A cacophony of saws, hammers and torches already makes the Pendleton High School metal shop sound like a factory floor, but by the end of the school year, welding teacher Marty Campbell and senior Duncan Hughbanks hope to actually turn it into one.
Under the tutelage of Campbell, Hughbanks is building the prototype for a wall tent stove. The stove is expected to become the backbone for Buckaroo Manufacturing, an initiative that could eventually yield some money for the school’s metal working program.
The idea started out with a contest.
The program had obtained a new computer numeric control cutting machine, and Campbell was trying to find a good use for it. After considering his options, Campbell eventually thought it would be good if his students put together wall tent stoves, wood burning stoves that are meant to heat up canvas tents.
He challenged his students to come up with a design for the stove. The winner would win a free welding mask.
“I only received one entry, but it was a good one,” Campbell said of Duncan’s design.
Duncan has used the ensuing time to build the prototype, which looked nearly complete by Jan. 22.
The stove was mostly assembled, complete with a cattle brand-inspired Buckaroo Manufacturing logo designed by Campbell.
But Duncan pointed out that there was still some tinkering to be done. During class, he fashioned a metal nub and then welded it onto the front of the stove’s vent cover. With the nub in place, users could more easily control the heat by moving the vent cover back and forth.
“This is Duncan’s baby, so he’s very meticulous,” Campbell said.
Campbell said Duncan has taken a larger interest in welding and metal work through the years in the shop. Not only would he work hard in class, but Duncan would also go home and read books and watch videos to improve his technique and skills.
Duncan’s work ethic impressed Campbell enough that he invited him to his ranch to help assemble a corral last summer.
With Duncan looking to get into a career in metalworking after he graduates from high school, he now spends many of his afternoons working on getting his welder’s certificate from Blue Mountain Community College.
And even when the prototype is complete and he leaves Pendleton High School behind, his design should still echo throughout the program.
Two students are already working on follow-ups to the prototype based on Duncan’s design. And the way Campbell envisions it, future students who don’t have anything to work on can go to work for Buckaroo Manufacturing building stoves.
Campbell hopes the program will eventually begin selling the stoves to local campers, with the proceeds going back into the high school’s metal classes.
Shoppers are unlikely to see a Buckaroo Manufacturing stove in the aisles of Cabela’s anytime soon, but Campbell said the handmade quality of each stove should make them hot items for outdoorsmen.