Over the past two years that I have worked at Bramhall, I have had the pleasure of working alongside Clarence. He always has wisdom to bestow upon me every time that I am in his office and he truly is the quintessential renaissance man. I had the opportunity to sit down and talk to him about one of his hobbies - other than engineering of course!
What got you interested in wood working? I took wood shop in junior high like all boys of my generation. I still go back there in my mind when I hear a power tool or smell fresh cut wood. I always wanted to make furniture or a larger craft, but lacked the time and the money for tools. As I got older and became an "empty nester," I had time to turn my attention to other things. That is when I decided to buy a table saw, I kept it in the box for a year. I was afraid to use it. You need to know what you are doing or you will hurt yourself, I'm still waiting on the more time and more money part though!
Is wood working something that relaxes you? I enjoy working in my woodshop. When I am out there working on a project I am often listening to the radio, working on a project and thinking about my family.
Where do you draw inspiration from to craft your projects? I used to read a lot of woodworking magazines, but as time has progressed I can find many ideas on the web.
Is there a particular item that you've made that really sticks with you? I really enjoyed making the mantle shelf for my daughter-in-law. I was tentative about cutting every piece of wood, afraid that I would make a mistake, but it all turned out ok.
Do you think that your engineering background plays a role in your expertise with wood working? Yes, seeing 3D objects and breaking it down to a plan and parts list is fun. I really haven't had time do what I would like to do...I have a million ideas in me, or I should say that I've borrowed from other real wood workers.
Drag racing has been a part of Stephen's entire life, from watching his uncle and dad race, until he was old enough to start racing himself. At the age of 11 years old, he began his racing career. His first car was a junior dragster with 5 horsepower (hp) Briggs and Straton engine that wasn't the belle of the ball by any means, but he was hooked.
Once he was on the cusp of ending his junior career, his dad surprised him with a bigger motor that produced more horsepower, changing his 1/8 mile speed to 9.2 seconds at 60 miles per hour. His junior dragster days ended when he turned 17.
The following season he jumped into the adult program and raced his dad's 1972 Chevy Nova for a couple of years. His dad decided to sell the Nova and they bought a hard tail dragster. They put a Nova's motor in the dragster and man, did that thing fly! It took his 1/4 mile speed to 9.3 seconds at 145 miles per hour. Two years later they upgraded motors to a 427 Dart Little M Block that was producing 650 hp at the flywheel (in other words, real fast). This picked them up a whole second in the 1/4 mile to 8.3 seconds at 160 miles per hour.
Stephen's current project is a new swing arm dragster with a mono shock, which will allow him to compete at different tracks that aren't as smooth as Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio that he currently races at. He tried to debut the new dragster at the 2016 spring warm-up at Summit but, alas, the car was not quite ready. Although the new dragster currently isn't performing as good as he'd hoped, his passion and drive for the sport are one that no car can pass.
In the late days of June one of our co-ops embarked on a journey to Guatemala to change the life of a family - little did he know he would be the one returning changed. Patrick Sours, a senior civil engineering major at The Ohio State University, traveled to Panajachel, Guatemala with OSU's Humanitarian Engineering Scholars Program.
Colaboración Guatemala worked with families on five different projects: (1) gray water recycling, (2) comparative study of cook stoves, (3) comparative study of solar lanterns, (4) comparative study of water filtration systems, and (5) STEM education. Within these five different projects, the students were able to chose which project they wanted to focus on. Patrick chose the analysis and installation of cook stoves for Mayan families based on their needs.
Before the group could get to the meat of their work, they had to research the skeleton - what are the characteristics of a cook stove? Once the students had this understanding they identified factors that would influence the final decision of which stove would be installed. The parameters were discussed with Mayan families and are listed based on the factor the families considered most important - safety, availability in Guatemala, fuel efficiency, cost, size, and the ability to produce warmth. After researching four different cook stoves and interviewing multiple families, the group decided that the Chispa Hogar was the best option. Due to the group's research and hard work, 8 Guatemalan families received new cook stoves.