thumb Bobs workbenchSpring/Summer Class Schedule available. Click here for more information.

Speciality & Weekend Classes

 New England Style Inlays and Ornamentation with Steve Latta

threerural and an urbanThe furniture makers of New England, both rural and urban alike, made huge contributions to what has become known as the Federal style.  Stringings, bandings, pictorials and elaborate veneer work became the preferred method of ornamentation as the styling rebelled against what was perceived as the excesses of the Chippendale era.  In major urban centers such as Boston and New York, skilled specialists emerged with turners, carvers, upholsterers, joiners, gilders, finishers plying their trades in burgeoning markets.  Little information surrounds one such class of specialist, the inlayer, whose work reached its zenith during the Federal Period.  Rural New England cabinetmakers, with no access to the wares of the inlayer, offered their own unique interpretations of the neoclassic style with its architectural and naturalistic motifs.  Although perceived by many as the poor “country cousins” to the more established city shops, rural cabinetmakers such as Massachusetts’s  Nathan Lombard displayed incredible ingenuity in his designs. Nationally known furniture maker, author and instructor, Steve Latta, hosts this unique one day hands-on class. Steve will demonstrate techniques for making and inlaying stringing and sand shaded designs that were typical of New England work. Students will have the opportunity to put the techniques to use while inlaying a sample table leg. Tuition: $145.00 plus materials 

Section 041016B: Sunday, April 10, 9:30am – 5:00pm

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Build- and Carve- this Frame & Panel with Peter Follansbee

 

thumb Follansbee Frame and Panel ModifiedIn this three day class with joiner & carver Peter Follansbee, students will explore the fundamental aspects of 17th-century joiner’s work. This frame-and-panel project has all the elements of a larger joined chest, but in a scale that fits the time frame. We’ll use oak we rive and plane for the framing parts; and quartersawn stock for the wider panels. Drawbored mortise and tenon joinery and carved decoration will be the a major focal point. A true crash course in joiner’s work. Now, where’d I put that axe?

Sign up today- Space is limited

Tuition: $395.00 plus materials.

Some carving tools will be required. Info is below:

 Section 040116A: Friday, Saturday & Sunday, April 1-3, 9:30am - 5:00pm

Note- this is a great introduction to the five weekend joined chest class we will be running beginning in September 2016.

pdfTool_list_Peter_Follansbee_Frame_and_Panel.pdf

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Beyond Basic Inlay– Working with Shell, Mother of Pearl and Metals– with Mike South

Mike south inlay web1Mike 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.  Mike South inlay web 3

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    Mike south inlay web 2

Section  041616B: Saturday & Sunday, April 16 & 17, 9:30am—5:00pm

 

General tool list  (will open in a new window)  

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Carving Regional Styles of Ball & Claw Feet with Will Neptune

carving ball and clawBall and claw feet were frequently used for tables, chairs and case pieces in the 18th Century. Each region had its own variation along with a matching strategy for carving them. If you have taken classes with Will Neptune you may know the Philadelphia form or the related Chapin ball & claw feet of Windsor CT.  For this three day class, we will tackle the three main regional forms: New York, Philadelphia and Boston. After you have learned one type, the others are easier to understand. For each of these regions, you will learn how the pattern is developed and how it controls the shape. Each style of foot will be broken down into a series of clear steps that help make a set of matching feet in an efficient way.  Previous experience with Will's approach for carving feet would be helpful but not necessary. Even if you have previously done a B & C class with Will, this class gives you the opportunity to review the Philadelphia (Chapin) style and then add two more regions to your repertoire. 

Some specific carving tools will be required. This list will be on the website soon. Sign up today. Do not miss this opportunity to learn from one of this country’s premier woodcarvers and furniture makers.

Tuition $375.00 plus materials

Section 060316A: Friday, Saturday & Sunday, June 3, 4 & 5, 9:30am – 5:00pm

Tool list to come

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Yes Folks- There are more than 10 ways to cut Dovetails!  With Bob Van Dyke

Van DykeThe 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! Tablesaw dovetails

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 ($13.00).

Section 051416A, Saturday & Sunday, May 14 & 15, 9:30am – 5:00pm

General tool list     (will open in a new window)    

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Essential Bench Jigs with Mike Pekovich

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A sturdy bench and sharp tools are just the start when working by hand. It's also critical to support the work properly for each task and that's where bench jigs come in. The>good news is that it's fast and easy to make many of the jigs you need for accurate bench work. Join Mike Pekovich for a one-day class and build the tools that will help you with accurate planing, sawing and shooting furniture parts. Start by making an accurate shooting board for squaring ends and truing miters. Then make plane stops to handle a variety tasks. We'll finish off the day with saw hooks for crosscuts, miters and delicate trim. You'll walk away with all the jigs you need to improve your working wood with handtools. Sign up today for this unique and useful class. Tuition $125.00 plus materials

Section 052116A: Saturday May 21, 9:30am – 5:00pm

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Basic Upholstery with Mike Mascelli

US House Chair MascelliThis 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.

KEY POINTS:

  • Students will learn the history of upholstered furniture
  • Learn to identify traditional vs modern upholstered pieces
  • Basic tools and materials of the upholstery trade
  • Complete an open frame slip seat, and a half scale Sprung ottoman.
  • Master the hand tying of springs, and blind stitching
  • Learn repairs such as button replacement

Sign up today. Tuition: $275 plus materials $55.

Section 041616A: Saturday and Sunday, April 16 & 17, 9:30am—5:00pm

General tool list  (will open in a new window)  

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The Basics of Using Handplanes with Bob Van Dyke

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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 052816A: Saturday & Sunday, May 28 & 29, 9:30am - 5:00pm

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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.

 

Section 071616A: Saturday & Sunday, July 16 & 17, 9:30am - 5:00pm

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The Next Level of Working with Veneer, all about  Veneer, Vacuum Presses and Adhesives with Darryl Keil

Darryl Keil Demi Lune SiloBurnt low resThe 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 pressess.  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: $275.00 plus materils

   Section 063016A: Saturday & Sunday, April 30 & May 1, 9:30am - 5:00pm

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Sharpening Hand-tools Techniques with Bob Van Dyke

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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 070316A: Sunday, July 3, 9:30am - 4:30pm

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Don't You Wish You Had Paid More Attention in High School Geometry??
Using a Compass and Straightedge in Woodworking Layout with Robert Lord

Introduction to  Straightedge and Compass  I : Geometric Foundation of divider/compass use in the workshop

dividers 1How many of us did not really pay much attention in high school geometry? What could I possibly do with all that stuff they were making me memorize? Right? And then I got into woodworking and started to realize that maybe I should have paid a little more attention...

This class with retired math teacher turned furniture maker, Robert Lord, will give you the refresher course you need on simple geometric concepts and constructs that you can apply to all of your work. The radius of a circle is the basic unit in the geometry of wood working. Finding the compass center point of an arc, copying and subdividing angles, creating perpendicular and parallel lines, finding the tangent points are all necessary for proportionate layout in building furniture. These are just a few of the skills which you can readily apply in your shop.....but there is so much more!

Understanding basic geometric construction techniques is the first step in understanding what lies beneath the surface in furniture designs. 

In this Introductory class we will build the skill set with compass (dividers) and straightedge needed for furniture layout and design as well as for ‘working backward’, deciphering how a furniture piece was designed.

This class will review geometric language and terminology. The focus of the class will be in the form of training and practice in the proper use of compass and straightedge by making the twenty fundamental geometric constructs. A construct is made with the compass and straightedge to show a physical proof of an idea; such as making parallel or perpendicular lines, congruent angles or figures. The practical exercises are designed to build on one another and to build confidence, hand dexterity and the knowledge set of skills which are applicable to your work in the wood shop.

Compass (divider) and straightedge simplifies many tasks. It is used to lay out dovetails, make inlay patterns, design simple or complex projects, scale a drawing or work plan to a ‘story stick’. Use in conjunction with a sector it can layout panels, set up drawer fronts and so much more. It is a system used for centuries for good reason (then left behind in the rush to power tools) and valued by craftsmen who understand that beauty is designed from a natural order. Best of all, it connects the hand to the eye and in that value.
We will have the supplies you will need but you should bring along a decent compass, dividers and a straight edge (ruler). Be sure to bring glasses for closed up work if you need them. Be sure to supply your email address when registering as we will be emailing you some course material prior to the class.
Sign up today- This is a unique opportunity to finally apply some of the geometry lessons that you never thought you would have any use for! Tuition $125.00 materials included

Section 051416B: Saturday, May 14, 9:30 - 5:00pm

 

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Make a Cutting Gauge with  Bob Van Dyke

cutting gauge smallOne 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 marking 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. In your choice of cherry or walnut. This tool will out perform any cutting gauge on the market today- and- you made it yourself! Sign up today. 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! Tuition $125.00 plus materials. Sign up today- space is limited.

Section 070216A: Saturday, July 2,  9:30am - 5:00pm

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Build a Backsaw with Matt Cianci

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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. Students must purchase their backsaw kit ahead of class at one of the suppliers below:

Blackburn Tools: http://blackburntools.com/new-tools/new-saws-and-related/slotted-back-saw-kits/index.html

TGIAG: http://tgiag.com/

Don’t miss this great opportunity to make a saw that you can truly call your own.

Tuition: $275.00 plus materials

Section 082716A: Saturday & Sunday, August 27 & 28, 9:30am - 5:00pm

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Build a 17th Century Joined Chest with Peter Follansbee

2016 joined_chest

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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Class Images

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Testimonials

3/14/2016

Hey Bob,

Just wanted to say yet again… the restoration class was terrific.

Read more ...

2/22/2016

Bob,

Just a note to say the class this weekend with Will was great!

I also want to thank you for the help with the sharpening jig and chisel/guide
and sharpening stone info.  I look forward to more classes.

Best regards,

Ollie Mason