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By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — Did you know you can order Viking apparel, personalized mugs, signs and cribbage boards and “Viking buck” coat racks from a student-run business at Colfax High School called The Viking Ship?
Jamie Buchholtz, CHS technology education teacher, and three of his students — Taylor Risler, Will Wanish and Colin Bohl — spoke to the Colfax Board of Education at the November 15 meeting about projects they are working on, including items for The Viking Ship.
The Viking Ship is a joint venture between Buchholtz’s tech ed classes and the Business Information and Technology class taught by Kathleen Thorn.
Risler presented pieces of a wooden gun rack, which has a base on the bottom with “pockets” for the gun stocks to sit in, and when it is finished and put together, another piece on top for the barrels to rest in.
The design was drawn up using computer-aided design (CAD), and then the CNC router was used to cut out the top and the bottom pieces, he said.
A rod in the middle will connect the top and bottom pieces, and the rod will be made with the shop’s plasma cutter, Risler explained.
Jaci Ackerlund, school board member, asked how he had made sure the pockets on the bottom and places for the barrels on the top were evenly spaced and how both pieces would line up.
Using CAD to design the pieces ensures the pockets on the bottom and the places for the barrels will be evenly spaced, and then the CNC router runs off the computer program, Risler explained.
As for lining up the top and bottom with the rod — that will be a matter of carefully placing both pieces so the pockets and barrel holders line up, he said.
The students receive college credit for some of the tech ed classes, Buchholtz noted.
Students in the tech ed classes also are working on “repurposing” different items, he said.
Wanish and Bohl worked on a flip-flop grill.
Garrett Maas, the school district’s computer technician, brought in spare pieces from a grill he had, and Wanish explained they had welded the legs onto the box and that they had made the flip-flop part of the grill — which the students had actually hauled from the tech ed department down to the school board meeting room so the Board of Education could see what they had made.
The students have already made hot dogs on the grill, Buchholtz said.
Buchholtz also showed the prototype of an item students are working on that is a corner for a hunter’s tree stand.
The corner will steady the tree stand and make it stronger and more portable, he said.
In addition, Wanish presented the base for a kitchen table made out of maple.
The table top will be made from slabs of two-and-a-half inch thick maple, he said.
Buchholtz remarked that everything Wanish makes in wood shop is made from maple.
Wanish is the impetus behind Wanish Sugar Bush, a family-owned and operated business that produces maple syrup and maple syrup products.
According to the business’s Facebook page, Wanish Sugar Bush taps about 1,000 maple trees every spring.
After Buchholtz had commented about Wanish making items out of maple in the wood shop, Ackerlund asked Wanish the name of his dog.
“Maple,” Wanish replied.
The Viking Ship
Information about The Viking Ship and the items that are sold is available on The Viking Ship Facebook page.
The students can make personalized signs and cribbage boards and laser-engraved mugs as well as the “Viking buck” coat rack, Buchholtz said.
In addition, the school’s tech ed shop made the Vietnam Veterans Memorial sign at Tom Prince Memorial Park and the Martin Anderson gymnasium sign, he said, adding that a fire pit has been made for the school’s environmental education site as well.
Students have been working on a prototype “trigger” for use with spray paint cans, too, using a 3-D printer, Buchholtz said.
The trigger handle allows you to more easily apply the spray paint without getting paint on your hands, he said.
And the 3-D printers have come in handy in other ways, such as making replacement parts for the lockers in the high school and replacement parts for equipment in the shop, Buchholtz said.
One future project the students will be working on in the CAD class and the wood shop class is replacing the Vikings sign across the road from Kyle’s Market, he said.
If you have an idea for an item the students could make or build, or an idea for a personalized item, contact Buchholtz at Colfax High School — 715-962-3155.