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Morrisville State wood products technology students craft grandfather clocks

MORRISVILLE, NY—Frederico Meira had something specific planned for his end-of-the-semester wood technology project at Morrisville State. The sleek grandfather clock he crafted in class would be a reflection of his treasured pastime—sailing.

As he placed finishing touches on his clock in lab, Meira explained his nautical vision. The body will be enclosed in glass with shelves inside to display his cherished collection of mini sailboats and trophies he won while sailing competitively throughout Europe.

Steven Simpson, 20, of McDonough, a wood technology major, also had distinct plans for his masterpiece. It will be a Christmas present for his grandfather, a thank you for the truck he gave him upon turning 18.

The mahogany sapele grandfather clocks were a capstone project in instructor Karl Driesel’s Secondary Wood Processing class. Wood tech students came up with the concept and designed them in Driesel’s Furniture Design and Construction class last semester. The 20-by-68-inch projects, made to hold a battery-operated clock, were crafted with sapele, an appealing African hardwood, prized for its color, grain and resilience.

While the basic design of each student’s project was the same, each was characterized by unique custom touches.

Simpson was adorning his with intricate details, including ornate molding on the sides, while wood technology student Ian Clancey, 21, of Waterloo, chose to add colorful purple heart wood plugs to make his piece stand out.

Originally from Argentina, Meira, 68, of Cazenovia, was taking the class as an audit option. It was a perfect way to combine his passion for woodworking and love for sailing, explained the craftsman, who sails competitively with the Willow Bank Yacht Club in Cazenovia.

While some students will be giving their clocks away as gifts to friends and family, others are keeping them as a hallmark of their accomplishments.

Taking pride in his handmade wooden clock, Brandon Kosakowski, 22, of Rochester, was adamant about keeping his.

“I spent a long time on this clock and I am not giving it away,” said the wood technology major who plans to display his work in his dorm room.

Driesel assisted students throughout the lab-intensive course, offering input and assistance, helping them set up the advanced machinery in the wood technology building and troubleshooting problems they encountered.

Simpson’s greatest challenge was working on the crown molding that defined his piece.

Summing up his overall learning experience, Simpson said, “I like the idea of the whole project. We learned a lot through the process of actually designing the clocks ourselves then building them in lab.”

The finished accent pieces are just a sample of what students have created in the college’s wood products technology program. They have also crafted guitars, end tables and accent furniture.

Students in Morrisville State’s wood products technology program can choose from two options: finish carpentry, or furniture production and business. Students study wood science and gain hands-on experience in a state-of-the-art Wood Products Technology Building which is equipped with a laser-guided, fully automated sawmill, and computerized and solar dry kilns.

Morrisville State sets the world in motion for students. Curricula are enriched with applied learning and pave the way for opportunity at both the Morrisville and Norwich campuses. An action-oriented, interactive learning lab, the college is a national leader in technology. Lauded for its exemplary, innovative and effective community service programs, the college was named to the 2012 President’s Higher Community Education Service Honor Roll. Visit www.morrisville.edu to experience, Morrisville in motion.