AS 100 - Tools and their Applications



This course teaches safe, efficient use and maintenance of tools important to outdoor natural resource work, primarily: axe, crosscut saw, and chainsaw. Weekly sessions cover skills needed for timber harvesting, firewood processing, trail construction and maintenance, and outdoor building projects and form the foundation for skills developed further in other classes. Woodlot and trail-work skills are applied to the management of Sterling's land, and the management goals are discussed. Teamwork, personal responsibility, and personal confidence building are also goals of the class. Students are required to provide their own axe and personal protective gear.

Tools and Their Application 
(Fall 2011)

Instructors:  Adrian Owens, Allison Van Akkeren, Rick Thomas, John Zaber

This course is a combination of a 1 credit class and a 15 hour work program job for the Fall semester.  You will fill out a time card and submit it to your instructor to be signed at the end of each class.  Other work program procedures may also apply.

Dress to be outdoors, whatever the weather.




Projects & Tests

Axe Introduction            

Sense of Place

Keeping Warm with an Ax, Ch. 22

“Woodpile Axes”, Country Journal

Procure an Axe

Chopping & Splitting      

Sept. 26-30

Ways of the Woods, pp. 37-41

Keeping Warm with an Ax, Ch. 8,14,15

Axe condition

Axe Felling                      

Oct. 3-7

Keeping Warm with an Ax, Ch. 9,10,12

Axe condition, Chopping skill

Cross-cut Felling              

Oct. 10-14

Keeping Warm with an Ax, Ch. 26, 28

Axe condition, Felling skill

Reading Reaction 1

Forest Management and Clean-Up

Oct. 17-21

Sterling’s Forest Management Plan

Common Sense Forestry, pp 102-121

Tree felling instruction book due

  Weekend Service Project

Oct. 23rd or

Oct 30th

AMC - Trail Building & Maintenance,

1st+2nd ed. Ch. 4, 7         3rd ed. Ch. 5,7

Double weekly grade

Craftsbury Ski-trail Work                  

Oct. 24 -28

AMC - T B&M : ed1,2 ch 1+ 3   3rd ed. Ch. 2+ 3

Axe condition 

Craftsbury Ski-trail Work                              

Oct 31-Nov 4

AMC - T B&M : bridges + ski trails ch 8, 9, 11

Axe condition

*Chainsaw Assembly & Safety  

Nov. 7 - 11

Chainsaw Guide, pp.1-10, 60-65, 75-89, 97-112

Reading Reaction # 2

*Chainsaw Test & Bucking        

Nov. 14 -18

Chainsaw Guide, pp. 124-128

Chainsaw Quiz,

Required for every class:  personal axe (sharpened), permanent sheath, hard-hat, boots, and gloves. Name or initials are to be carved or clearly written on the axe handle.  Gloves will be worn at all times when sharpening axes and when working outside during class.

*Also required for power saw classes*  safety glasses and earplugs.

Course Objectives:        (for the 1 credit class and paid work sessions)

  1. To teach and practice skills essential to living and working outdoors through safe and efficient use of various tools.
  2. To instill a respect for tools and pride in one’s work.
  3. To accomplish useful projects on and off campus, including involvement in managing Sterling’s forest.        
  4. To teach good personal work habits.

  E.   To practice writing a detailed description of a process, including diagrams.

This course involves learning physical skills, which if performed incorrectly could result in personal injury.  Graded work also includes a written quiz and written projects; spelling is important for both.  If you have a learning difference or documented disability, please check in with Leland Peterson, Sterling College learning disabilities support person. Leland can help you determine what accommodations would be helpful for you in this course.  Your section instructor can meet with you and Leland.

College Grades:

College grade (A-F) is based on:

        Axe sharpness and condition                 20%                        Axe sharpness and condition grades (5,4,3,0 ) are based on:

        Weekly grade                                      40%                                Good bevel for chopping                   Solid handle, well attached

        Skill assessments                                  10%                                Sharp edge, no burr                              No rust

        Tree felling instruction book                 15%                                Evidence of recent work                     Labeled with name or inits.

        Reading reaction                                  10%                                Having your own axe, that you sharpened yourself 

Axes will be graded 5 times. The best 4 of the 5 will be used for the final grade.

        Chainsaw safety quiz                             5%                                      

The Weekly Grade (a total of 10 points) is determined by:         (An absence that is not made up scores as a zero)

5 pts.        Productive and safe work all class and came with own axe in sturdy & protective sheath        

3 pts.        Wore sturdy boots, hardhat and gloves for the whole class

2 pt.         Arrived on time, in your assigned section                

On weeks which eye and ear protection is required, deductions of 1 point will be made for

missing equipment.        

Skill assessments will happen once you have had at least one week to learn and practice the skill.

Assessment areas are 1) chopping, 2) tree felling,.  

        Qualities looked for include:        care and proper use of tools, quality of work/skills, following taught procedures, and safe work habits.

                The skill grade of :                                                                

                        5            represents a high level of achievement – equivalent to an A        

                        4            an average level – between a B and a C        

                        3            shows that the observed skill was lacking, but still passing

                        2 - 0      failed to fulfill basic expectations   OR absent and not made-up

Effort grades (E, S, U) are based on, but not limited to, the following observed attributes:

  1. Positive attitude to learn new skills
  2. Teamwork during work and clean-up
  3. Progress beyond previous skills and experience

Time Sheets: 
You will fill out a time sheet at the end of each class and give it to the instructor. For each weekly class that you fully participate in you will earn 1.5 hours in the work program in the Tools Chores position. The same expectations outlined in the Weekly Grade above still apply for the section of class for which you can be paid. Deficits may be reflected by time deducted. If you are unprepared to work safely, but are still allowed to attend class to watch and learn new skills, you will not be paid. If you are asked to work beyond the 3 hr class period, you will be paid for half the extra time. Consequences for lateness and absences will follow Work Program guidelines similar to those for Residence chores.