Woodworking Classes for all Skill Levels
Woodworking classes can teach you the basics of woodworking by completing simple hands-on projects that can help to increase your skill level while building your confidence. Each class is designed to allow students to explore different areas of woodworking that are essentially the building blocks for all future projects. Most beginner-level courses are designed with the average DIYer in mind, so these courses are conducted using basic handheld power tools with no need for larger tools such as drill presses.
Woodworking Courses for Beginners
Beginner woodworking courses often focus on the fundamentals of woodworking, teaching students how to make perfect holes and straight cuts, moving on to making miters and mastering the router. Often the beginner’s class will culminate in a capstone project that’s designed to tie all of the newly learned skills together. With basic projects throughout the duration of the course, this kind of hands-on approach is definitely satisfying.
If you’re new to woodworking but you don’t know where to begin, this type of class may be the path for you. These courses will focus on hands-on learning that is customized to fit each student’s needs. Your current goals, knowledge, and abilities will be combined with achievable, practical projects that can help you to develop your woodworking skills.
Here is an example of the basic material covered in courses for different skill levels: basic woodworking practicums, designing and building small projects, hand tool work, and turning for beginners.
Intermediate courses focus more on cabinet making, finishing techniques and skills, machine and hand joinery skills, cabinetry design, and an advanced capstone project.
Advanced programs in woodworking will cover veneering and inlay, lamination, advanced project design, introduction to carving, chair making, making curves, advanced finishing techniques and skills, and a graduate project.
Seven Skills You’ll Learn in Basic Woodworking Programs
Here is a list of some of the basic skills you’ll learn and develop in a woodworking course designed for the beginner level. None of these skills will require exotic tools or expensive machinery. These are simply foundational skills every woodworker needs to know.
First up, you need to understand how wood behaves and works. Before you start working on lumber, you should know what direction to plane a board. When a tree grows, the growth ring layers will continuously build on each other, producing beautiful grain that shows in lumber. This grain can make learning to plane a little tricky, especially if you ignore the right direction to work. You should also know how wood contracts and expands as the level of humidity fluctuates during the year. Ignoring this can be disastrous.
Too many people mistakenly believe that working with hand tools is really difficult work, and it can be if you’re using dull tools. If you notice that your saw needs an extra amount of push in order to cut or you’re using too much muscle to plane, you’re not doing yourself any favors. Learning how to sharpen and care for your tools is a foundational skill because it’s something you need to do regularly. Working with dull tools is not only inefficient, it can be dangerous. Once you know how to sharpen your hand tools, you’ll find your work is cleaner, more efficient and definitely more enjoyable.
With most hand tools, the basic technique used is usually self-explanatory. However, not all of them are exactly intuitive. In order to use some of these hand tools properly, you’ll need a bit of instruction and a lot of practice in order to develop the instinct of adjusting the cut from coarse to fine. Using a hand plane can be tricky work for the beginner, fortunately, courses often focus on this technique at the beginning of the program.
Learning how to prep lumber will also be an important skill that’s covered. You won’t learn lumber prep using expensive machines, instead, instructors will focus on using only hand tools. If you learn how woodworkers worked their lumber before machines dominated the industry, you’ll find that working by hand is not only viable but more efficient.
The most fundamental joint in all wood construction is the tenon joint. Whenever you need to join a horizontal member to a vertical member, you’ll need to interlock the pieces using a right angle. Fitting a tenon into a mortise creates a solid ninety-degree joint. While it looks intuitive to make, achieving a tight, nice fit will require a lot of practice and careful technique.
Dovetail joints is another skill you’ll learn. The dovetail joint is an impressively strong way to join the corners of a board. This technique is composed of one side that’s cut into wedge-shaped tails that will fit into the corresponding pins. When they’re joined together the shape of the wedge will prevent the lumber from sliding apart.
After devoting much of your time in class to building a nice chest or table, you’ll need to learn how to finish it. A finish will protect and beautify the piece you have been working so hard on to create. There are many beautiful finishes to choose from. Your instructor will teach you how to determine the best finish for your piece, based on design, grain and wood type. Then, you’ll learn how to expertly apply it and what to do in the event drips, streaks and other mistakes are made during application.
Certificate Programs in Furniture Making for Intermediate Woodworkers
Learning how to design and build furniture can be a completely physical and emotionally fulfilling process. Students can take these skills and use them around the home, in their workshop or on a professional level. This program is only recommended for woodworkers who have completed a beginners course or have extensive experience working with wood.
Furniture making certificate programs can be taken in individual classes or stages or continuously over the period of one year. A student who graduates from this type of program will be able to design and create and finish furniture on their own with the skill to design. Graduates will also be qualified for employment in the furniture making field.
During this time students of woodworking classes will learn on well-maintained power tools including table saws, miter saws, drill presses, jointers, shapers, router tables, mortising machines, drum sanders, master workbenches, vacuum press, disc sanders, and countless hand tools.