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 Fall & Winter class schedule now available.

Speciality & Weekend Classes

Wood Identification Class with Randy Wilkinson

Wood Identification

Seeing 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 CHS (Connecticut Historical Society). We 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 a one-day intensive and hands-on inspection. No experience is necessary. Tuition $275, plus materials which includes a hardwood sample kit, 10x loupe and book (Identifying Wood). Class size is limited to 15 students. This class will fill quickly, so sign up soon.

Section 022115B: Saturday & Sunday, February 21 & 22, 9:30am –5:00pm

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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

Section 121314A, Saturday & Sunday,   December 13 & 14, 9:30am – 5:00pm

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Build a Utility Workbench with Tim Spratlin

utility_workbenchMany 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. Take advantage of this opportunity to get a good bench into your own shop. Tuition: $295.00 plus materials

Section 032415A: Tuesday Evenings, March 24 - April 28, 6:00pm - 9:30pm

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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  101214A: Sunday, October 12 , 10:00am - 5:00pm

 

 

 

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Build a Federal Style Side Table with Bob Van Dyke

walnut hepplewhite table resizedThis exciting new class features a small Federal or Hepplewhite style side table with a whole lot of  challenges and a boatload of new skills to be learned. The focus of this class will be efficiency – in joinery, in ornamentation and in design. Efficiency in joinery means doing as much joinery as possible all at once and making joints that fit right off the machines. This project also features many techniques that may be new to a number of you. Working with veneer for the drawer front, dovetailing and cockbeading a drawer and adding cuff inlay and stringing to the legs, all turn a basically simple table into an heirloom piece you can be proud of. We will also be making some of the tools you will need to do the inlay work. This is a simple traditional Federal table which will fit with just about any home décor (and is small enough, 23” wide X about 17” inches deep, or you can opt to do a small square table, 17” X 17”) to fit just about anywhere. Sign up soon – these are some skills you will be able to use over and over. There will be certain handwork that you may be required to complete outside of class. Please make sure you are willing to do that before signing up. This is going to be a fun class!

Tuition $595.00 plus materials

Section 012615A: Monday evenings, January 26 - April 20, 6:00pm- 9:30pm

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Handplane Weekend 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 first day will be spent getting your plane sharpened and tuned up  so you can start practicing using it on the second day. Techniques such as smoothing a surface, beveling a table edge, planing a curved surface, shooting edge joints, making spring joints, using shooting boards, fitting mortise and tenons and planing end grain will all be demonstrated and practiced. Don’t miss this unique and informative class. Space is limited. You should bring at least one plane to this class- preferably an older Stanley #4. Bob collects planes for sale that are perfect for this class- and they are great users once they have been tuned up. Check with him about these. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.Â">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) Bringing a Lie-Nielsen or a Lee valley plane is fine- but you will not learn anything about tuning up those planes as they come to you already tuned up extremely well. Tuition: $275.00 plus materials

 

Section 112914A:    Saturday & Sunday,  November 29 & 30,  9:30am –   5:00pm

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Hone your handtool skills with Mike Pekovich

pekovich handtoolsYou can use power tools all day long, but you'll never know the true joy of the craft until you introduce hand tools into your woodworking. In this weekend class Mike Pekovich will take you through a series of skill-building exercises designed to boost competence and confidence using the essential hand tools. We'll focus on chisel, block plane, backsaw, spokeshave and scraper skills, and also take time to talk about getting truly sharp with each tool. You'll gain a better understanding of the geometry and ergonomics involved in making a hand tool work for you. The emphasis of this class is on making shavings not furniture parts, so there's no stress involved. The aim is to have fun and gain some skills and confidence with your tools that you can then bring to your woodworking projects. Mike is The Art Director at Fine Woodworking Magazine and is a truly gifted furniture maker and designer. He prefers to work with handtools when possible. This class will fill up quickly so don’t wait too long to get signed up.

Tuition: $275.00 plus materials.

Section 041115A: Saturday & Sunday, April 11 & 12, 9:30 - 5:00pm

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Build an Arts & Crafts Style Wall Cabinet with Mike Pekovich

 

cabinetSM webJoin Fine Woodworking Magazine’s Art Director, Mike Pekovich as we explore the fine points of cabinetmaking while building an elegant wall cabinet. Don't be fooled by its small size, this project- in quarter sawn white oak, packs a big punch when it comes to lessons in case, door and drawer construction. Learn fast and efficient dovetail construction while building the case. We'll cover the ins and outs of frame-and-panel construction while building, fitting and hanging the door. Finally we'll build and fit a dovetailed drawer. The focus of the class will be on combining machine and handwork with classic construction techniques to produce work of the highest quality in the most efficient manner. This class provides a great foundation for building fine casework of any size or style. Don’t miss this great opportunity to improve your woodworking skills while working with one of he best instructors around!

Sign up today! Tuition: $425.00 plus materials

Section 012915A: Thursdays January 29- March 26, 6:30 pm - 10:00pm

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Build a Table from a Single Board with Mike Pekovich

table board webThis small table is a simple project that lets you focus on using wood successfully and efficiently. In this class, we'll build the entire table from a single board. The focus, though, is not just on economy. By getting all of the parts from one board, we can ensure a great color match throughout the piece. And by cutting parts from strategic locations in the board, you’ll end up with pleasing grain patterns in all the right places. Mike will make you aware of the different grain patterns that contribute, in a subtle way, to the overall success of the piece. By working with just one piece of wood you are forced to become acutely aware of these patterns and how they affect the overall look of a piece of furniture.  Along the way, you’ll get great lessons in resawing and rough-milling stock. You'll also learn to build and fit a traditional dovetailed drawer. The shaped legs are a departure for many of you and the possibilities are really endless. Don’t miss this great class with Fine Woodworking Magazines, Art Director, Mike Pekovich.

Sign up today. Space is limited. Tuition: $695 plus materials

 

Section 022015A: Friday, Saturday, Sunday, February 20, 21 & 22 & Saturday - Sunday, March 28 & 29, 9:30am - 5:00pm

 

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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 121314B: Saturday, December 13, 9:30am - 5:00pm

 

 

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Making Raised Panel Doors with Tim Spratlin

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The raised panel door is a basic part of most furniture carcase construction, but is also used extensively in cabinet making. Tim will guide students thru the finer points of making raised panel doors. Proper sizing of the door to fit into an opening along with sizing the floating panel to allow for seasonal expansion and contraction are an essential part of the class. Students will use the router table and a set of “cope & stick” bits to make the stiles and rails. Students will use vertical & horizontal raised panel bits to form the panel. Each student will make a door they can then use as a model in their own workshops. Tuition: $95.00 plus materials

                 

                  Section 120714B:    Sunday, December 7,  10:00am - 4:30pm

 

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Greene & Greene Details I with Darrell Peart

Greene_and-Greene_classGreene & Greene furniture represents some of the best work ever done in the Arts & Crafts Style and west coast furniture maker, Darrell Peart indulges his passion by working and teaching primarily in the style of these two California designers who so successfully blended some of the best features of the Arts & Crafts movement with some  of the subtleties of Asian furniture. When building furniture in the Greene & Greene style, it is essential to have a working knowledge of the design details employed by the Greene Brothers.  In the process of assembling the sample piece shown here each student will learn how to produce several G&G details with step –by-step instructions and detailed drawings for all the jigs involved.  Class discussion will also include Darrell’s views on how each of the details relate to the overall design. It's an informal atmosphere with a chance to talk woodworking and Greene and Greene. (two of Darrell’s favorite  subjects) along with learning some great techniques to incorporate into your own furniture making endeavors
The topics that we will cover in class include: blacker brackets, breadboard construction, the G & G signature exposed ebony splines and proud ebony square plugs along with cloud lifts and leg indent details. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to learn from one of this country’s leading authorities on the Greene and Greene style. Tuition $325.00 plus materials

 

Section  031415A:   Saturday & Sunday, March 14 & 15, 2015, 9:00am - 5:00pm

 

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Build a Tahoma Mirror/Picture Frame with Darrell Peart

joint detailIn this one-day class, students will route and glue up a 14” X 22” Tahoma frame.   As part of the class each student will take home a CNC template for making the “S” shaped miter joint which can be used for making frames from 12” to 48”.  The “S” shaped miter makes this frame both attractive and exceptionally easy to make. When joined with pinch dogs the miter locks at 90-degress and does not slip. After glue up the “S” joint will be reinforced with an exposed spline.

Greene & Greene ebony pegs will be covered as a part of the class and a discussion on an appropriate G&G finish for the frame will be covered as well.

Tuition:$125.00 plus materials

Section: 0031615A: Monday, March 16, 2015, 9:00am - 5:00pm

tahoma frameGeneral tool list  (will open in a new window)  

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Build an Acoustic Guitar with Scott Dixon

us guitar  picMany of those who have played or even admired the beauty of the guitar have shown interest in someday making an heirloom instrument that can be played today and passed on and continued to be played for generations. This class is designed to take a beginner/intermediate woodworker through the steps to make a steel string acoustic guitar from a unique kit. You will learn the terminology and the techniques focused on many of the specialized processes to complete your own personalized instrument. The process is broken down into small steps to familiarize the student with the construction of the neck including truss rod installation, fingerboard & fretting, abalone inlay and construction of the body including brace trimming/fitting, top installation, bridge gluing/alignment, purfling and final fit up of the neck to body joint using a bolt-on system. Each guitar will be completed leaving the final top coat finish up to the student. Look for our other classes designed for finishing techniques. Be sure to visit the school to see and play the finished guitar. Three models are available – Sapele w/Spruce Top, Sycamore w/Cedar Top or Maple w/Cedar Top. Please specify species preference when signing up.
Scott has been instrumental to the development of the kits, tool selection and the teaching methods for all the instructors in The U.S Guitar Kits Teacher program. Most recently Scott and U.S. Guitar Kits were featured in the new book "Guitar Building Basics-Acoustic Assembly at Home"  Tuition: $395.00 plus materials ($285.00)

Section 112114B: Friday - Sunday,  November 21, 22 & 23,   9:00am - 6:00pm

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Hand Laid Carbon Fiber Workshop  with Walt Scadden

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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 120614B: Saturday & Sunday, December 6 & 7, 9:30am - 5:00pm

 

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Blacksmithing for Christmas with Walt Scadden

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Christmas is just a few days away and you have a few choices; go to the mall and finish your Christmas shopping (along with everyone else in the northeast!), stay home (you will probably just be in the way!) or come to the school and learn a little blacksmithing and make some small projects on the anvil that you might (or maybe not!) want to give someone as a Christmas present. That sounds like more fun-right? Walt Scadden will guide students in the making of a holly leaf shaped key ring, a small iron wreath or maybe a letter opener. These are just a few of the possibilities. No experience is needed so sign up today. Tuition:$125.00 plus materials.

Section 122014B: Saturday,  December 20,  9:30pm – 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 112914B: Saturday & Sunday, November 29 & 30, 9:30am – 5:00pm

 

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Class Images

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Testimonials

3/12/2012

Bob,

The SAPFM meeting on Saturday was excellent.  The presentations were very interesting.

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7/2/2012

Hi Bob,
Just a quick note to thank you and Will for an excellent experience in the Chapin Class.  I had to be home early and was not able to properly thank  you for the additional time on Sunday.  I have learned a lot in this class as I have in all of your programs.  I’ll see you in the fall.

John