About the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking:

074t_errin_school_1.jpg Furniture making is a craft where skills are developed over time and with plenty of practice. The Fundamentals of Furniture-Making, taught by the school's director, Bob Van Dyke, reflects this and begins with Woodworking I. This class gives practical hands-on experience with all the main shop machines and hand tools in the workshop. You will develop a basic understanding of solid wood movement, construction methods, basic furniture joints, shop safety and tool sharpening. Students make a walnut jewelry box. The project utilizes all the skills and concepts being taught in the class.

thumb_041_shaker_hall_table.jpgWoodworking II builds on the techniques learned in the Woodworking I class. Students build a cherry hall table during this eight-week (or two weekend) class . Grain matching, mortise and tenon joints, surfacing the wood with a handplane and a card scraper and hand fitting joints are just a few of the many skills that are learned in this exciting and rewarding class.

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072t_tracy.jpg038_candle_stand_table_base.jpgThe simplicity of many Shaker and Craftsman-style furniture pieces lend themselves to a number of beginning and intermediate level woodworking projects. After students have completed the Woodworking II hall table class, a number of more involved and challenging projects await them. A 061_bobv_walnut_chair.jpgShaker style wall clock, a candle-stand table, a curved apron writing desk, a Craftsman style blanket chest and a Craftsman style dining chair are just a few of the many other projects featured in other classes. All of them expand and hone student's woodworking skills. Techniques utilized in most classes stress a combination of machine work and hand-tools.

036t_pete_g2.jpg033_drop_top_table.jpgFurniture finishing classes feature acclaimed professional finisher, Pete Gedrys. His one and two day classes range from "Understanding Color and Furniture Stains" to "Using Shellac in Modern Furniture Finishing". Pete's nighttime series of classes- "Basic Furniture Finishing" is designed to give students a comprehensive hands-on introduction to the complete finishing process. Students are encouraged to practice and understand how the finishing process works, rather than just blindly following a set of instructions.

Relief carving is another field that requires hundreds of hours of practice to master. Bill Belisle brings his mastery 010_example_foot.jpg of the craft and his dedication to his students to all of his hands-on carving classes. Bill's beginner class includes extensive sharpening, tool selection and practicing simple cuts. A mahogany platter is the project that students work on in the class. Bill's more advanced classes include classic furniture forms such as a Goddard & Townsend Newport shell, a ball and claw foot leg and carving Acanthus leaves.


081_table_leg.jpg063_beyond_round_and_brown_1.jpg Woodturning classes offer students the opportunity to master a completely different set of skills from those used in regular furniture making. Turning beautiful and graceful bowls or vases challenges a student's artistic sense along with their mastery of the technical requirements of the craft. Al Czellecz, John Lorch, Rick Angus and many other talented turners host hands-on classes in a variety of formats including a six week nighttime series and a number of one and two day weekend seminars. Beginning Woodturning, Bowl Turning, "Beyond Round and Brown Woodturning" (a class designed to stretch the limits of your creativity) are just a few of the exciting classes offered. Class size is strictly limited in these turning classes so that each student has their own lathe to work on during the class.

026_bird_carving_5.jpgDecoy carving, Timber framing, making Shaker wooden ware and tool making are among the many other classes we offer at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. Be sure to get involved and sign up soon!