|Review by cellophane||posted 09-13-2011 06:18 PM||2806 views||0 times favorited||1 comment|
- Ted Harlan Furniture Building and Lutherie Classes
- Brand: Ted Harlan | Category: Courses
I stumbled onto Ted’s studio while looking for woodworking classes here in Louisville and have been immensely satisfied with everything I’ve done in the classes. I have taken a class or two at Woodcraft and they were good but there was just something missing for me. After sending an email and visiting the shop I signed up for a relatively intro level class making a shaker style coffee table.
The course was in 3 hour sessions and lasted roughly 2 months, meeting once a week. We started with the basics of wood – grain, cut types, how it moves, how to choose a piece, how the wood will stress and react and how to compensate for it and so on. From there we started with a raw piece of lumber and went through the entire milling process and in the end ended up with a very nice table. There was a good deal of hand work, using chisels and planes in addition to power tools but Ted’s personal interests and enthusiasm really shines when working with hand tools. Wood selection was up to the student and ranged from Oak and Poplar to Cherry and Mahogany. Through the entire process the how’s and why’s of the methods and techniques were explained and the explanations were easy to pick up, even for novice woodworkers.
At the conclusion of the furniture class it turned out there was a guitar building class starting up the following week which I very quickly signed up for as well as talking a friend into building one with me. The guitar class is a build for a flat-top acoustic guitar and is a similar format – 3 hour sessions spanning about a year. We are currently about half-way through the class. The style of the guitar is up to the student and are generally based on the Martin Dreadnaught. Wood selection and details are all individual with enough notice to order wood but most are spruce tops with rosewood sides & backs. Inlay around the rosette varies from a traditional mother of pearl to wood – most people in my class are using purpleheart. The guitar class focuses very heavily on hand crafting with very little machining other than sanding for thickness and ripping braces. Guitars are individually toned and I think we are all suprised at how unique each piece ends up being even though the end result is the same basic guitar.
Overall I HIGHLY recommend his classes to anyone in the area. The instruction is top notch and it is very evident that Ted enjoys both teaching and woodworking. Classes are $10 / hour plus materials. The general comraderie of the courses is also great – and I just signed up for another class, building a workbench – focusing on more traditional techniques and styles instead of investing a load of money into hardware (i.e. hold-downs and dogs instead of vices.) Ted is always around to answer questions, even if they don’t relate to the class about wood selection, tool selection, techniques and even other resources.
I don’t currently have a good picture of the table – if I can get one I’ll add it later – and that’s not me in the picture above.