects to complete. Youth must demonstrate the use of certain tools, joinery and cutting techniques and project estimating skills. Scouts who earn this merit badge should take pride in their achievement.

Since early 2019, Michael’s Woodshop has offered two monthly merit badge sessions. The first session focuses on shop safety, first aid and the other “non-sawdust-making” requirements. The second session provides supervised shop time for Scouts to work on their projects. In addition to the scheduled monthly classes, Units with 3 or more youth interested in earning the merit badge may also arrange to hold their own merit badge sessions.

For more information about the merit badge classes, shop capabilities, upcoming events or reserving the shop, please visit the Michael’s Woodshop webpage. If you have questions or would like additional information, please email the volunteer team at MichaelsWoodshop.CWBS@gmail.com