What types of Woodworking Classes would you like to attend?

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Forum topic by Edziu posted 09-06-2010 05:03 AM 1806 views 1 time favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Edziu's profile


151 posts in 3290 days

09-06-2010 05:03 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question classes education seminars class seminar

Hey there Fellow Lumberjocks.
I am currently trying to put together a list of classes and seminars for my job. We have previously offered classes like “Sharpening A-Z”, “Turning a Wooden Bowl on the Lathe”, “Table Saw 101”, and “Router 101”. Those were always very popular and we are most likely going to offer them again. I have a few retired shop teachers and various craftspeople ay my disposal as teachers, so any topic should be covered by one of them.

What type of class would you attend (or what would you have liked to attend earlier in your career/hobby?)

There are a few ground rules,
-The classes are not project based, ex. “Build a Morris Chair” We just don’t have that type of facility.
-The material should be no more than what could be covered in no more than 6 hours
-Hands-on is definitely OK, but not a must.

Let me know if you have any ideas!

18 replies so far

View newbiewoodworker's profile


668 posts in 3066 days

#1 posted 09-06-2010 05:46 AM

I would love to find classes on “How to easily make a square cut with a chisel..” I learned this one trying to make a knock out for some wires on a member of my bench… its as square as an egg…

Wouldnt be too hard; Provide a 2×4($2) a chisel ($10) and a mallet($10… or in my case a 16oz hammer…) as well as maybe some gloves and eye protection…. the latter I dont think is a big worry.. its not like grinding..

-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."

View Greedo's profile


473 posts in 3199 days

#2 posted 09-06-2010 01:24 PM

6 hours is quite short, i could come up with hundreds of 6 hour lesson packs that i would find essential.
one for every tool in the shop, one for every assembly menthod, etc…
but i follow evening school not for the theory wich you can find in books, but for the practice. thats the most important, not sure how much you can get in such a short time.

but anyway what’s the level of skill of the average follower? are they beginners or more advanced?

View ChuckV's profile


3183 posts in 3766 days

#3 posted 09-06-2010 01:45 PM

Here are a few ideas that might work:
  • Simple and Versatile Finishing Techniques
  • Hinge Installation
  • Woodworking Machinery Tuning & Maintenance

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

View tinnman65's profile


1364 posts in 3653 days

#4 posted 09-06-2010 01:50 PM

The first class I ever took was on joinery, I’m sure you could cover some of the basic joints in 6 hours.

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

View Woodbutcher3's profile


454 posts in 3125 days

#5 posted 09-06-2010 02:18 PM

Edziu – I do some classes for Woodcraft and have some of my outlines I could share.

-- Rod ~ There's never enough time to finish a project, but there's always time to start another one.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3313 days

#6 posted 09-06-2010 02:31 PM

You can learn a lot by reading and watching videos. A class should be oriented to things that you can’t learn as well from reading or videos. I call these the “feel skills”. For me, the best example is turning. Eventually, you get to know how the tool should feel in your hand and face to face instruction is the best way to learn that.

Other “feel things” that come to mind are – - Properly using hand planes, properly using chisels, hand cut dovetail joints, sharpening and using card scrapers and sharpening in general.

Some of these subjects may not take 6 hours but a combination could easily make for an interesting 6 hour class.

Note – in all of this I am assuming that you are planning to offer classes with plenty of hands-on opportunities. Other that the ability for answering questions, a lecture offers little more than what one can get from watching a video.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3313 days

#7 posted 09-06-2010 02:54 PM

I decided to come back with a completely different idea for a class.

I work with a wide variety of woods, including many exotics. Over the years I think I have learned quite a bit about these different woods. I have given 30 – 60 minute presentations where I provide samples of different woods and say something about each wood. I pass the woods around and I answer any questions (if I know the answer). I get very positive responses to these presentations. Fellow woodworkers get to see and learn about woods they had never heard of and/or woods they had heard of but never seen.

Some woodworkers have always avoided exotics because they are too expensive. Many don’t realize that there are some reasonably priced exotics and, often, you can use an exotic as an accent piece and not need very much of it. People love to see, touch, feel and learn about woods like African Blackwood, Wenge, Bubinga, Cocobolo, Iroto, Limba, Lace wood, Leopard wood, Bloodwood, Chechen, Padouk, Purpleheart, etc. (I could go on and on). You can read about these woods in various places, but nothing beats seeing real examples.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Chiefk's profile


163 posts in 4010 days

#8 posted 09-06-2010 03:19 PM

For most new woodworkers one of the hardest aspects of woodworking is the finishing process. I would think a general finishing class would go over well. You could follow that up with more specific classes such as how to deal with splotch prone woods, a class of dyes, or on the different application of finishes (wipe-on, brushed, and sprayed). pkennedy

-- P Kennedy Crossville, TN

View doninvegas's profile


334 posts in 3146 days

#9 posted 09-06-2010 05:44 PM

For me I would love to take classes on joinery. Particularly mortise and tenon joints.

-- "Courage is being scared to death -- but saddling up anyway."

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 3430 days

#10 posted 09-06-2010 06:04 PM

I think Rich, has a great idea. I only work with the most common woods because there is some
element of predictability. Knowing how wood will react over the years, application indoor out door,
the effect wood has on tooling, I want my projects to out last me and still look good and function.

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 3222 days

#11 posted 09-06-2010 07:23 PM

If I were to take a class, it would have to be on hand tools and how to get the most from them. A small project can involve several different hand tools an allow for you to learn about them and technics in using them. It could even be use in combination with a joinery class to make it even more interesting. Not sure how many classes you would be doing. But those would be 2 classes I would be inclined to attend.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3347 days

#12 posted 09-06-2010 08:05 PM

For me, I like project based classes. I think within 6 hours, you could teach dovetails (machine and hand), all it would take is a few pine boards planed in advance to be square and have people make a dovetail box. Simple wood carving, finishing, planing (planing class could flatten the boards for the dovetail box class), make a scraper, things that give an application to the techniques taught.


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Edziu's profile


151 posts in 3290 days

#13 posted 09-07-2010 05:38 AM

Thank you all for the suggestions. Finishing, Joinery, Wood (types), Milling, Hardware installation, ALL great ideas.

The skill level of the students is from beginner to super advanced. Unfortunately we have too many people that think they know how to use a certain machine, and so they don’t want to pay for classes.

We’ve offered a hand-cut dovetails class (hands on) and never got even one taker. We even offered it with a well-known local woodworker, and NOTHING!

View rance's profile


4267 posts in 3399 days

#14 posted 09-07-2010 02:22 PM

As for your hand cut dovetails class not ‘making’, sometimes an out-of-towner draws more folks. Also, marketing & advertising has a lot to do with the attendance.

Where are you located Edziu?

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Edziu's profile


151 posts in 3290 days

#15 posted 09-08-2010 05:34 AM

Thanks for the suggestions rance. I’d like to think we marketed the class very well, we utilized our email list, and had flyers to hand out as well. AS much as I would like to offer the class with an out of towner, we have little more than a shoestring budget, so that’s pretty much out of the question, but I do understand where the appeal would come from.

I am located in Upstate New York.

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