Diablo Woodworkers

Ygnacio Valley High School Woodshop Renovation
1,000 volunteer hours put in to refurbish 40 year old high school woodshop. Teacher feels like he "won the educational lottery".

When the new woodshop teacher at Ygnacio Valley High School in Concord was asked to share his woodshop for the summer, he was a bit nervous. He was new and the woodshop itself was a disaster. There was clutter all over, the walls hadn't been painted in 40 years, the equipment was barely functioning and the bench tops were dirty, full of holes and splinters. However, while he was skeptical, he agreed to trade the space for what he was told would be "some help in cleaning things up" from Mt. Diablo District Adult Education woodworking students, most of who are members of Diablo Woodworkers, a 250 member central Contra Costa County Woodworking club. The students were looking for a home while their Pleasant Hill Education Center woodshop was being refurbished.

What he got was a miracle.

"Angels were sent to us from who knows where", says Terry Toliver, Industrial Arts teacher. "These folks took a barely functioning shop and made it into a clean, professional looking classroom. I was leery at first and afraid there would be a catch, but there was no catch. These people are artisans and you wouldn't believe the difference. The walls are painted, the work surfaces are free of holes and freshly lacquered and the shop is spotless. But most important is the lesson that we all got about the importance of work ethic and in helping out in the community. My students don't see much of that and a bunch of woodworkers, most of who are retired from other professions, came in to teach them about hard work and a job well done. That lesson is priceless and the example set will mean more to the students than anything else we could have done to teach them about community and giving back".

"I'm absolutely humbled by the contributions of the Diablo Woodworkers", says Carolyn Plath, Principal. "They were so selfless. They transformed the room and the shop and it was so uplifting to the students. We really appreciate what they've done."

The Pleasant Hill Education Center was closed for the summer for Measure C work maintenance and repairs for summer woodshop classes. When the instructors and students looked for a temporary location, they got permission to use the shop at Ygnacio Valley High School. Over 30 teachers, students and members of Diablo Woodworkers put over 1,000 hours in volunteering over the months of July and August. The Diablo Woodworkers will continue to volunteer at Ygnacio Valley High School to expand the scope of the Industrial Arts program. The project results have been applauded and endorsed by Mt. Diablo Unified School District leaders at the "Grand Re-Opening" on August 23rd. The ceremony was attended by Linda Mayo - President, Board of Education, Alan Young, Asst. Superintendent, Education Services, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Joanne Durkee, Director Adult and Career Education, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Carolyn Plath, Principal. Ygnacio Valley High School, Shop Teacher - Terry Toliver, Adult Education Program Directors and Teachers and many of the 30 volunteers who worked on the project.

Specific Tasks Completed by the Volunteers:
  • Maple work benches and all vices restored
  • The central dust collection system refurbished
  • Teacher's office cleaned, painted and re-organized
  • Powermatic lathes repaired and painted
  • Locking cabinet built for the small jet lathe
  • Locking cabinet built for the lathe accessories and tools
  • Glue tables and clamp racks built for the clamp storage area
  • Storage lofts completely cleaned out.
  • Shop walls and cabinets were painted
  • The old shed foundation was dismantled
  • Built a chop saw table with dust collection
  • Built outfeed tables and sleds for table saws
  • Inoperative drill presses repaired
  • Built cabinet for drill press accessories
  • Mounted wall cabinets for the woodshop's library
  • The radial arm saw was restored
  • Three storage rooms were clean and organized
  • Large wall cabinets were cleaned and reorganized
  • The small hand tool storage area was refurbished
  • The Delta disk sander was relocated
  • The portable dust collector was repaired
  • All the lumber was sorted and stacked
  • Band saws were tuned up and blades replaced
  • Plexiglas in the door to classroom replaced
  • New scrap cart was constructed


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