Woodworking Mechanics: playful mechanisms – W0712-18

Date: Jul 16 - 20, 2018

Skill Level(s): I to II i

Instructor(s): Russell Baldon

Tuition: $975
Studio Fee: $100
Registration Fee: $45


Join us for a week of playful toy and object making, we will encourage and guide beginning and intermediate students to make their own automated and mechanical toys and sculptures. We will explore a range of mechanisms that can be modelled and used to express increasingly complex ideas. We will cover the main components used in these types of objects including bearings and shafts, cams and followers, cranks, linkages, ratchets, drives, gears and levers. The importance of play in our cognitive, physical, social and emotional well-being is well established. This course will focus on playing in the studio, while stretching the possibilities of woodworking.

Media & Techniques:

Students learn basic woodworking and metal techniques including machining, carving, cutting, joining and prototyping. Demonstrations focus on using the common tools of a wood shop to develop the parts necessary for our creations. All mechanisms are designed to be assembled and disassembled using friction fitting pins and fasteners.


Daily activities include individual and group discussions, lectures, design reviews, slide presentations, technical demonstrations, problem solving and individual work time. Additionally, we look at the history of this work. Participants work closely with the instructor to create their own original mechanical toys.


Russell Baldon is the program chair of the Furniture Department at California College of the Arts in San Francisco. He graduated from San Diego State University with an M.F.A. in furniture. Russell’s work outside of teaching focuses on how everyday objects communicate through the nonverbal language of design. www.russell-baldon.squarespace.com

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