Schedule of Classes - Spring- Summer - 2019:
This is a series of hands on furniture making classes that should be taken in succession as each project builds on skills learned in the previous classes.
This series is not a required prerequisite for any other classes contained in this schedule.
A hands-on course that covers the basic concepts of woodworking and furniture making. This eight-session class is a combination of demonstrations and hands-on practice. General shop safety (with particular concentration on using the tablesaw) is emphasized. Students will utilize the skills, techniques and tools (both power and hand-tools) being taught in the class in the making of a walnut jewelry box. This project could also be used to store a variety of other personal items. Skills learned will provide a strong foundation for subsequent furniture-making classes. Class size is limited to 12 students. Tuition: $395.00 plus materials ($59.00)
Section 020419A: Monday evenings, February 4 - April 1, 6:00PM - 9:30PM
Section 040319A: Wednesday evenings, April 3 - May 22, 6:00PM - 9:30PM
(Note: Tim Spratlin is the instructor for these classes)
(This class is a required prerequisite for other classes in the "Fundamentals of Furniture-making" series (Woodworking II & III) and has always proven worthwhile to beginner and advanced students alike. IT IS NOT A PREREQUISITE FOR ANY OTHER CLASSES ON THE SCHEDULE)
General tool list (will open in a new window)
An eight-session class that is a continuation of the Woodworking I class. This class utilizes a combination of hand tools and power tools in the construction of a valuable piece of furniture. Techniques learned in the previous class are put to extensive use as more advanced techniques and skills are introduced. Mortise and tenon joints, grain matching, and using handplanes are a few of the new skills students will learn while making a cherry hall table as their project. Class size is limited, Woodworking I is a prerequisite. Tuition: $395.00 plus materials ($225.00).
Section 040819A: Monday evenings, April 8 - June 3, 6:00PM - 9:30PM,
(Note: Tim Spratlin is the instructor for Woodworking I & II)
General tool list (will open in a new window)
This class concentrates on the techniques used in cabinet making rather than those used in furniture making. Tim Spratlin is a professional cabinetmaker who brings with him years of labor saving tricks and techniques which students will find invaluable when completing their own projects at home. A medium sized painted plywood bookshelf is the project for this class and features techniques such as cutting plywood panels to size, using solid wood edging, making and applying a molding, making a mitered base, using a Kreg jig and working with a router. The design of the bookcase features a plinth base, adjustable shelves and decorative moldings. This class is designed for beginner and intermediate woodworkers who are interested in learning techniques they can use in numerous home improvement projects. The bookcase utilizes common portable power tools that most homeowners would have or might be considering purchasing. This class will provide you with the foundation skills needed for more advanced projects such as kitchen cabinets, storage cabinets, entertainment centers, counter tops and more. Sign up today. Space is limited. Tuition: $325.00 plus materials
Section 020919A: Saturday & Sunday, February 9 & 10, 9:30am - 5:00pm
General Tool list (will open in a new window)
The pinnacle of home cabinetmakinag is the kitchen cabinet. This is also a subject that many people have asked for over the years. Tim Spratlin is a professional cabinet maker and is able to show you loads of time saving techniques to help you on your way to building your own kitchen cabinets. You may just be interested in a simpler project like a bathroom vanity– but the techniques and principles are all the same! Tim will review the standards involved in modern kitchen design; ie. the height of counters, depths of cabinets, etc., and demonstrate the installation process. The cabinet you will make in class is a small (about 28” wide) free standing unit that utilizes all the challenges you will face in building a full set of cabinets. The project will incorporate a face frame, a raised panel door, a drawer, a laminated top and European hardware. Options for different types of countertops will be discussed. The cabinet you make in class could then be used at home as a free standing vanity, a storage cabinet or even a sharpening station in a workshop- but more importantly, it will give you the knowledge and confidence to tackle that larger kitchen project that you have been putting off! If you’ve been waiting for the right time to rebuild your kitchen, then this class will get you started on the right track. This class meets four full days over two weekends. Tuition $495.00 plus materials.
Section 031619A: Saturday & Sunday, March 16 & 17 & April 6 & 7, 9:30am - 5:00pm
general tool list (will open in a new window)
Have you been intrigued with the idea of learning to turn a bowl but are not ready to commit to a 6 week class?. This one day class will get you hooked on turning– Guaranteed! Students will learn some of the basics of woodturning and will come away with a finished shallow cherry bowl and the new found knowledge to turn more. Who knows– you might even jump in head first and find a whole new passion!!
Sharp tools are essential so we will be spending a little time at the grinder learning about sharpening bowl gouges and scrapers. Techniques for sanding and finishing bowls will also be covered. This is a great class –even if you have turned a number of bowls already or have never even thought of turning a bowl. Sign up today. Space is limited to the number of lathes we have!
Tuition: $125.00 plus materials.
Section 060119B, Saturday, June 1, 9:30am - 5:00pm
This six evening class is designed for the beginning (or frustrated) woodturner and features extensive hands-on practice each night. Woodturning is a skill that requires some basic instruction and lots of practice. Students are turning on their own lathe most of each night of the class. Class starts with basic spindle and includes a few simple projects like a mallet and spinning tops. We then move on to face plate turning which includes some cherry and mahogany bowls and plates. Along the way we spend time learning about tool sharpening and general information about lathes, tools, chucks and various jigs used in woodturning. This is a great way to safely get into woodturning and gives you a good foundation for other more advanced turning classes and projects. Tuition: $295.00 plus materials ($49.00)
Section 020619B: Wednesday evenings, February 6 - March 13, 6:00pm - 9:30pm
Section 041519B: Monday evenings, April 15 - May 20, 6:00pm - 9:30pm
Many people have asked for a beginning turning class to be offered in a weekend format. This class will cover much of the same material as the six-night class but because of time constraints we will not be able to cover as much material in as much depth. The class will cover spindle turning, bowl turning and basic lathe use, safety and sharpening. Students will have the opportunity to make a number of spindle and faceplate projects during the weekend including a mallet, a bowl and a small plate or platter. This is a great introduction to the fascinating craft of woodturning. Tuition: $275.00 (plus materials: $32.00)
Section 012619B:Saturday & Sunday,January 26 & 27,9:30am– 5:00pm
Section 042719B: Saturday & Sunday, April 27 & 28, 9:30am - 5:00pm
Many students have asked for a class that offers the opportunity to turn bowls and only bowls. Students will have the opportunity to turn a shallow bowl, a deeper bowl, and time permitting- a third bowl or a plate (think very shallow bowl…). Participants will learn to make jigs and fixtures that will be useful in finishing the bottom of any bowl. We will get into the use of a four jaw chuck as well as alternative ways to hold the work on the lathe without using a commercially made chuck. Sharp tools are essential so we will be spending time at the grinder learning about sharpening bowl gouges and scrapers. Techniques for sanding and finishing bowls will also be covered. This is a great class whether you have turned a number of bowls already or have never even thought of turning a bowl. Sign up today. Space is limited to the number of lathes we have!
Tuition: $275.00 plus materials.
Section 022319B: Saturday & Sunday, February 23 & 24, 6:00pm – 9:30pm
Most woodworkers shy away from finishing or are disappointed in their attempts at finishing the projects they have spent so much time and effort in making. Greg Massicotte has been finishing furniture professionally for over twenty years and has taught countless seminars and classes. Students will learn about bleaching and wood preparation, how to use aniline dyes, pigmented stains and glazes in combination to create the dramatic effects and colors they want. The many different choices for top coats always create a lot of questions. This class will expose students to brushing on varnishes, wiping on oils and spraying lacquers. This experience will help clarify the strengths and weaknesses of each topcoat system. Rubbing out the finish and French Polishing will round out the class. With the huge number of finishing questions that come up daily, you should be sure to fit this valuable class in. Tuition $295.00 (plus materials: $45.00)
Section 022519B: Monday evenings, February 25 - April 1, 6:00pm—9:00pm
Zen of French Polish with John Coffey
French polish is a technique for putting shellac on wood as a finish. Shellac is perhaps the most versatile finish that can be used to finish furniture–it is hard and durable, it is restorable without having to remove it, and best of all it may be the most beautiful finish you could put on a piece of furniture!
One main benefit of French polish is it can be applied in less than ideal finishing conditions. Dust is not an issue as the polish dries almost as soon as it is rubbed on. The polisher can stop at any time in the process and pick it up at a later date. Best of all, the technique puts very little material on a surface, even irregular ones.
As an antique restorer, I am often required to put on a finish that preserves the color and texture of their surface–I cannot sand the surface. French polishing is uniquely suited for this task. The technique follows the undulating character of old surfaces, or handplaned surfaces, filling the grain until the surface is lustrous and polished.
In a two-day class I will show my technique for French polishing by assisting the student in their own project. The student can expect to be well on his way to finishing a small table or chest but, more importantly, will learn the skill of applying shellac using a pad in such a way that only the thinnest of coatings will be between the observer and the object, allowing the natural beauty of the wood to show through.
The woodworker spends so much time selecting just the right board, perfecting his or her technique on cutting dovetails and tenons, why not make sure the work receives what it deserves–the best finish possible. The old saw is never truer: while a good finish might be able to hide poor woodworking, a bad finish will take away from even the best work.
John Coffey is an antique restorer in Locust Valley, NY. John has taken conservation classes at the Smithsonian Institute and at Dakota County Technical College (MN) with senior conservator at the Smithsonian, Donald C. Williams. He has assisted with the "Ten Thousand Springs Pavilion" exhibit for the Smithsonian Institute in both Washington, D.C. and when it was in Flushing, Queens, N.Y. John holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Hobart College (NY). Sign up today!
Tuition: $295.00 plus materials
Section 020219A: Saturday & Sunday, February 2 & 3, 9:30am - 5:00pm
Over the years I have done hundreds of classes which feature projects that teach particular skills. The problem with these project classes is that the logistics of the class prevent us from spending sufficient time on any given new skill to really understand and gain any kind of proficiency in it. In this 6 week (4 days per week) class there is no project– Just skills, technique and practice. With no project to distract us we are able to spend days rather than hours to insure learning of basic– and not so basic—furniture making skills and techniques. When I changed the format of this class to no project, just skills- I really believe it has become one of the best classes I have offered in years. Everyone really learns a lot and has a great time!
Plan on spending two to three days on the basic milling process– a strong foundation is essential to more advanced techniques. Instead of learning just enough to get through dovetailing a drawer, plan on spending at least three full days– maybe four, on dovetails. With these new hand skills, cutting a dovetail or a tenon by hand turns out to be a pretty simple affair which you will be able to do! FYI- You will be cutting a set of dovetails every day of this class.
Machine set ups? I already know how to set up the machine– so in this class I will not set anything up– You will do that– after my demo and explanation of course. You will learn what it takes to flatten a tabletop– by machine and by hand, and glue up a tabletop– using one clamp and a handplane.
We will get into planning a project, basic wood technology, buying lumber, tool sharpening, cutting joints -by machine and by hand, along with basic finishing techniques .
Ornamentation is a big part of fine furniture so plan on spending a few days on working with veneers, inlay and making decorative bandings. It is always good to get a second viewpoint so I have arranged for some guest instructors to spend a day or two with us. Will Neptune will be here to do a day of hands on carving and hopefully Mike Pekovich will be able to stop by to introduce you to some of his design ideas and techniques.
Plan on expanding your ideas on furniture making and design- and plan on taking a few field trips to inspect some of the finest furniture made in Connecticut- entirely by hand!
Proficiency in handtools is essential in any high end furniture making and we will spend a lot of our time on just that– plan on spending at least a whole day - probably two- just on working with handplanes– and at least another whole day just on sharpening.
Because the handtools you are using are so critical to your success I am strongly recommending ( I repeat- STRONGLY RECOMMENDING!) you purchase the tapered dovetail saw from Lie Nielsen Toolworks. My experience shows that this is one of the best doveail saws on the market at a very fair price (mention that you are taking the class at CVSW to recieve the 10% student discount). Cheaper saws will just frustrate you and after using mine you will probably just end up buying it anyway!
We will emphasize the proper and safe use of common woodshop machinery such as the table saw, jointer, thickness planer, router and bandsaw. The school has a full complement of ready to use high end hand tools and power tools which you are welcome to use. These tools also will give you some experience and guidance in picking out your own tools which you will eventually need to acquire.
Section 011519A: Monday - Thursday, April 15 - May 23, 8:30am - 4:30pm
(note: no class April25)
General tool list (will open in a new window)
There are innumerable styles of ball and claw feet found in early furniture. The most distinctive styles are generally associated with New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Newport. They were all based on a stylized Chinese dragon’s foot and the most lifelike and distinctive of all is the ball & claw that originated in Newport, Rhode Island. Among the Rhode Island examples, the carvings from John Townsend are the most dynamic and expressive in their execution and design. In this two-day hands on class we will carve a Townsend example from an early high chest that once belonged to an early governor of Connecticut.
Al Breed is a leading expert on the history and construction of Newport Style furniture and works very closely with such distinguished institutions as the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the Yale Art Gallery. He has written numerous articles for Fine Woodworking Magazine. Al is also a recipient of the SAPFMM Cartouche award and runs his own school in Southern Maine.
Don’t miss this unique opportunity to learn from one of our country’s leading experts. There are a number of carving tools that you will need to bring with you. That list is on the school website www.schoolofwodworking.com.
Sign up today, space is limited. Tuition: $345.00 plus materials
Section 030219A: Saturday & Sunday, March 2 & 3, 9:30am – 5:00pm
Take the plunge and begin to learn about Japanese Joinery- done completely by hand. Japanese furniture joints- and most Oriental joinery, is seemingly complex but under Andrew Hunter’s careful guidance you are assured of getting on the right road to learning some intriguing and fascinating furniture joints. You will begin this series with a Japanese scarf joint. This blind dadoed, rabbeted and keyed scarf joint is a mouthful to say, but with a little guidance even a beginning woodworker is capable of making one. Known as a Kanawa tsugi, it has been used in Japan for centuries to splice together two beams, creating a single, longer beam capable of sustaining multi-directional forces. For this class, the Kanawa tsugi is a great way to develop your skills as a woodworker.
Each student will make their own two-part joint entirely with hand tools. First, you will learn how to layout the joint using a center line as a reference plane, a method that allows irregular shaped members to be seamlessly fit together. Next, you will saw, chop and pare to the lines. Then, assuming the critical first steps are correct, assembly should be a breeze and the tapered pin drives it home.
Andrew will have some of his own Japanese tools for students to try or you can bring your own. The school’s Western style hand tools are also available, and this is a great opportunity to try both Western & Japanese tools to do the same jobs. Whichever tools you choose, Andrew will broaden your understanding of how to use them correctly and efficiently. He has been building furniture by hand for over 20 years and is passionate about encouraging people to strengthen their building skills and cultivate an appreciation for the craft of woodworking. Sign up today for this truly unique and challenging class.
Tuition $295.00 plus materials
Section 051819B: Saturday & Sunday, May 18 & 19, 9:30am – 5:00pm
In this unique demonstration Fine Woodworking Magazine Author & Director of the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking, Bob Van Dyke will begin with a review of basic techniques and concepts for safe and effective use of this shop workhorse. Bob will go on to concentrate his demonstration on the many uses of a little known tablesaw fixture called an “L” fence. With this simple and ingenious jig, tasks such as cutting any angle at all, flush cutting to a pattern and cutting concentrically larger or smaller shapes become safe, accurate and incredibly easy.
We will examine the many practical applications for these unique techniques and then go on to explore techniques for cutting accurate shoulders on curved furniture parts, simple techniques to cut angled tenons and safe and efficient ways to cut bevels on large panels without getting any burning.
Bob's presentation assumes a working knowledge of the tablesaw and will focus on techniques specific to furniture making. This is not a beginning tablesaw demonstration.
This comprehensive demonstration will leave you wondering -“It is so simple! Why didn't I think of that!”
Section 030819A: Friday, March 8, 9:30am - 12:30pm
Stop making compromises with your router. Stop getting “close enough”. Learn how to use some of the most abundant molding planes of the past to get the exact edge you are after. Hollows and rounds do not make specific profiles. They make specific arcs. Learn to transform these few arcs into scores of various profiles. From layout to execution, this weekend class will focus on creating various moldings with these extraordinarily versatile planes.
The class will start off with maintaining the cutting edge, then move to laying out and ultimately sticking (planing) several moldings that will range from simple coves and ovolos through ogees, cymas and various combinations. The class will focus on hollows and rounds sized 6 and 10 along with a rabbet plane. Students will have the opportunity to bring their own performing planes or they can use newly made planes by M. S. Bickford, planemaker. Students will also have the opportunity to use a larger range of planes.
Each student will leave with several picture frames and the ability to transfer moldings he or she sees in person or print into wood and onto their project. Sign up today - this is a great opportunity to learn the use of these versatile planes- and learn a little about how they are made. At the end of the weekend, Matt will make available for sale some of the actual planes you will be using. Tuition $325.00 plus materials.
Section 051819A: Saturday & Sunday, May 18 & 19, 9:30am - 5:00pm
(note: this class was originally scheduled for January 5 & 6, 2019)
If you have ever done any re-sawing then you know how cool a book matched panel can be. When you incorporate veneers into your work the possibilities for creating spectacular patterns are almost endless! Bookmatching is the simple one- but what about radial matching or parquet? In this hands-on class students will each make a small “Miter Fold” box out of walnut or tiger maple- but before doing that we will explore the endless possibilities of working with veneer to create a striking top for the box. Many veneers require a border to protect the delicate edges- so as a bonus we will explore a little inlay work and make a few different decorative bandings.
We will get into basic techniques for working with the veneers- Flattening them, buying & storing them and how to work with them to create tight, almost invisible seams. We will go into the basic tools & supplies needed along with discussing the various adhesives and ways to clamp up the veneered panel. Incorporating veneer designs into your work will open up possibilities that you may never have dreamed of. Sign up today- this is a great class and you will make a great little box to hold your treasures!! Sign up today- space is limited. Tuition: $275.00 plus materials
Section 030919A: Saturday & Sunday, March 9 & 10, 9:30am—5:00pm
general tool list (will open in a new window)
In this exciting new class with nationally known veneer expert, Darryl Keil students will explore the techniques and tools needed to make curved furniture parts that showcase the use of highly figured veneers. A classic demi-lune table is the project that we will use as a vehicle to learn and practice the techniques of:
Making curved aprons using Italian bending plywood
Adding the show veneer and vertical grain cross banding to the curved aprons along with a decorative inlay to separate the two
Creating a “Sunburst” veneer pattern for the Demilune top. The sunburst veneer top will also be surrounded with a contrasting short grain border and a decorative inlay to set off the two veneer patterns. Creating the sunburst on a demilune is actually more complex than it is on a circular panel because the angles of the segments change.
We will go into handling veneers, sources for veneer, adhesives and techniques to create virtually invisible seams.
Darryl is one of this country’s innovators with working with vacuum presses. Because vacuum presses open up a whole level of advanced veneering techniques this class will also feature the full range of capabilities of using a vacuum press.
During this unique class you will be making the primary parts for a demilune table- i.e. the curved aprons and the top. It will be up to you to add the legs and back apron on your own.
Here is a class that will give you practical knowledge and experience and will open your eyes to the endless possibilities that working with veneer offers.
Darryl Keil began making furniture in 1976 after attending the Portland School of Art and was a pioneer in the application of vacuum pressing technology to the woodworking industry. As a leading expert on veneer work he serves as a technical consultant to furniture manufacturing facilities across the country. His company, Vacuum Pressing Systems, operates out of Brunswick, ME. Darryl will be assisted by his son Peter who has been taking on an increasingly responsible role in the company and expands his knowledge of working with veneers continually. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to learn from a leader in the field. Sign up today.
Tuition: $450.00 plus materials
Section 050319A: Friday, Saturday & Sunday, May 3 – 5, 9:30am – 5:00pm
This class will be a combination lecture, demonstration and hands-on session which will provide an overview of the history, tools, techniques and materials of upholstery . Mike Mascelli has been a professional upholsterer his entire career and brings a lifetime of experience to this hands on class.
Mike will set up a complete working shop including a collection of historic and modern tools, and cover the full range of traditional hand sewn, and modern upholstery methods. Presentations include “A Lively Guide to a Dying Art”, which will be enhanced with demonstrations illustrating the tools and techniques portrayed. “A Tale of Two Chairs” presents step by step photos contrasting traditional work on a period armchair, and modern methods on a 1940’s chair.
Students will complete an open frame slip seat by stretching and tacking webbing, cutting and fitting the foundation, lofting, and show cover materials, and installing a proper dust cover. And then building on these new skills, complete a small-scale sprung footstool, by hand tying springs, and learning basic cutting and folding techniques, then finishing off the corners with proper blind stitches.
The class will also include a complete discussion of tools and machines, as well as tips on common repair techniques such as replacing buttons without having to open up the chair !
Students will receive a booklet containing, excerpts, illustrations, yardage charts, and sources of supply. This class is for anyone with an interest in the tools, terminology and techniques of the upholstery trade.
Sign up Today! Tuition $275.00 Plus materials ($55.00)
Section 020219A: Saturday & Sunday, February 2 & 3, 2019 9:30am—5:00pm
The longer you are a woodworker the more tools you accumulate- That is just one of those little-known laws of nature! They are usually not large tools – How many small tools have you acquired in the past 5 years? Lots- right? These are the hardest tools to store and keep track of. The Gerstner machinist tool chest meets this need with lots of small drawers to safely store those frequently used essential tools. The Gerstner tool chests- built in America since 1906, are the classic box for machinist and woodworkers alike. We thought it would be fun to offer this chest as a class. The construction is surprisingly simple- all tablesaw joinery with finger joints and locked rabbets for both the case and the drawers. To maximize drawer space the original tools chests featured felt covered steel drawer bottoms. This is a truly practical tool chest designed for the maximum storage space and strength.
We will build the pictured chest in your choice of ¼ sawn white oak or mahogany- the two most common species of original Gerstner boxes.
Join Tim Spratlin and Bob Van Dyke for this new night time class and build this welcome addition to your shop. Face it – it won’t solve your tools storage problems unless you stop buying tools (don’t be ridiculous!!) but it will be a fun project. Sign up today. Your species choice- white oak or mahogany- must be specified when enrolling in the class. Tuition: $345.00 plus materials
Section 020619A: Wednesday evenings, February 6 – March 20, 6:00pm – 9:30pm
general tool list (will open in a new window)
Handplanes can be one of the most useful and rewarding tools in the workshop – or they can be one of the most frustrating! Learn how to effectively use handplanes in your work with Ct. Valley School of Woodworking director, Bob Van Dyke. Which handplane is right for a particular job? What should you look for when buying a new or a flea market plane? How are they “tuned up”? And most importantly- how are they sharpened? These are just a few of the questions that will be answered in this exciting two-day class. We will also go thru many of the basic (and not so basic) types of handplanes- starting with the Stanley bench-planes and going on to compass planes, shoulder planes and combination planes like the Stanley #45 & #55. Because sharpening is such a basic part of using a handplane we will also make sharpening "projection jigs" for each person during class. This is a simple device that ensures the same sharpening angle each time you sharpen. The second day will be spent getting your planes sharpened and tuned up so you can start practicing using it. Techniques such as smoothing a surface, beveling a table edge, planing a curved surface, shooting edge joints, using shooting boards, fitting mortise and tenons and planing end grain will all be included. Don’t miss this unique and informative class. Space is limited. Tuition: $275.00 plus materials
Section 012619A: Saturday & Sunday, January 26 & 27, 9:30am – 5:00pm
lCome join us in learning the art of the carving the historic Acanthus Leaf. In this weekend class, Mary will walk you through the step-by-step process of how to carve this historical leaf that has been commonly used in designs since Ancient Greek times. This class is designed for both beginner and experienced carvers. During this class, Mary will also show how to get your tools razor sharp, techniques of carving in the correct grain direction, carving safety, and as many carving tips and tricks as she can jam into two days of hands on carving practice and instruction. It's going to be a lot of fun, so don't miss out! Mary is one of the premier carvers in this country and her classes are always great! Sign up today.
Tuition $345.00 plus materials
Did you ever look at a piece of wood and wonder what wood it is? And why it looks the way it does? Were you ever confused about which wood it is: mahogany or walnut, cherry or poplar, especially if you are looking at an antique that has an aged finish on it? Distinguishing mahogany from walnut may be easy in the unfinished state, but it is not that straight forward when looking at an aged surface.
This two-day hands-on workshop will explore all these topics and more. It is designed specifically for curators, collectors, antique dealers, appraisers, and woodworkers. The goal of this workshop is to familiarize the student with the physical properties of wood and recognize species specific wood cell structures of nineteen different species. It will also discuss the social, political and economic factors that led to the trade in some of our most cherished woods. Case studies will be introduced to show the importance of identifying wood correctly. Not knowing what species of wood you are looking at is sometimes more important than knowing what it is.
On Saturday, basic wood anatomy will be introduced, including grain, figure, fundamental differences between softwoods and hardwoods, and more. The student will learn to identify common hardwoods that are used in antique furniture using a 10x loupe.
On Sunday, the class will be held at the Webb Dean Stevens house in Wethersfield (about 10 minutes from CVSW). Sunday’s class will run from 11:00am – 4:00pm. Students will get a rare opportunity not only to see one of the finest collections of American furniture, but also to identify woods used in a selection of great objects in an intensive and hands-on inspection.
No experience is necessary. Tuition $295.00, plus materials which includes a hardwood sample kit, 10x loupe, The “Wood ID Bible”- Identifying Wood by Bruce Hoadley and admission to WDS. Class size is limited to 15 students. Sign up today!
The great thing about running a national woodworking school is that I get to see the techniques of every different instructor who comes here to teach- and there have been a lot of them over the last 17 years!
In woodworking- like a lot of things- there is no one “right” way- there are bunches of different ways to accomplish the same thing and that is what this class is all about. I will not be telling you what I think is the "best" way- that is for you to decide- and you will have the opportunity to learn a number of different methods.
Cutting dovetails entirely by hand can be intimidating to a lot of people. When cutting dovetails I see students typically making the same mistakes and hitting the same stumbling blocks each time- so that is what we address to start; using a cutting gauge, paring to (and not beyond!) a line, cutting straight lines with a handsaw- and using a sharp chisel! These are all skills that you will practice (and hopefully master) in this class. But this class is much more than just cutting dovetails by hand. This class will show you a number of ways to make “handcut” dovetails that will only require a little bit of paring with a chisel to make them fit perfectly. We will be trying out techniques that use the tablesaw, a trim router, bandsaw, scroll saw and coping saw along with the traditional handsaw and chisels. The goal is to get you cutting great looking dovetails using a combination of machines and handtools until you are comfortable enough with the process that you realize doing it all by hand is not that big a deal!
This class is a combination of demonstrations and hands-on practice. There is no project for the class- you will be working on a series of practice boards. It is great to see the difference between the first dovetail you make on Saturday and the last dovetail you make Sunday afternoon!
Router dovetail jigs like the Porter Cable or Leigh jig will NOT be a part of this class- I have no idea how to use those tools…
Sign up today and lose your fear of cutting dovetails once and for all. Tuition: $275.00 plus materials ($16.00)
Section 041319A, Saturday & Sunday, April 13 & 14, 9:30am – 5:00pm
General tool list (will open in a new window)
Shop-sawn veneer offers many design and construction possibilities that the thinner commercial veneer cannot. Learn how to make your own veneer using the bandsaw. Do you have a board with incredible figure- and wish you had enough to build something with it? What about stretching that board by cutting it into consecutive leaves of 1/16th inch veneer?
In this weekend hands-on class students will learn how to set up the bandsaw to cut accurate veneers. As importantly, Tim will introduce participants to the different veneer substrates and edge banding techniques along with the advantages and disadvantages of each. Adhesives play a big part in working with veneers, so this will be covered, along with the different ways of sequencing sheets of veneer to create dramatic effects and design. You can’t learn effectively by just watching a series of demos- so students will practice the techniques by making a tray- or a wall hanging- of their own design. Those of you who took Tim’s earlier class on surface ornamentation could combine effects for an over the top panel!
Tim Coleman works out of his shop in Shelburne, Massachusetts and produces unique and striking custom furniture for clients and exhibition. In this class you will develop the skills- and the ideas for different designs that you can begin applying to your next project.
The sky is the limit so join furniture maker, Tim Coleman for this unique class and learn how to use thick veneer to create decorative effects for furniture, boxes, picture or mirror frames.
Sign up today.
Section 072019A: Saturday & Sunday, July 20 & 21, 9:30 am – 5:00pm
Join Mike Pekovich and make a great little wall cabinet in this 2-weekend class. Dovetails offer a lot of strength and some nice visual interest to the case, and Mike has some great tips for cutting accurate, stress-free joinery. The frame-and-panel door gives the cabinet it's personality and offers some solid lessons in cabinet making. You'll learn how to make, fit and hang a traditional door. In addition, you'll finish it off with a kumiko panel. This traditional Japanese latticework technique is a lot of fun and can brighten up just about any project. Mike, a long-time woodworker and instructor, is the creative director at Fine Woodworking magazine and the author of The Why and How of Woodworking, Taunton Press, 2018.
Sign up today– Mike’s classes always sell out quickly!
Tuition $545.00 plus materials
Section 022319A: Saturday & Sunday, February 23 & 24 and March 30 & 31
Learn the fundamentals of box making with Matt Kenney, author of 52 Boxes in 52 Weeks. You’ll make two boxes over the course of two days. Along the way, you’ll learn how to choose grain for small boxes, mill boards to create grain that flows continuously around the box, cut accurate miters and glue them up with no gaps. Matt will also go into strategies to make a stable bottom for the box, techniques to apply milk paint and shellac, and many other tricks of the trade that Matt uses when making boxes. He’ll also discuss critical design topics like proportions and wood selection. You will leave the class with not only two beautiful boxes, but also a better understanding of how to make attractive boxes of your own design in your own shop. Sign up today- space is limited. Tuition: $275.00 plus materials
Section 051119A: Saturday & Sunday, May 11 & 12, 9:30am - 5:00pm
general tool list (will open in a new window)
In this one day class, students who have completed their seat frames will get a short general introduction to basic upholstery, and then learn all of the specific techniques to professionally upholstery the seat for their chair. We will begin with installation of “zigger” springs and a sturdy decking material to form the foundation for the upholstery treatment. The padding layers will then be built up with firm foam, softer foam and finally a Dacron batting, all of which will be consolidated with a full muslin sub cover to create the final “sit” and “loft” for your chair. With the under upholstery complete, the show cover of premium leather-look vinyl will be properly tucked and folded, and the seat then finished off with a proper black dust cover on the bottom, making it ready for use.
The materials fee will include all of the required springs, padding, muslin and vinyl show cover (choice of brown or tan), and students may either bring their own tools or use loaner tools available in class. Students who wish to purchase their own genuine leather show covers should be sure that they are 3-4 oz (1.0 – 2.6mm) in weight and at least 30 x 30 inches of clear unblemished material. One yard of other suitable upholstery fabric can also be substituted for the vinyl. Sign up today: Tuition: $125.00 plus materials
Section 063019A, Sunday, June 30, 9:00am—5:00pm
This class is for people who are serious about woodworking and want to learn how to use the SketchUp 3D design program to save time and money in the shop. With SketchUp, you preview the actual construction of a piece and generate absolutely accurate plans, patterns, and templates. The class is built around four rules for success for using the program to its best advantage. You will need to bring a Windows or Mac laptop loaded with the full-featured free version of SketchUp. We spend the morning on exercises that introduce the important SketchUp tools and get you accustomed to working in a 3D space on the computer. In the afternoon, you see how the rules for success work by designing a piece of furniture. You’ll also learn how to create measured drawings and a cutlist. Go to https://www.sketchup.com/download/all to download the full-featured free version, called SketchUp Make 2017.
Section 040619B: Saturday , April 6, 9:30am - 5:00pm
This popular six-day intensive hands-on class is an opportunity to concentrate on the basics of woodworking and furniture making. Each student will make a Shaker style cherry hall table, which is a perfect vehicle to practice the machine and hand-tool techniques that we teach in the class. Subjects covered include basic shop safety, machine use (with particular emphasis on the tablesaw, jointer and planer), using handplanes, card scrapers and chisels effectively to surface and hand-fit the mortice and tenon joints, handtool sharpening, making tapered legs and grain matching and gluing up a top. This class takes the place of Woodworking I & Woodworking II and provides a strong foundation for more advanced furniture projects. Tuition: $795.00 plus materials
Section 060319A, Monday - Saturday, June 3 - 8, 9:00am - 5:00pm
general tool list (will open in a new window)
Join nationally know inlay expert, Steve Latta as we explore and push the limits of adding distinctive decorative details to your work. Furniture makers have lots of options for enhancing their work. Inlay and ornamental veneer work are two of the oldest methods dating back to ancient Egypt. We will spend a full week on learning Steve’s proven methods for creating striking inlays, bandings and sand shaded paterae. We will begin the week with line-and-berry inlay, a technique native to Chester County PA, which is where Steve lives. After completing a decorative panel, we’ll move on to the Federal period focusing on bandings, ornamental stringing, bell flowers, sand shading and paterae. We’ll discuss regional motifs and interpretations, both rural and urban, as well as the work of a few standouts. Since all of these techniques have a place in contemporary furniture work, we’ll take a look at a few,modern twists in terms of designs and methods that can really add some spice to your work. Although a great deal of information will be presented, students will have ample time to practice and gain an understanding of these techniques.
We will use a variety of tools including handtools, power tools and some tools that we will make in class. You should plan on acquiring a few tools that are basic to this kind of work. A Dremel equiped with a foot switch and the Stew Mac base along with the radius cutter from Lie Nielsen toolworks are strongly suggested. You will gain an understanding and dexterity in manipulating them all in this exciting and unique class. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from one of this country’s leading experts on the art of decorative inlays. Steve is a frequent instructor here at CVSW and is also a contributing editor for Fine Woodworking magazine. Sign up today! Tuition: $795.00 plus materials
General Tool list (will open in a new window)
Learn the basics of chair making and more while building a classic Arts and Crafts rocker. In this six-day class we'll cover bent lamination techniques, angled tenon joinery and cutting tenons on curved parts, while making a rocking chair guaranteed to be the most comfortable chair in your house. Fine Woodworking magazine executive art director, Mike Pekovich, will show you his method for breaking down a complex project into simple steps that you can put to use on any project. The class is also a great lesson in building an original piece using craftsman details for an authentic Arts & Crafts look. We anticipate that participants will have most of the chair completed by the end of the class but do not be surprised if you still have some minor “finishing up” work to complete in your own shops. As a special bonus we have arranged a follow up class with well-known upholsterer and CVSW instructor Mike Mascelli. In that Sunday class participants will make the cushion necessary to complete the chair. The upholstery is, of course, something that you can also do on your own or with an upholsterer of your own choosing.
Don’t miss this great opportunity to learn from a great instructor and make a great furniture project. Sign up today. Tuition: $795.00 plus materials
Section 062419A: Monday - Saturday, June 24 - 29, 9:00am – 5:00pm
General tool list (will open in a new window)
What better way to spend a week than to put a woodcarving gouge in your hand, create something beautiful- and have fun! Mary May, a well-known professional woodcarver and instructor from South Carolina, will walk you through the carving process using a variety of relief carving projects. Starting the week with a floral relief design and then moving onto a scallop shell, the class will cap off the week with that wonderful and traditional acanthus leaf that is seen on so many period furniture pieces. Throughout the week Mary will also demonstrate a variety of tricks and techniques on how to efficiently use the gouges, how to make difficult carving cuts, how to sharpen tools to a razor sharp edge, and how to make the carving appear deeper than it actually is. Students will have the opportunity of working on projects of their own choosing along with projects that Mary has selected for their suitability in teaching the skills being demonstrated.
This is a perfect class for both beginners and experienced carvers. Beginning carvers can learn the basics from Mary, while experienced carvers will have a whole week to pick Mary’s brain, clarify the questions they may have been struggling with over the years and practice the skills she will be showing you. This is a great opportunity to learn both the basics and the advanced techniques under the guidance of one of our country’s best carvers and instructors.
Sign up today- This is a week that you will not want to miss! Tuition: $745.00 plus materials.
This five-day class concentrates on working with hand tools only. The project, a seemingly simple Japanese style tool box, allows us to focus on the fundamental building process- from selecting lumber and rough sawing parts to flattening, squaring and most importantly, learning how to do accurate layout. Of course, there will be plenty of planing, sawing and working with chisels. Whether you are into Western tools or Japanese tools, the underlying principals are the same and you will explore what it takes to get yourself- and your tools, to their full working potential. Not only will you go home with a practical and useful box, built entirely by hand, but also with the new skills, inspiration and confidence to build more.
Andrew, who has been building furniture by hand for over 20 years, has a lot to offer any skill level and his enthusiasm for the work is contagious. While he focuses primarily on Japanese tools and techniques, the important concepts translate equally to Western style handtools. He will have his own Japanese tools for students to try and you will have the unique opportunity to compare working with Japanese tools to working with the Western tools in the school. This is also a great opportunity to bring along your own tools and work with Andrew to analyze their strengths and weaknesses.
This is a great opportunity to learn woodworking by hand and you certainly do not want to miss it! Sign up today- Space is limited.
Section 071519A: Monday – Friday, July 15 – 19, 9:00am – 5:00pm
This four day class is tailored especially for woodworkers who are uneasy about the finishing process and wish to master the basic knowledge and techniques that will enable professional finishing results using easily available materials. The class is a mixture of lecture, demonstration, and has an emphasis on hands on activities that all students will complete using both sample panels and actual small project pieces, and hands on techniques that can be done in a home workshop.
In the color world, students will learn the critical differences between pigment colors and dye colors and gain an understanding of how to decode the often confusing information found on the many cans and bottles of colorants. With this knowledge we will use both dyes and pigments in a classic finishing schedule including glazing and toning, and practice some simple steps to achieve rich colors, vibrant grain popping, and also to match existing colors. Students will also complete some basic furniture repair techniques using epoxy, colored waxes and both oil and acrylic colors to match missing or damaged grain. Students will get an introduction to faux finishing using both oil and water based colors to produce both wood grain and other decorative effects.
In the world of topcoats, students will learn how to categorize virtually all finishes into one of five basic families, and how to successfully use products from each family by brush, pad and spray. Students will practice using the proper brushes for each type of finish, including shellac, oil based and water based, and also learn some basic spray techniques using commonly available aerosol products to achieve professional quality results.
In addition Mike will demonstrate the basics of rubbing out a finish to a perfect sheen and feel, and also show some basic special effect techniques such as creating “age” with common asphaltum, otherwise known as roofing tar !
Mike Mascelli is a professional upholsterer in Latham, NY with over 40 years of experience in working and teaching, and is also Director of the Professional Refinisher’s Group, a national organization founded in 1998 to connect professionals in the restoration, refinishing and conservation trades . In his upholstery work he divides his time between classic furniture and classic cars, while his finishing expertise is based on years of shop experience and the counsel and mentoring of some of the most experienced wood finishers in the industry. He has contributed to the Roubo on Furniture by Don Williams (Lost Art Press) and he also writes for the journal of the Society of American Period Furniture Makers and has completed several instructional videos on upholstery techniques.
Sign up today- class size is limited. Tuition: $595.00 plus materials
Section 080519A: Monday – Thursday, August 5 – 8, 9:00am – 5:00pm
Are you starting to gather a hand tool collection but have no place to put it? Here's a great tool chest that's big enough for an essential tool set, but small enough to take along with you to your next woodworking class. Recently featured in Fine Woodworking magazine, the chest has a tool well at the top where you can store hand planes and backsaws. Below it are two drawers that can be outfitted for chisels and layout tools and anything else you can think of. Join Mike Pekovich in this unique week-long class and build not only the tool chest, but a rolling stand as well. We'll assemble the case with dovetails and tenons, and top it off with a frame-and-panel lid. Finally, we'll build dovetailed drawers and outfit the interior with dividers custom-fit for your tools. Your collection of tools need a safe place to be and what better way to bring them to your next class at CVSW! Sign up today. Space is limited.
Tuition: $795.00 Plus materials
Section 081219A, Monday - Saturday, August 12 - 17, 9:00am-5:00pm
General tool list (will open in a new window)
In this fast paced class students will have the opportunity to build the traditional cabinetmaker’s workbench they have dreamed about! Let’s face it- the benches we build in the school during the year are great (especially for the price!) but nothing beats working on a traditional workbench constructed entirely of 8/4 and 12/4 rock maple. A flat top, wide enough to accommodate most work, wooden bench dogs to hold the work in conjunction with the end vise, a sturdy shoulder vise, a tool tray to keep the smaller tools you are working with in one place and about 300 pounds of dead weight all make this bench a pleasure to work on. The massive trestle base joined with wedged mortice and tenons knocks down for easier (relatively!) moving (We have fit these into mini vans easily). We use the Lie Nielsen tail vise and Chain drive shoulder vise hardware. It is hands down the best we have ever seen. The bench is 7' long and 26" wide and weighs about 300 pounds. This is a great project to further your woodworking skills and is a bench you will treasure for years and pass on to future generations. Sign up today- space is limited- and be ready to work hard- you will go home with a finished workbench (minus an actual finish if you decide to add that)! Tuition: $795.00.00 plus materials (materials are approximately $1495.00- includes all Lie Nielsen Vise hardware and our own wooden benchdogs)
Section 082419A: Saturday - Friday, August 24 - 30, 9:00am - 5:00pm
(Note: The bench we make in class does not include the drawers pictured here)