|Review by BenR||posted 08-20-2013 12:27 AM||3736 views||0 times favorited||9 comments|
Several years ago, I became interested in woodworking. I liked the idea of working with my hands and having something beautiful to give as a gift or pass down to the next generation. Since I didn’t have the slightest idea how to begin, I thought I would take a class. I found Lonnie’s school, and it was only about a 6-7 hour drive for me, I signed up for the Woodworking Essentials class. We made a shaker table, and I was hooked. Since then, I have taken three other classes at the school. Lonnie’s classes are in Dandridge TN on his property. Most of the work taught is by hand, save an occasional bandsaw or router cut. Beginning in the first class, we were introduced to sharpening tools, cutting dovetails by hand, planning off machine marks, mortising by machine, and how wood moves. In other classes, I have learned line and berry inlay with hand tools, tombstone frame and panel door making, fitting mouldings, fitting a drawer, fitting a door to the case, installation of locks and hinges, and more.
I find Lonnie’s instruction to be top notch, as well as his skills. In addition to explaining how to do something, Lonnie shows how to do it. It’s the picture is worth a thousand words thing. His method of teaching is just to jump in and get started as he will help you along. Lonnie has an easy going style, and it is easy to catch his enthusiasm about woodworking. He has every confidence that he can teach you (even me) how to make beautiful furniture.
Each class is six days of instruction from 8am to 5pm, with a Subway lunch provided. You can bring your own wood rough cut, or buy it from his associate Jason Bennett and have it waiting on you when you get to the school. Usually there are eight or nine students per class. Everyone has his/her own bench. Lonnie comes around and checks on each student individually a couple of times a day. You are free to ask questions at all times. The cost is about $ 1200.00 per class, plus wood. You bring your own hand tools. I believe it is money well spent. I find it frustrating and slow to learn on my own. But, as “they” say, the proof is in the pudding. Check out my projects to see the line and berry spice box and keepsake box I made in his classes (I also made a hanging corner cabinet, which I haven’t finished). He really can teach you to woodwork. All in all, it is a nice privilege to take a week just to woodwork in rural Tennessee. Highly recommended.