The ability to work with veneers and incorporate them into your woodworking projects offers creative design options not possible with solid wood alone. If you want to expand your woodworking skills and creativity then this class will take you to the next level. In this two day hands on class with nationally known veneer expert, Darryl Keil students will explore the techniques and tools of veneering through creating a 12 way radial matched table top with a short grain border and inlay between the two. 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 a portion of this class will be devoted to exploring the possibilities using a vacuum press.
Creating curved panels, veneering curves, shaped part as well as other options will be discussed and demonstrated. 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. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to learn from a leader in the field. Sign up today. Tuition: $295.00 plus materials
Section 050617A: Saturday & Sunday, May 6 & 7, 9:30am - 5:00pm
General tool list (will open in a new window)
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“Green” Woodworking has gained a whole new popularity in the last few years and Peter Follansbee- who has been a “green” for woodworker for over 25 years, has quietly been in the forefront of the movement.
In this 2-day class, we’ll learn the techniques for carving spoons from green wood, using a hatchet, a straight knife and a hook tool. This work is some of the most exciting green woodworking happening today. Using freshly-cut birch, apple, cherry and other woods, we will hew the rough shape, then learn safe and efficient knife technique for refining the spoon’s design. Hollowing the bowl is done with a tool called a hook knife, or spoon knife. Shaped like a question mark, this tool easily removes wood for the spoon’s bowl. We’ll focus on techniques, but tied to the spoon’s success is spoon-design. Not the decoration, but the form - we’ll learn what makes a good spoon, and how to achieve that. Each student will need to bring a small, double-bevel hatchet, and a “sloyd” knife. The easiest one of these is the Morakniv/Frost 106. Other maker’s knives are fine. Tools should be sharp. Follansbee will have some hook knives for students to use, but if you have some, be sure to bring them. He will demonstrate the chip carving on his spoon handles; but there won’t be time to work on this in class. Sharpening the tools will also be covered. Some tool recommendations: https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2015/06/11/some-spoon-carving-hatchets/
Sign up today- space is limited. Tuition:$295.00 plus materials
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 bring a Windows or Mac laptop loaded with the 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 www.sketchup.com to download the free version, called SketchUp Make.
Section 042917B, Saturday, April 29, 9:30am-5:00pm
Join well known Massachusetts woodcarver, Peter Follansbee for this unique hands on class. In this two-day course, students will learn the steps and processes used to recreate carving patterns from seventeenth-century furniture of England and New England. Starting with a single gouge and mallet, we will focus on technique and posture. Also considered are proportions, spacing and the relationship between background and foreground in establishing the pattern/design. Each successive practice pattern builds upon the previous example, adding more tools and concepts. We will incorporate hand-pressure, mallet work, and the use of the V-tool in outlining designs. A compass, awl and marking gauge are used to layout the geometric basis for each pattern, but freehand work is included in each a well. A range of designs will be covered, all drawn from surviving examples studied in museum and private collections.
A segment of the course will be devoted to a pattern Follansbee calls an “S-scroll” and multiple versions of it will be explored. Students will learn ways to combine and contrast these patterns, adapting them for use as furniture accents. Some designs are applicable as narrow framing parts, others as wider panel designs in joined furniture. V-tool work, gouge work and shaping and modeling surfaces all will be addressed. Background punches will create a textured surface, offsetting the smooth texture of the original planed panels. Various shop-made punches highlight the carved designs. Painted backgrounds will be exhibited and discussed, but will fall outside the scope of this weekend workshop. The final project in the class will be a panel design utilizing many of the techniques shown in the initial exercises. This is the first in a series of classes we will be doing with Peter this year. So if you are interested in this distinctive type of furniture and carving style then don’t miss this opportunity to work with one of the leading people in this field. Tuition: $295.00 plus materials
Section 052017B Saturday & Sunday, May 20 & 21, 9:30am – 5:00pm
Mike South will introduce students to the basics of cutting and inlaying various types of shell products and other materials into musical instruments and other flat surfaces. The techniques are applicable to many different materials such as veneers, brass, silver and gold sheet stock and some of the softer natural and reconstituted stones. Topics will include the choice of needed tools and supplies, types of materials, techniques for reproducing artwork for use as templates and techniques for cutting the materials and inlaying them into surfaces for decoration and embellishment. Although Mike’s current specialty is stringed instruments, he has years of experience in wood turning as well as furniture design and construction so the techniques can be used in decorating these types of projects as well. Students will be introduced to the basics of how to position themselves so that the time spent cutting is used to best advantage. Layout and routing of the channels for the inlays will be explained so as to make for the cleanest outcomes. Traditional patterns and motifs will be supplied by the instructor, but if students have designs or artwork that they’d like to try, they’re encouraged to bring it to class. Specialized tools and various types of shell will be available from the instructor. Other basic supplies can be purchased locally. A list of suppliers will be included so students can acquire materials and tools for future projects. Inlay work can be very challenging but also a lot of fun. Proper instruction goes a long way and the rewards for patience and persistence are very satisfying. Sign up Today! Tuition: $275.00 plus materials
Section 041617B: Saturday & Sunday, April 22 & 23, 9:30am—5:00pm
General tool list (will open in a new window)
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 12 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 040817A: Saturday & Sunday, April 8 & 9, 9:30am – 5:00pm
General tool list (will open in a new window)
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!
Section 042917A: Saturday & Sunday, April 29 & 30, 9:30am-5:00pm
Many of you who have taken classes here have commented on how well the school benches work. The bench was featured in the Fine Woodworking Magazine “Tools & Shops” issue #223. This bench has all the attributes of a classic European style bench without the expense or the large amount of time required to make one. A massive top, sturdy legs, a good quality shoulder vise and brass benchdogs are all features that combine to make this a good heavy and versatile bench. Participants will cut all the joints in the base, assemble it, glue on a hard maple edging to the top and mount the vise. An outside millwork shop will fabricate the top, which consists of two layers of particleboard and one layer of MDF. The class will feature extensive work with the tablesaw and routers and will meet for 3 full days. Take advantage of this opportunity to get a good bench into your own shop. Tuition: $295.00 plus materials
Section 042217A: Saturday & Sunday, April 22 & 23, 9:30am—5:00pm
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 060317A: Saturday & Sunday, June 3 & 4, 9:30am – 5:00pm
Are you tired of trying to use dull chisels and handplanes? Most people don’t use these tools effectively because they don’t know how to sharpen them or don’t realize what a sharp edge actually feels like! Many beginning woodworkers are sucked into the advertising for the latest and greatest jig to use when in fact, sharpening any chisel or plane iron is a simple and quick process that does not require a whole bunch of expensive and time consuming equipment. We will explore the techniques required to do the initial tune up the tool in order to create a razor sharp edge. Using two stones, a simple (and cheap) honing guide and a simple projection jig (that you will make in class) you will learn how to maintain that edge in under 3 minutes each time you re-sharpen. This class will focus on basic sharpening techniques but will also go into the many different types of sharpening stones, machines and guides on the market. We will also explore using a bench grinder to repair edges and what its role is in day to day sharpening.
The key to successful and fast sharpening is to have a consistent bevel angle- whatever that is. Before you start sharpening your own tools you will make a simple projection jig which ensures you are using the same angle every time you sharpen. Time permitting, sharpening a card scraper will also be demonstrated. Bring along a chisel or plane iron to work with- Please- Do not bother bringing an old beat up tool- This is NOT a Chisel Rehab class- A new tool will teach you much more and you will actually have success sharpening it. Tuition $125.00 materials are included.
Section 081317A: Sunday, August 13, 9:30 - 5:00pm
In this two day class, professional saw-smith, Matt Cianci, will guide students through the process of building a 12 inch backsaw - almost from scratch. Starting with kit of rough parts (purchased by the student ahead of time - see options below) and their choice of hardwood stock for the handle, students will make a complete backsaw which will work as well, if not better, than most you can buy on the open market - and - you will have made it yourself! Instruction will begin with handle design and form, then progress through rough cutting, shaping and fitting. Students will then be guided through the critical steps of joining the back and the spring steel saw blade, and finish up construction with drilling and mounting the finished handle. Finally, students will be instructed how to file, set, and sharpen the teeth to the configuration they prefer- rip, crosscut or sash. This is a class that is sure to thrill novice through experienced woodworkers. Tuition: $275.00 plus materials
Backsaw kits must purchased prior to class at one of the suppliers below:
080517A: Saturday & Sunday, August 5 & 6, 9:30am - 5:00pm
One of the foundations of superior furniture making is good layout. Good layout is based on the ability to cut a single accurate layout line. This is accomplished with a good layout knife and a good cutting gauge. Surprisingly good cutting gauges seem to be a thing of the past. Sure, there are some out there with really pretty rosewood and brass, but if you look a little closer you see how badly they are made, how poor the cutter is (it is ground incorrectly and it is usually installed backwards!) and they are really expensive!
Why not join Bob Van Dyke in this weekend class to make you own cutting gauge? Based on a design he learned from woodworking expert Will Neptune, this gauge has all the attributes of a great tool. It has a large face to register solidly against any surface, a long beam (12”) which lets you use it like a small panel gauge and, most importantly, a single bevel spear point cutter made from a Ron Hock marking knife. Which brings us to the other part of the class - the marking knife. Each student will begin with a ¼ inch Hock marking knife. These are about 7 ½” long. We will cut off about 2” of the blade for the marking gauge cutter and then you will have the rest as a great single bevel marking knife.
The important thing here is that you will learn some good woodworking techniques, shape your own cutting gauge to fit your hand and learn how to sharpen and use the tool, accurately over and over, meet some new people and have a good time doing it!
Sign up today- space is limited. Tuition $125.00 Plus materials ($36.00)
Section 081217A: August 12, Saturday, 9:30am - 5:00pm
General tool list (will open in a new window)
Learn about making carved oak boxes with well-known carver Peter Follansbee. Peter is one of the country’s leading authorities on 17th century carving and furniture construction and happens to be a great teacher! Based on his extensive study of 17th-century originals; these boxes will be oak, with pine tops and bottoms. The work features extensive carving on the front and sides, (“No blank space!” says Peter.) We’ll explore the various traditional patterns for the carvings, and after some practice, we’ll dive in and carve the box parts. Rabbet joints, secured by square wooden pins, form the box carcase. On the inside of the box we will make a lidded “till”, a small compartment fitting between the box front and back. Pine bottoms, attached with handmade nails, pine lids, along with a wooden “pintle” hinge, complete the project. Follansbee will have several examples along with him, and a slide presentation exploring the original boxes which will help provide context and inspiration. Don’t miss this great unique class. This is the perfect opportunity for those of you with no carving experience as 17th century style carving in wet oak is very simple and forgiving- and quite a lot of fun! Sign up today. Tuition: $ 495.00 plus materials
Section 111017B: Thursday – Monday, November 10 – 13, 9:30 am – 5:00pm