jefferson lap_desk_Jason_BreenFall Class Schedule available. Click here for more information.

Speciality & Weekend Classes

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.

Section 091915A, Saturday & Sunday, September 19 & 20, 9:30am – 5:00pm

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Build the Thomas Jefferson Lap desk with Mickey Callahan

jefferson_lap_desk_Jason_BreenThomas Jefferson, our third president, was also an inventor, architect and a prolific writer who was instrumental in developing our country’s Democratic form or government. He travelled extensively and his lap desk would accompany him so that he could stay on top of his correspondence and other writings.

In this new class with Mickey Callahan students will build an exact copy of the lap desk that now resides in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC.

A generous writing surface and small dovetailed drawers to store paper and pens make this period reproduction attractive to anyone on the go or simply as an elegant addition to your home. Either way- it is a great project that you will learn a lot from.

Sign up today! Tuition $595.00 plus materials

Section 112015A: Friday, Saturday & Sunday, November 20-23 & Saturday & Sunday, December 12-13, 9:30am - 5:00pm

Lapdesk pictured was made by Jason Breen. Image used with his permission.

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Traditional Joinery & Bench Work with Handtools - Will Neptune

Will_Neptune_handtool_joineryThe satisfaction derived from cutting joinery by hand is something you may never have anticipated. Cutting precise fitting dovetails in the front edge of a cabinet side to receive the drawer dividers or laying out and cutting an angled mortise and tenon for a chair rail is not only satisfying, it is frequently much more efficient than going through all the set ups and tests involved in machine cut joinery. Learning to cut joints by hand also gives you a better understanding of how the joints work, which parts need to be precise and which parts of the joint are not so important. This new-found understanding then easily translates to machine work which now becomes easier, quicker and more logical.

Your new appreciation of traditional furniture making begins by separating joinery into two distinct categories: table joinery and carcase joinery. Accurate layout is essential and Will be concentrating on simple ways to increase your accuracy- usually by measuring less!! A variety of sample joints will be cut and perfected throughout the week. These mock-ups will give you a visual reference which can be applied to future projects. After making some simple joints such as basic mortice & tenon, and through and lapped dovetails the class will move on to more advanced and challenging joints which include angled dovetails and tenons, joints on curved work, multiple and stub tenons and housed tapered (sliding) dovetails. Tuning up the tools is a big part of learning to work with handtools so- sharpening your dovetail saw, chisels, handplanes and card scrapers along with tuning up (or making your own) marking gauge will be just as important as learning to properly use rabbit planes, shoulder planes and router planes along with using fillester, plough and dado planes. The skills you learn in this class from one of this country’s master furniture-makers and instructors will change your woodworking forever. Sign up today- space is limited. Tuition: $595.00

Section 102415A: Saturday & Sunday, October 24-25, Saturday & Sunday, November 7-8 

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Build a ”Mini Bench Riser” with Bob Van Dyke

Van Dyke Mini Bench Riser 2Many of you who have taken classes at the school or have seen any of Steve Latta’s videos know the value of this simple “mini bench” or “bench riser”. Whether it is close up inlay work or light duty work that does not require being “over” a standard height bench this bench will save your back and let you work up close when you need it. Light enough to easily move on and off the standard bench, but heavy enough to withstand medium stresses like light handplaning or chisel work, this bench will become an everyday part of your woodworking routine. As a bonus we will be incorporating in the design the ability to add on a Moxon type vise as a future addition. This class is not designed to reveal all the secrets of the woodworking universe- it is a simply a class that you know you will come away with a good Mini bench that will have a good quality vise on it and you will  be able to use it as soon as you get home to you own shop. What could be bad about that?

Sign up today. Tuition: $125.00 plus materials.

Section 091715A: Thursday evenings, September 17 - October 1, 6:00pm - 9:30pm

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Beginning Guitars - Build a Telecaster or Stratocaster with Mike South

In this new class we jump into the world of electric guitar construction. Students will each build their own guitar based on the world famous Fender Telecaster (yeah- that’s the one Bruce Springsteen plays!) or the equally famous Fender Stratocaster.

Starting with a solid white ash body we will bandsaw and rout the basic shape, fit and fine tune the telecastermaple neck (we will purchase pre-made necks for this beginning class), fine tune the rosewood fingerboard and install all the hardware, electronics and both pickups. Finishing is an important part of any guitar so we will also spend a few nights of class time applying your choice of three different finishes (clear, “butter” or cherry). The last night of the class will be final setup & tuning of the guitars and then a jam session to prove how good they are! Mike South has been building guitars, banjos and mandolins since 1981 and is the owner of Windjammer Instruments. Sign up today for this exciting new class and have the satisfaction of building (and playing) your own heirloom quality instrument. Tuition $425.00 plus materials.

 Section 092415B: Thursday evenings, September 24 - December 3, 6:00pm - 9:30pm

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Build an 18th Century Trestle Table with Will Neptune

Be a Part of Living History
 CVSW and THE WINDSOR  HISTORICAL SOCIETY PROJECT

trestle table WadsworthAs the last part of the WHS/CVSW Collaboration for the Strong/ Howard House renovation we will be finishing up with an early 18th century Trestle Table. This type of table was in the original kitchen and was typically used as a work table but in your own home would make a great informal dining table-in the kitchen, the family room-you name it. The table we will build is based on an original one from the Wallace Nutting Collection at the Wadsworth Atheneum.

The original table was 10 feet long but you can reduce the length to fit your needs. You may also build it 24” wide as the original was or you can make it 32” wide which is more in keeping with modern dining tables.

The original was pine and ash with a painted finish but you can elect to do the table in cherry or walnut if you prefer.

The construction of the table is fairly simple and straightforward and includes long through pinned tenons for the long central stretcher.

Sign up soon-this is an interesting table and will give you the opportunity to see what goes into building an accurate reproduction of an historical piece of furniture. The one that Bob Van Dyke and Will Neptune will be building will follow the original exactly and will be a permanent part of the Windsor Historical Society Collection.  The two - 3 day weekend format of this class will allow students to get caught up on any work done at home in between class meetings.

Section 071015A: Friday, Saturday & Sunday, July 10,11,12 & 31, August 1 & 2, 9:00am – 5:00pm

Trestle Table, 1690-1720, New England or England. H 28” x W 117” x D 23 5/8”. Pine and ash. Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT. The Wallace Nutting Collection, Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1926.482

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Saw Sharpening 101 with Matt Cianci

Matt setting saw

This class is an introduction for woodworkers interested in learning how to sharpen their own handsaws and backsaws. The curriculum will cover jointing, filing teeth to uniform size and gullet depth, setting, and final sharpening. Topics discussed in depth will include the geometric and functional distinction between rip and crosscut teeth and how fleam and rake are combined to maximize the function of cutting along or across wood fibers. Proper file selection, filing technique, and saw vise requirements will also be discussed. No prior knowledge of saw sharpening is required. The class will be hands on with each student learning to sharpen a rip and crosscut saw.  Students are encouraged to bring one or two saws only. These saws must be in decent shape. This is a sharpening class- not a saw rehab class!  

Matt Cianci is a professional saw doctor. His website and blog are at  http://thesawwright.com  Sign up today- This is always a fun class! Tuition: $125.00 

Section 112115B: Saturday, November 21, 9:30am - 5:00pm

 

 

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Sharpening Hand-tools Techniques with Bob Van Dyke

bvd_sharpen_class.jpg

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  100315A: Saturday, October 3, 10:00am - 5:00pm

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Build a Backsaw with Matt Cianci

build a back saw close up resized

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 081515A: Saturday & Sunday, August 15 & 16, 9:30am - 5:00pm

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Hand Laid Carbon Fiber Workshop  with Walt Scadden

stealth_bomber

The High-Tech explosion of the 21st century has brought about many advancements in design and product construction. Leading the list is a  mysterious substance called Carbon Fiber. Originally developed for NASA and the Military, this ultra light weight, super strong material, can be formed into just about any shape. Using a blend of resin epoxies and composite fiber material, it has found its way into many civilian applications; race cars, motorcycles, sport aircraft, sports and recreational gear, and furniture to name only a few. This class will introduce students to this unique technique by showing them how they can simply, by hand, lay up layers of carbon fiber cloth to construct a desired shape, using common items to prepare the molds or forms. Some of you may have some prior experience and specific interest in this material and others may simply be curious and want to learn about a new material that can be incorporated into other projects. Either way- you will certainly have fun and learn a whole lot! Sign up today. Tuition: $275.00 plus materials

 Section 103115B: Saturday & Sunday, October 31 & November 1, 9:30am - 5:00pm

 

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Make a Pair of Shaker Oval Boxes with Doug Smith

Shaker box stack doug smithShaker Oval boxes are a rewarding project that do not take a huge amount of time, equipment or experience and are a lot of fun to make.

Doug Smith of Douglass Yankee Craftsman will spend two days teaching you the traditional Shaker technique of making fine Shaker Oval Boxes. In this two day beginning class each participant will make a number two and number three Shaker Oval box. You will learn how to hand carve the swallow tails, select the bands and secure them with the traditional clinch nails. One of the most interesting parts of the class is the steaming and bending of the wood to fit around the forms. Fitting the tops and working on the finish will round out your two days of rewarding funs. Sign up today- Space is limited. Tuition: $275.00 plus materials. shaker boxes doug smith

Section 092615B: Saturday & Sunday, September 26 & 27, 9:30am – 5:00pm

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