School Days (Get Woodworking!)

Wall Cabinet by Henry Hewitt (photo Kari Logwood)
Wall Cabinet by Henry Hewitt (photo Kari Logwood)

Yes, it’s that time of year again! Time for the College of the Redwoods Fine Woodworking Mid Winter Show and, as usual, the show is stunning. Check out the comprehensive gallery of the show’s offerings posted by Kari Logwood on her blog, WoodWabbet. I know we’re off the beaten path here in Fort Bragg, California, at the end of several roads, really. But this show is worth a bit of a drive. A beautiful drive, too. Hurry, though, as the show closes the ninth of this month. The reception will be this Friday, the seventh, and is always a great party. I’ll be behind the bar, as usual pouring wine and opening bottles of beer. I hope to see you there!

Bocote Plane by James Krenov
Bocote Plane by James Krenov

The CR FWW program launched my career as a blade maker and I couldn’t be more grateful. I was in the right place at the right time, thirty-odd years ago, when James Krenov and his class needed better blades for the planes they make and use and was (just barely) smart enough to follow along on what has been a truly wonderful adventure. It’s been a real privilege to know every instructor and every student. The students are usually fairly accomplished woodworkers when they apply (but not always). The year-long program hones existing skills and develops new ones galore. Regardless of the skill level going in, every student comes out a master artisan.

Logo, GWW14

Woodworking schools and classes are abundant right now. Close your eyes, start walking and you’ll likely bump into one. No matter your skill level, you can always improve. If you’re a complete novice, never touched a plane or chisel, you can find a class situation that will build the skills you need to make beautiful works of wood. And if you already have some skills, you can always improve them and learn new ones. I have a (very incomplete) list at that I’ve copied here (in no particular order):

College of the Redwoods (James Krenov’s) Fine Woodworking Program check out this great web site!
Inside Passage (Robert Van Norman carries on the James Krenov tradition)
The Northwest Woodworking Studio (Rogowski’s place in Portland, OR)
Four Sisters Woodworking Vacations (right here in Fort Bragg, CA)
The Windsor Workshop (West Sussex, England)
Red Rocks School of Fine Woodworking and Lutherie (Lakewood, Colorado)
The Woodworking School (Buckley, Washington)
Rosewood Studio  (Ontario, Canada)
The Woodworker Academy   (Alameda, CA)
Center for Furniture Craftsmanship   (Rockport, ME)
Island Mountain Arts – (British Columbia, Canada)
American Woodworking Academy  (O’Fallon, MOi)
New England School of Architectural Woodworking (Easthampton, MA)
David Charlesworth’s Courses Site   (Devon, England)
John Lloyd Fine Furniture  Courses in furniture making and restoration (East Sussex, England)

The editors of Fine Woodworking Magazine maintain a much more comprehensive list as well. I am amazed at the number of offerings. Also, ask your local community college or woodworking supply store if and when they offer classes. You may be surprised what’s available nearby. Don’t be afraid to jump in. Nobody was born knowing how to do this. It’s never too late to learn. Woodworking is such a rewarding activity. Step off the curb and join the parade. It’s time to GET WOODWORKING!

Author: Ron Hock

Owner of HOCK TOOLS (.com) and author of "The Perfect Edge, the Ultimate Guide to Sharpening for Woodworkers"

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