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Schedule of Classes -   Summer - Fall / 2016:

Dedicated to promoting excellence in craftsmanship and in developing superior hand and machine woodworking skills. Workshops are designed to satisfy beginner, intermediate and advanced woodworkers in a relaxed, hands-on format.
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Fundamentals of Furniture-Making
with Bob Van Dyke & Staff

 

wwIII_corner_tl.jpg 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 other classes contained in this schedule.
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Woodworking I

Walnut Jewelry Box

106_walnut_jewelry_box.jpg 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 091916A: Monday & Thursday evenings, September 19-October 17, 6:00pm-9:30pm, no class October 10, Columbus Day)

Tim Spratlin is the instructor for this class.

General tool list  (will open in a new window)  

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(This class is a required prerequisite for other classes in the "Fundamentals of Furniture-making" series and has always proven worthwhile to beginner and advanced students alike.)

THIS CLASS IS NOT A REQUIRED PREREQUISITE FOR ANY OF THE OTHER CLASSES IN THIS SCHEDULE EXCEPT WOODWORKING II & III

Woodworking II

Shaker Hall Table

041_shaker_hall_table.jpgAn 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 ($195.00).

Section 102416A:Monday eveneings, October 24 - December 19, 6:00pm - 9:30pm

Tim Spratlin is the instructor for this class.

General tool list    (will open in a new window)    

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Woodworking III

Woodworking III level classes feature a variety of more complex projects. Students are expected to complete some basic work at home such as scraping, sanding and dry-fitting, thus leaving more actual class time for the more complex operations. Shop time for this handwork only can be arranged if you have no facility to work at home.

Fundamentals of Cabinet Making

Woodturning with Corey Anderson

 

This six evenin073 turned_round_edge_bowlg 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. Corey Anderson is the past president of the Central Connecticut Woodturners Guild. Tuition: $295.00 plus materials ($49.00)

Section 092116B: Wednesday evenings, September 21-October 26, 6:00pm-9:30pm

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Basic Woodturning with Corey Anderson

130_al_three_bowls.jpg 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 101516B: Saturday & Sunday, October 15 & 16, 9:30am 0 5:00pm

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Professional Furniture Finishing Techniques

Finishing - Start to Finish- with Greg Massicotte

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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: $40.00)

Section 101716B: Monday evenings, October 17-November 21, 6:00pm-9:00pm

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The Case for Using Shellac in Fine Finishing with Tad Fallon

garnet shellacAs furniture conservator, I often rely on shellac as my go-to finish, for its tremendous versatility and proven long-term stability. Shellac is a beautiful and durable finish for a wide range of applications. It is also re-treatable; as a solvent release finish it is continuously soluble in its carrier, denatured alcohol. This important distinction allows a shellac finish to be easily repaired, both on-site and in the studio. Shellac is also ideal for touch-ups, using pigments and dyes with prepared shellac as a binder.
In this two day workshop, we will explore the various varieties of shellac, learning to recognize the subtle differences between the types that can be utilized according to the needs of the project. French Polishing will be discussed and demonstrated, along with a “modified” padding technique where oil is not used. Both brushing and padding methods and materials will be reviewed and discussed. The repair and touch up of a previously finished piece will also be discussed and demonstrated, and will incorporate pigments, dyes, brushes, and matting agents. Professional touch-up kits will be available for optional purchase.
Tad Fallon is the co-owner of Fallon & Wilkinson - a small furniture conservation shop that specializes in restoring 18th & 19th century high end furniture. Tad has written numerous papers for the trade and has taught many workshops for professional furniture conservators. Sign up today! Tuition $275.00 plus materials.

 

New 2016 weekend dates coming soon.

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Six Week Furniture Making Intensive

Six Week Intensive Furniture Making with Bob Van Dyke

bvd veneer webOver 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. I just finished a five week class with this format in November and I really believe it was one of the best classes I have offered in years. Everyone really learned a lot and had 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 two full days– maybe three, on dovetails. With those new hand skills, cutting a tenon by hand turns out to be a pretty simple affair which you will be able to do!

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.

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 just on working with handplanes– and another whole day just on sharpening.

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 compliment 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.

This class is designed for the serious student who has both the time and the desire to commit to a comprehensive course of study. It is NOT designed for the total beginner, but rather someone who has done a bit of woodworking and is now ready to get serious and really learn some skills. If you are a beginner then you should sign up for the Fundamentals of Furniture Making or the Woodworking I class. will neptune_shell_web

This is an opportunity you do not want to pass up. Tuition: $2400.00 plus materials.

Section 101116A: Monday—Thursday, October 11-November 17, 8:30am—4:30pm

 

 General tool list (will open in a new window)

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Speciality & Weekend Classes

Cabinet Wood Identification with Randy Wilkinson

Wood IdentificationSeeing and understanding wood in a whole new way. 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, walnut, cherry, or poplar? The questions may seem answerable when looking at a new piece of wood but how about when you are looking at an oxidized surface or a piece of furniture that is 200 years old with stain and varnish on it. This two-day hands-on workshop will answer all these questions and more. It is designed specifically for curators, collectors, antique dealers, appraisers, and woodworkers. The goal of this workshop is to become familiar with the physical properties of wood and recognize species specific cell structures with a 10x loupe. 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 used in 18th and 19th century furniture. On Sunday, the class will be held at the Webb, Deane, Stevens House in Wethersfield (10 minutes from the school). We will get a rare opportunity not only to see one of the finest collections of New England furniture, but also to identify woods used in a selection of great objects in a one-day intensive and hands-on inspection. No experience is necessary. Tuition $275, 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. This class will fill quickly, so sign up soon.

 

This class will be re-scheduled for January 2017

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Build a 17th Century Joined Chest with Peter Follansbee

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Join nationally known carver & joiner, Peter Follansbee, for this unique opportunity to be a part of Connecticut history as we continue our study of 17th and 18th century furniture of the Connecticut River Valley.
This class will focus on the techniques used in the 17th century to make a joined chest entirely with hand tools. These carved chests were made by joiners, using oak riven, or split, from a log. Frame and panel construction and mortise and tenon joinery are the hallmarks of this work. The project is based on a Connecticut River Valley example at the Connecticut Historical Society which Peter is recreating for the Strong/Howard house project.

We will begin with oak we’ve split from a large-diameter oak log, then hew and plane the stock to size. Layout, carving, joinery and drawboring assembly will be focal points of this exciting class. The beveled panels will fit in grooves plowed with a plow plane - a traditional joiners’ approach. Be prepared to work, there will not be any machines in this class!
The secondary wood will be sawn pine which will become the chest’s bottom boards and lid, drawer bottoms and some of the parts for the small lidded till included inside the chest.
This class will meet one weekend per month for 5 months. Class time will consist of numerous demos, learning and practicing the carving and joinery on practice pieces before diving into the actual pieces, exploring the historical aspects of 17th century joinery and furniture making. It is expected that a large part of the actual carving and joinery will be completed in your own shops at your own pace. Please don’t expect that you will be able to build the whole chest during class time only.
This format works well as you get the chance to practice the techniques and get Peter’s feedback in class before you begin on the actual parts that will become part of the finished chest.
This is a hand-tool class; planes, chisels, saws - a simple tool kit is all that is required. The list will be on the website www.schoolofwoodworking.com by the end of the year.
As an added bonus, we will begin the class on Friday, September 30, with a trip to the Yale Furniture Study in New Haven in order to study the numerous examples of carved chests in their collection. Be prepared to learn some great skills, build a great reproduction of a 17th century Connecticut chest and have a great time doing it! Sign up today!

 Tuition: $1295.00 plus materials

Section 093016A: Friday, Saturday & Sunday, September 30, October 1 & 2, Saturday & Sunday, November 5 & 6, December 3 & 4 (2016), January 7 & 8, February 4 & 5 (2017), 9:30am – 5:00pm

pdfTool_list_Peter_Follansbee_Joined_chest_no_carving_tools.pdf

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Week-long Classes

Take some time for yourself!

Spend a week with some of this country's best woodworking instructors.

Lunch break is approximately one hour. A refrigerator is available as well as local restaurants and convenience stores. Lodging assistance is available should you need it.

Fundamentals of Furniture-Making with Bob Van Dyke and Steve Kain

041_shaker_hall_table.jpgThis popular five-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: $725.00 plus materials

Section 010217A: Monday - Friday, January 2-6 (2017), 8:30am - 5:00pm

 general tool list    (will open in a new window)

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Build an Elegant Disiplay Case on Stand with Mike Pekovich

 

Janecabinet1 webInspired by the work of James Krenov, Fine Woodworking magazine’s Executive Art Director, Mike Pekovich has come up with a project that will show off your joinery skills as well as your keepsakes. A dovetailed case sits atop a tapered-leg based constructed with through mortise-and-tenon joinery. The glass-front door is decorated with Japanese style kumiko latticework in a traditional flower pattern. Join Mike in this weeklong class for a complete lesson in cutting dovetails, making a glass panel door, morticing hinges and gluing up a carcase. In addition, you will have a great introduction to the art of kumiko, a fun and impressive technique you can use to dress up other projects as well. Sign up today, space is limited. 

 

Tuition: $795.00 Plus materials

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Section 082916A: Monday - Saturday, August 29-September 3,    9:00am-5:00pm                                                  

 General tool list (will open in a new window)                                                                                                                                        jane1-resized

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Traditional Joinery with Handtools and by Machine- Will Neptune

paring tenonLearning to lay out and cut joinery with hand tools has several advantages. First - the satisfaction of learning to use traditional tools and methods is very rewarding and you frequently get the job done faster. Second- the handwork helps you understand machine work and the importance of accuracy. Finally– you gain the confidence to easily correct and adjust machine work, when needed.   Many furnituremakers combine handwork and machine work- even in one joint. Consider dovetails- Frequently it is faster to cut the tails by machine and the pins by hand. This class will explore some of these methods but we will primarily concentrate on alternating between making sample joints by hand- and then making the same joint by machine. Handtool joinery classes with nationally recognized furniture maker and teacher, Will Neptune have been some of our most popular classes- followed closely by the machine joinery classes he has taught here. So- this class combines the two! You will come away with a broad range of techniques that can be used in almost any furniture construction system. There is no project for this class- just a week of practice joints, practice and learning more than you imagined you could in one week! Sign up today- space is limited. Tuition: $745.00 plus materials

Section 071116A: Monday – Friday, July 11 – 15, 9:00am – 5:00pm

Build a Traditional Cabinetmaker's Workbench with Bob Van Dyke & Tim Spratlin

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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 $1495.00- includes all Lie Nielsen Vise hardware and our own wooden benchdogs)

Section 072316A: Saturday - Friday, July 23 - 29, 9:00am - 5:00pm

(Note: The bench we make in class does not include the drawers pictured here)

General Tool List  

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The Joy of Woodcarving – Spend a Week with Mary May

Mary May Drawer front webWhat 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 classic 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 tricky cuts, how to sharpen tools to a razor sharp edge, and how to make the carving appear deeper than it actually is. Students will work on a variety of 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- but will also pick up tricks- or clarification- from some of the more experienced carvers in the class 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 used.

Section 080816A: Monday – Friday, August 8-12, 9:00am – 5:00pm

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Class Images

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Testimonials

11/2/2015

Bob,

All I can say is WOW!  Mike Mascelli is absolutely terrific!  

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5/25/2016

Bob,

I took the weekend woodturning class this weekend with Cory Anderson and just wanted to let you know how fabulous I thought he was.

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