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Speciality & Weekend Classes

Introduction to Inlay with Steve Latta

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Inlay is a technique missing from many folks’ arsenals of skillsets.  A little bit of inlay can go a long way in taking a casual piece to something far more formal and sophisticated- or it can just make it more interesting and fun.  In this hands on class, nationally recognized furniture maker and inlay expert, Steve Latta, will present an overview of both traditional and contemporary practices, using both hand and power tools. This is a hands on class so you will have plenty of opportunity to practice with both techniques.  You’ll walk away with an understanding of traditional stringing and modern day pattern work with the ability to add rich accents to your work, be it a table top, drawer front or a simple decorative panel. This is a great class if you have never done any inlay but even if you have been working and experimenting on your own you owe it to yourself to study with one of the best instructors in the country. Sign up today- You do not want to miss this opportunity. Some specific tools are suggested and the list is in the link below. 

Tuition: $275.00 plus materials

Section 091716A: Saturday & Sunday, September 17 & 18, 9:30am—5:00pm

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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 handtools. 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 will be based on a Connecticut River Valley example; we will also explore related objects through slide presentations, to better understand the context of joiner’s work.  We will begin with oak we’ve split from a large-diameter oak log, and 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!

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 and 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. The secondary wood will be sawn pine which will become the chest’s bottom boards and lid, and some of the parts for the small lidded till included inside the chest.

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.   As an added bonus we will schedule a trip to the Yale Furniture Study in New Haven in order to study the numerous examples of carved chests in their collection. This is a hand-tool class; planes, chisels, saws - a simple tool kit is all that is required. 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 100116A Saturday & Sunday, October 1 & 2, November 5 & 6, December 3 & 4, January 7 & 8, February 4 & 5 (2017), 9:30am – 5:00pm

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Build a Sharpening Box with Bob Van Dyke

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A few years ago I had to do a sharpening demonstration at one of the woodworking shows and while I was collecting my stuff I realized how incredibly disorganized I was. Stones were in one drawer, honing guide in another, projection jig hanging on a hook and water sprayer on a shelf. What a lot of steps just to get ready to sharpen a chisel. I came up with this box which keeps all my sharpening paraphernalia in one place and I can even use it as a solid, self-contained platform to do my sharpening on.  The box was featured on the cover of Fine Woodworking Magazine in June of 2016. In this weekend class we will make the basic box (which is a lot more complex than it looks!), apply waterproof plastic laminate to the top work surface, make the stops for the projection jig on top and then make the inside dividers custom to the sharpening tools that you use every day. Sign up today– This is a great opportunity to get your sharpening tools all in one place and get organized! Tuition $275.00 plus materials.

Section 092416A: Saturday & Sunday, September 24 & 25, 9:30am—5:00pm

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Build an Arts & Crafts Style Wall Cabinet with Mike Pekovich

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Join 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. The 3 day weekend followed by the 2 day weekend format will allow participants to finish up any handwork at home that they might not get done during the first session. Don’t miss this great opportunity to improve your woodworking skills while working with one of the best instructors around!

Tuition: $695.00 plus materials 

Section 100816A: Saturday, Sunday & Monday, October 8, 9 & 10 and 29 & 30, 9:30am—5:00pm

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Constructing Elegant Glass Doors with Steve Latta

Adding a set of glass doors to a case adds an air of sophistication that is hard to equal. Glass doors allow fine books, china, silver, keepsakes or a wide range of valuables to be 

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safely and securely displayed. The subtle defects found in old glass, like waves and small bubbles, adds a sense of vitality and liveliness. The grill work found on breakfronts, secretaries and bookcases is much lighter and more refined than the heavy grid pattern on corner cabinets and hutches. A mere 3/8” at their widest point, these mullions are both strong and subtle in style. The manner of construction, a lower frame covered with an upper molding, lends itself to block, geometric and curved designs. In this class, each participant will construct a small, four panel glass door using traditional mortise and tenon joinery for the frame and an interior consisting of a two-piece grid work. This project will include:

  • Mortise and tenon door joinery
  • An interior grid consisting of a two-part mullion system with 1/8” and 3/8” components.
  • An overview of geometric and curved construction.
  • A demonstration on salvaging old window glass.
  • A discussion on the many new styles of “restoration” glass.
  • Methods for tinting window glaze to match the wood.

Sign up today. Tuition: $275.00 plus materials

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Section 102216A: Saturday & Sunday, October 22 & 23, 9:30am—5:00pm

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Build the Oliver Ellsworth Card Table with Will Neptune

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Oliver Ellsworth was the 3rd Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court and, for those of you who remember your American history, was the author of the Constitution’s Connecticut Compromise. The story is that Ellsworth acquired a pair of mahogany card tables while travelling through Boston on his return from France in the late 1700’s. Speculation exists as to their origin- were they made in Boston or Connecticut? After studying the tables closely, we suspect they may have been built here in Connecticut. The use of cherry for the fly rail and the overall excellence of the construction suggest Connecticut origins. 

There are two of these tables now- one at Windsor Historical Society and its twin up the road at the Ellsworth Homestead. We hope to add another 8 or 10 of these tables- made in Manchester this time!

Will Neptune and Bob Van Dyke have studied and measured the original table and we are looking to recreate exact copies in a unique four weekend class starting in October.

This table features a number of challenging technical problems. Aside from working with the birdseye maple veneer covering the serpentine aprons, the skills you will be exposed to include making the knuckle joint in the cherry fly rail- and adjusting it so the table leg swings properly, setting in the rosewood crossbanding and making the rosewood cockbeading along the bottom edge of the table. Not the least challenging is the installation of the special card table hinges that will allow the top to pivot open and closed and sit properly on the hinged leg. 

The format of this class; one weekend per month for a total of 4 weekends allows us to take on ambitious projects because any “busy work” can be done at home in your own shop rather than taking up valuable class time. We will also be scheduling a “field trip” to the Windsor Historical Society so you can all study the original. Because woodturning is a completely different set of skills, the legs will be turned by a professional woodturner we have used extensively in the past.

This is an elegant and refined card table which will become an heirloom in any family- just as it was in the Ellsworth family.

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Sign up today- space is limited. Tuition $1195.00 plus materials

Section 100116A: Saturday & Sunday, October 1 & 2, October 29 & 30, December 3 & 4 & January   21 & 22, 9:30am – 5:00pm

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Figuring Out Compound Angles with Steve Brown

compound angle_joinery-resizedThe objective of this weekend class is to gain understanding of compound angle issues in woodworking and to understand general and specific solutions for building a box with sloped sides and a table with canted legs. 

First, we will look at the problem and in particular the common misconceptions of what we are seeing versus what is actually going on with a piece having sloped sides. With examples, models and drawings we will puzzle through the distortions in order to clarify the true information.

With this new understanding we can then discuss some of the strategies that can be used to solve the problems in actual practice. We will look at a solution that helps to solve the problem in a clear mechanical way without relying on complicated math or complex drafting yet still giving us a clear and accurate way to proceed.

In this class we will work on examples of two basic compound angle forms- a box or tray with canted sides and a table with splayed legs. The accurate execution relies on the use of a gauge block to set up the tablesaw accurately We will explore the joinery typically used including butt joints, miters, dovetails & mortise & tenons. Tools required in addition to the basic tool list include: bevel gauge, marking gauge and dividers. Steve has been a lead instructor at North Bennett Street School in Boston for over 15 years and I am pleased to have him teaching here at CVSW.

Sign up today- This is a class that will answer your questions on what is admittedly a challenging joinery problem. 

Tuition: $275.00 plus materials

Section 110516A: Saturday & Sunday, November 5 & 6, 9:30am – 5:00pm

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Saw Sharpening 101 with Matt Cianci

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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 plus materials

Section 111916B: Saturday, November 19, 9:30am - 5:00pm

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Yes Folks - There are More Than 10 Ways to Cut Dovetails with Bob Van Dyke

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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)

Tablesaw dovetails

Section 112616A: Saturday & Sunday, November 26 & 27, 9:30am – 5:00pm

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

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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  Mike South_inlay_web_3Mike south_inlay_web_2

Section102216B: Saturday & Sunday, October 22 & 23, 9:30am—5:00pm

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Straddle the Fence- It's not Just for Politicians!

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Join Bob Van Dyke for a few nights of building one of the most valuable tablesaw add on jigs you can imagine! How many times have you clamped a sacrificial scrap of plywood to the fence to cut a rabbet and then had to move the clamps because they were in the way of the cut? And- have you ever heard of pattern cutting on the tablesaw? The fixture we will make is an ingenious and easily used base to fit over the existing tablesaw fence and allows you to quickly bolt on any number of specialty fences- certainly the most valuable being an easily adjusted and versatile “L” fence. We will make the base, the “L” fence and a number of other fences (miter fold, Tenoning jig, rabbets, etc.) Check the two articles in Fine Woodworking written by Bob for the full explanation- or- just sign up and plan on going home at the end of the class with the most useful tablesaw jig you have ever used! Sign up today. Tuition $275.00 plus materials

“Supercharge your Rip Fence” January / February 2013

“The incredible L Fence” Issue 237

“Tools & Shops” issue 2014

Section 113016A: Wednesday evenings, November 30—Dec 14, 6:00—9:30pm

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Beginning Electric Guitars - Build a Telecaster or Stratocaster with Mike South

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In this 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 wood body we will bandsaw and rout the basic shape, fit and fine tune the maple 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 finishes. 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 $445.00 plus materials.

Section 101316B: Thursday evenings, October 13— December 15, 6:00pm – 9:30pm

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Make a Dovetailed, Veneered & Inlayed Box with Bob Van Dyke

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In this class students will get the chance to learn a lot of new skills all packed into one small project. The small walnut or mahogany box we will be making will feature dovetails, veneer work, an inlayed banding on the top and setting hinges. This is a great chance to learn a unique (and quick!) way of cutting dovetails- 1/2 on the tablesaw and 1/2 by hand. They come out great every time. Maybe you have been wanting to learn some veneering techniques and a little about inlaying a decorative banding or stringing detail- Here is your chance. Imagine a top of tiger maple, birdseye maple or crotch walnut! Don’t miss this opportunity to add to your woodworking skills while making an attractive and useful little storage box. Sign up today - space is limited. Tuition: $445.00 plus materials ($77.00)

Bob Van Dyke walnut box

Section 011117A:  Wednesday evenings, January 11—March 15, 6:00pm – 9:30pm

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An Introduction to the Art of Kumiko with Mike Pekovich

kumiko box

Are you looking to spice up your work in a unique and attractive way? Then you need to sharpen your chisels and try your hand at kumiko. This Japanese latticework technique is traditionally found on shoji screens, but it has been making its way into contemporary furniture and boxes. The elegant geometric patterns are created by cutting, beveling and fitting small basswood parts until they slide together forming the geometric pattern-without the need for glue. In this weekend class we will make a mitered box into which the top– with its traditional Kumiko “hemp leaf” pattern will sit. Mike Pekovich is the Executive Art Director at Fine Woodworking Magazine and is an accomplished furniture maker and instructor. His original designs are both inspiring and elegant in their simplicity. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn some new techniques while making an attractive and useful box. Tuition: $275.00 plus materials

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Section 121716A: Saturday & Sunday, December 17 & 18, 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.

 

This class will be re-scheduled for January 2017

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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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