Meet Kaylee Ames of North Haven

She built a clam rocker in shop class and knows how to use it

‘Hail To The Rad Kids’
Mon, 06/10/2019 - 12:30pm

    NORTH HAVEN — What we used to call ‘shop class’ in my day (and yes, I took shop, not Home Ec) is now called Diversified Trades, and Kaylee Ames, 17, a junior at North Haven Community School, took to it like a clam to water this trimester when she recreated a clam rocker out of pine with power tools.

    Kaylee is one of five students in NHCS’s Diversified Trades class, which is a program of Mid Coast School of Technology, in Owls Head. According to Kaylee’s Diversified Trades instructor, Joel Rowland, MCST offers instructors in this field of study at three island schools: North Haven, Vinalhaven and Islesboro.

    “We had the students practice using a variety of hand tools and power tools, and one of the projects was to design and build a toolbox,” he said. “Kaylee first built a toolbox for her grandfather. The clam rocker was Kaylee’s second effort after that.”

    To go clamming in Maine, one needs a couple of pieces of equipment: a clam fork (also known as rake), a roller, and a clam hod (or its more old-fashioned term: a rocker).

    The school had an additional project for Kaylee. They wanted some kind of basket to go with a raffle of items that NHCS was putting together for the Penobscot Bay Chamber of Commerce Expo in April.

    At the Expo, Kaylee and one of the magnet students, accompanied their instructor, Amanda Labelle, at a booth where the clam rocker stood out as the display for the raffle tickets. The lucky winner of that raffle will now get the chance to spend a couple of nights on North Haven this summer at Nebo Lodge, where, waiting in the person’s room will be the clam rocker to be taken home.

    Kaylee has gone clamming with her dad all of her life, hitting certain beaches at North Haven three seasons a year.

    “My dad makes his own clam rockers out of scrap wood and we have about three of them at home,” she said. “Everybody in my family has a certain one they like to use and that’s where I got the idea not just to make a wooden basket, but to make the basket out of a clam rocker. I knew how to design one because I know how it works.”

    In Rowland’s class, she said she used a band saw, a table saw and a thickness planer on pieces of pine to construct the clam rocker.

    Sure beats the spice rack that we had to make in our day.

    To find out more interesting stuff students are doing at visit: NHCS on Facebook

    Hail To The Rad Kids is an ongoing feature highlighting teens in the Midcoast with special talent. 

    Photos courtesy Kaylee Ames

    Kay Stephens can be reached at