Schedule of Classes - Summer - early Fall- 2019:
This is a series of hands on furniture making classes that should be taken in succession as each project builds on skills learned in the previous classes.
This series is not a required prerequisite for any other classes contained in this schedule.
A hands-on course that covers the basic concepts of woodworking and furniture making. This eight-session class is a combination of demonstrations and hands-on practice. General shop safety (with particular concentration on using the tablesaw) is emphasized. Students will utilize the skills, techniques and tools (both power and hand-tools) being taught in the class in the making of a walnut jewelry box. This project could also be used to store a variety of other personal items. Skills learned will provide a strong foundation for subsequent furniture-making classes. Class size is limited to 12 students. Tuition: $395.00 plus materials ($59.00)
Section 091119A: Monday & Wednesday evenings, September 11 - October 9, 6:00PM - 9:30PM
(Note: Tim Spratlin is the instructor for these classes)
(This class is a required prerequisite for other classes in the "Fundamentals of Furniture-making" series (Woodworking II & III) and has always proven worthwhile to beginner and advanced students alike. IT IS NOT A PREREQUISITE FOR ANY OTHER CLASSES ON THE SCHEDULE)
General tool list (will open in a new window)
An eight-session class that is a continuation of the Woodworking I class. This class utilizes a combination of hand tools and power tools in the construction of a valuable piece of furniture. Techniques learned in the previous class are put to extensive use as more advanced techniques and skills are introduced. Mortise and tenon joints, grain matching, and using handplanes are a few of the new skills students will learn while making a cherry hall table as their project. Class size is limited, Woodworking I is a prerequisite. Tuition: $395.00 plus materials ($225.00).
Section 101619A: Wednesday evenings, October 16 - December 11, 6:00PM - 9:30PM,
(No Class Wednesday night, November 27)
(Note: Tim Spratlin is the instructor for Woodworking I & II)
General tool list (will open in a new window)
This class concentrates on the techniques used in cabinet making rather than those used in furniture making. Tim Spratlin is a professional cabinetmaker who brings with him years of labor saving tricks and techniques which students will find invaluable when completing their own projects at home. A medium sized painted plywood bookshelf is the project for this class and features techniques such as cutting plywood panels to size, using solid wood edging, making and applying a molding, making a mitered base, using a Kreg jig and working with a router. The design of the bookcase features a plinth base, adjustable shelves and decorative moldings. This class is designed for beginner and intermediate woodworkers who are interested in learning techniques they can use in numerous home improvement projects. The bookcase utilizes common portable power tools that most homeowners would have or might be considering purchasing. This class will provide you with the foundation skills needed for more advanced projects such as kitchen cabinets, storage cabinets, entertainment centers, counter tops and more. Sign up today. Space is limited. Tuition: $325.00 plus materials
Section 091419A: Saturday & Sunday, September 14 & 15, 9:30am - 5:00pm
General Tool list (will open in a new window)
Have you been intrigued with the idea of learning to turn a bowl but are not ready to commit to a 6 week class?. This one day class will get you hooked on turning– Guaranteed! Students will learn some of the basics of woodturning and will come away with a finished shallow cherry bowl and the new found knowledge to turn more. Who knows– you might even jump in head first and find a whole new passion!!
Sharp tools are essential so we will be spending a little time at the grinder learning about sharpening bowl gouges and scrapers. Techniques for sanding and finishing bowls will also be covered. This is a great class –even if you have turned a number of bowls already or have never even thought of turning a bowl. Sign up today. Space is limited to the number of lathes we have!
Tuition: $125.00 plus materials.
Section 060119B, Saturday, June 1, 9:30am - 5:00pm
This six evening class is designed for the beginning (or frustrated) woodturner and features extensive hands-on practice each night. Woodturning is a skill that requires some basic instruction and lots of practice. Students are turning on their own lathe most of each night of the class. Class starts with basic spindle and includes a few simple projects like a mallet and spinning tops. We then move on to face plate turning which includes some cherry and mahogany bowls and plates. Along the way we spend time learning about tool sharpening and general information about lathes, tools, chucks and various jigs used in woodturning. This is a great way to safely get into woodturning and gives you a good foundation for other more advanced turning classes and projects. Tuition: $295.00 plus materials ($49.00)
Section 091819B: Wednesday evenings, September 18 - October 30, 6:00pm - 9:30pm
Many people have asked for a beginning turning class to be offered in a weekend format. This class will cover much of the same material as the six-night class but because of time constraints we will not be able to cover as much material in as much depth. The class will cover spindle turning, bowl turning and basic lathe use, safety and sharpening. Students will have the opportunity to make a number of spindle and faceplate projects during the weekend including a mallet, a bowl and a small plate or platter. This is a great introduction to the fascinating craft of woodturning. Tuition: $275.00 (plus materials: $32.00)
Section 092819B: Saturday & Sunday, September 28 & 29, 9:30am - 5:00pm
Most woodworkers shy away from finishing or are disappointed in their attempts at finishing the projects they have spent so much time and effort in making. Greg Massicotte has been finishing furniture professionally for over twenty years and has taught countless seminars and classes. Students will learn about bleaching and wood preparation, how to use aniline dyes, pigmented stains and glazes in combination to create the dramatic effects and colors they want. The many different choices for top coats always create a lot of questions. This class will expose students to brushing on varnishes, wiping on oils and spraying lacquers. This experience will help clarify the strengths and weaknesses of each topcoat system. Rubbing out the finish and French Polishing will round out the class. With the huge number of finishing questions that come up daily, you should be sure to fit this valuable class in. Tuition $295.00 (plus materials: $45.00)
Look for a new section of this class to be scheduled fall 2019.
Over the years I have done hundreds of classes which feature projects that teach particular skills. The problem with these project classes is that the logistics of the class prevent us from spending sufficient time on any given new skill to really understand and gain any kind of proficiency in it. In this 6 week (4 days per week) class there is no project– Just skills, technique and practice. With no project to distract us we are able to spend days rather than hours to insure learning of basic– and not so basic—furniture making skills and techniques. When I changed the format of this class to no project, just skills- I really believe it has become one of the best classes I have offered in years. Everyone really learns a lot and has a great time!
Plan on spending two to three days on the basic milling process– a strong foundation is essential to more advanced techniques. Instead of learning just enough to get through dovetailing a drawer, plan on spending at least three full days– maybe four, on dovetails. With these new hand skills, cutting a dovetail or a tenon by hand turns out to be a pretty simple affair which you will be able to do! FYI- You will be cutting a set of dovetails every day of this class.
Machine set ups? I already know how to set up the machine– so in this class I will not set anything up– You will do that– after my demo and explanation of course. You will learn what it takes to flatten a tabletop– by machine and by hand, and glue up a tabletop– using one clamp and a handplane.
We will get into planning a project, basic wood technology, buying lumber, tool sharpening, cutting joints -by machine and by hand, along with basic finishing techniques .
Ornamentation is a big part of fine furniture so plan on spending a few days on working with veneers, inlay and making decorative bandings. It is always good to get a second viewpoint so I have arranged for some guest instructors to spend a day or two with us. Will Neptune will be here to do a day of hands on carving and hopefully Mike Pekovich will be able to stop by to introduce you to some of his design ideas and techniques.
Plan on expanding your ideas on furniture making and design- and plan on taking a few field trips to inspect some of the finest furniture made in Connecticut- entirely by hand!
Proficiency in handtools is essential in any high end furniture making and we will spend a lot of our time on just that– plan on spending at least a whole day - probably two- just on working with handplanes– and at least another whole day just on sharpening.
Because the handtools you are using are so critical to your success I am strongly recommending ( I repeat- STRONGLY RECOMMENDING!) you purchase the tapered dovetail saw from Lie Nielsen Toolworks. My experience shows that this is one of the best doveail saws on the market at a very fair price (mention that you are taking the class at CVSW to recieve the 10% student discount). Cheaper saws will just frustrate you and after using mine you will probably just end up buying it anyway!
We will emphasize the proper and safe use of common woodshop machinery such as the table saw, jointer, thickness planer, router and bandsaw. The school has a full complement of ready to use high end hand tools and power tools which you are welcome to use. These tools also will give you some experience and guidance in picking out your own tools which you will eventually need to acquire.
look for a new section of this class to be scheduled October 2019
General tool list (will open in a new window)
Take the plunge and begin to learn about Japanese Joinery- done completely by hand. Japanese furniture joints- and most Oriental joinery, is seemingly complex but under Andrew Hunter’s careful guidance you are assured of getting on the right road to learning some intriguing and fascinating furniture joints. You will begin this series with a Japanese scarf joint. This blind dadoed, rabbeted and keyed scarf joint is a mouthful to say, but with a little guidance even a beginning woodworker is capable of making one. Known as a Kanawa tsugi, it has been used in Japan for centuries to splice together two beams, creating a single, longer beam capable of sustaining multi-directional forces. For this class, the Kanawa tsugi is a great way to develop your skills as a woodworker.
Each student will make their own two-part joint entirely with hand tools. First, you will learn how to layout the joint using a center line as a reference plane, a method that allows irregular shaped members to be seamlessly fit together. Next, you will saw, chop and pare to the lines. Then, assuming the critical first steps are correct, assembly should be a breeze and the tapered pin drives it home.
Andrew will have some of his own Japanese tools for students to try or you can bring your own. The school’s Western style hand tools are also available, and this is a great opportunity to try both Western & Japanese tools to do the same jobs. Whichever tools you choose, Andrew will broaden your understanding of how to use them correctly and efficiently. He has been building furniture by hand for over 20 years and is passionate about encouraging people to strengthen their building skills and cultivate an appreciation for the craft of woodworking. Sign up today for this truly unique and challenging class.
Tuition $295.00 plus materials
Section 051819B: Saturday & Sunday, May 18 & 19, 9:30am – 5:00pm
Stop making compromises with your router. Stop getting “close enough”. Learn how to use some of the most abundant molding planes of the past to get the exact edge you are after. Hollows and rounds do not make specific profiles. They make specific arcs. Learn to transform these few arcs into scores of various profiles. From layout to execution, this weekend class will focus on creating various moldings with these extraordinarily versatile planes.
The class will start off with maintaining the cutting edge, then move to laying out and ultimately sticking (planing) several moldings that will range from simple coves and ovolos through ogees, cymas and various combinations. The class will focus on hollows and rounds sized 6 and 10 along with a rabbet plane. Students will have the opportunity to bring their own performing planes or they can use newly made planes by M. S. Bickford, planemaker. Students will also have the opportunity to use a larger range of planes.
Each student will leave with several picture frames and the ability to transfer moldings he or she sees in person or print into wood and onto their project. Sign up today - this is a great opportunity to learn the use of these versatile planes- and learn a little about how they are made. At the end of the weekend, Matt will make available for sale some of the actual planes you will be using. Tuition $325.00 plus materials.
Section 051819A: Saturday & Sunday, May 18 & 19, 9:30am - 5:00pm
(note: this class was originally scheduled for January 5 & 6, 2019)
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
Look for a new section of this class to be scheduled Fall 2019
Shop-sawn veneer offers many design and construction possibilities that the thinner commercial veneer cannot. Learn how to make your own veneer using the bandsaw. Do you have a board with incredible figure- and wish you had enough to build something with it? What about stretching that board by cutting it into consecutive leaves of 1/16th inch veneer?
In this weekend hands-on class students will learn how to set up the bandsaw to cut accurate veneers. As importantly, Tim will introduce participants to the different veneer substrates and edge banding techniques along with the advantages and disadvantages of each. Adhesives play a big part in working with veneers, so this will be covered, along with the different ways of sequencing sheets of veneer to create dramatic effects and design. You can’t learn effectively by just watching a series of demos- so students will practice the techniques by making a tray- or a wall hanging- of their own design. Those of you who took Tim’s earlier class on surface ornamentation could combine effects for an over the top panel!
Tim Coleman works out of his shop in Shelburne, Massachusetts and produces unique and striking custom furniture for clients and exhibition. In this class you will develop the skills- and the ideas for different designs that you can begin applying to your next project.
The sky is the limit so join furniture maker, Tim Coleman for this unique class and learn how to use thick veneer to create decorative effects for furniture, boxes, picture or mirror frames.
Sign up today.
Section 072019A: Saturday & Sunday, July 20 & 21, 9:30 am – 5:00pm
Join well known Massachusetts woodcarver, Peter Follansbee for this unique hands on class. In this two-day course, students will learn the steps and processes used to recreate carving patterns from seventeenth-century furniture of England and New England. Starting with a single gouge and mallet, we will focus on technique and posture. Also considered are proportions, spacing and the relationship between background and foreground in establishing the pattern/design. Each successive practice pattern builds upon the previous example, adding more tools and concepts. We will incorporate hand-pressure, mallet work, and the use of the V-tool in outlining designs. A compass, awl and marking gauge are used to layout the geometric basis for each pattern, but freehand work is included in each a well. A range of designs will be covered, all drawn from surviving examples studied in museum and private collections.
A segment of the course will be devoted to a pattern Follansbee calls an “S-scroll” and multiple versions of it will be explored. Students will learn ways to combine and contrast these patterns, adapting them for use as furniture accents. Some designs are applicable as narrow framing parts, others as wider panel designs in joined furniture. V-tool work, gouge work and shaping and modeling surfaces all will be addressed. Background punches will create a textured surface, offsetting the smooth texture of the original planed panels. Various shop-made punches highlight the carved designs. Painted backgrounds will be exhibited and discussed, but will fall outside the scope of this weekend workshop. The final project in the class will be a panel design utilizing many of the techniques shown in the initial exercises. This is a great introduction to the weeklong 17th century box class that we will be doing with Peter October 12 - 16. So if you are interested in this distinctive type of furniture and carving style then don’t miss this opportunity to work with one of the leading people in this field. Tuition: $295.00 plus materials
Section 092819B, September 28 & 29, 9:30am - 5:00pm
In this workshop, we’ll explore the construction techniques and decorative carving styles of oak boxes made in New England during the 17th century. Using quartersawn red oak and white pine, we’ll size the materials, cut rabbets to join the corners, fastening them with square wooden pins. Fitted inside the box is a lidded compartment called a till. The white pine bottom is attached with hand-made iron nails. The lid, also white pine, opens on a wooden pintle & cleat hinge.
Much of the focus is learning the carving style. Using about a half-dozen different gouges and simple layout tools like an awl, square, compass and marking gauge, we’ll go through numerous patterns in practice sessions prior to carving the actual box. We’ll study reference photographs of period carvings, learning how to layout and cut them based on the tools and some basic geometry.
No experience necessary. Some basic tools are required, the list will be posted here by mid- summer. The school has some carving tools that can be used during class and Peter will also have some extra carving tools for students’ use. Sign up today. Tuition: $ 795.00 plus materials
Section 101219B: Saturday - Wednesday, October 12 - 16, 9:00 am – 5:00pm
In this one day class, students who have completed their seat frames will get a short general introduction to basic upholstery, and then learn all of the specific techniques to professionally upholstery the seat for their chair. We will begin with installation of “zigger” springs and a sturdy decking material to form the foundation for the upholstery treatment. The padding layers will then be built up with firm foam, softer foam and finally a Dacron batting, all of which will be consolidated with a full muslin sub cover to create the final “sit” and “loft” for your chair. With the under upholstery complete, the show cover of premium leather-look vinyl will be properly tucked and folded, and the seat then finished off with a proper black dust cover on the bottom, making it ready for use.
The materials fee will include all of the required springs, padding, muslin and vinyl show cover (choice of brown or tan), and students may either bring their own tools or use loaner tools available in class. Students who wish to purchase their own genuine leather show covers should be sure that they are 3-4 oz (1.0 – 2.6mm) in weight and at least 30 x 30 inches of clear unblemished material. One yard of other suitable upholstery fabric can also be substituted for the vinyl. Sign up today: Tuition: $125.00 plus materials
Section 063019A, Sunday, June 30, 9:00am—5:00pm
This popular six-day intensive hands-on class is an opportunity to concentrate on the basics of woodworking and furniture making. Each student will make a Shaker style cherry hall table, which is a perfect vehicle to practice the machine and hand-tool techniques that we teach in the class. Subjects covered include basic shop safety, machine use (with particular emphasis on the tablesaw, jointer and planer), using handplanes, card scrapers and chisels effectively to surface and hand-fit the mortice and tenon joints, handtool sharpening, making tapered legs and grain matching and gluing up a top. This class takes the place of Woodworking I & Woodworking II and provides a strong foundation for more advanced furniture projects. Tuition: $795.00 plus materials
Section 060319A, Monday - Saturday, June 3 - 8, 9:00am - 5:00pm
general tool list (will open in a new window)
Join nationally know inlay expert, Steve Latta as we explore and push the limits of adding distinctive decorative details to your work. Furniture makers have lots of options for enhancing their work. Inlay and ornamental veneer work are two of the oldest methods dating back to ancient Egypt. We will spend a full week on learning Steve’s proven methods for creating striking inlays, bandings and sand shaded paterae. We will begin the week with line-and-berry inlay, a technique native to Chester County PA, which is where Steve lives. After completing a decorative panel, we’ll move on to the Federal period focusing on bandings, ornamental stringing, bell flowers, sand shading and paterae. We’ll discuss regional motifs and interpretations, both rural and urban, as well as the work of a few standouts. Since all of these techniques have a place in contemporary furniture work, we’ll take a look at a few,modern twists in terms of designs and methods that can really add some spice to your work. Although a great deal of information will be presented, students will have ample time to practice and gain an understanding of these techniques.
We will use a variety of tools including handtools, power tools and some tools that we will make in class. You should plan on acquiring a few tools that are basic to this kind of work. A Dremel equiped with a foot switch and the Stew Mac base along with the radius cutter from Lie Nielsen toolworks are strongly suggested. You will gain an understanding and dexterity in manipulating them all in this exciting and unique class. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from one of this country’s leading experts on the art of decorative inlays. Steve is a frequent instructor here at CVSW and is also a contributing editor for Fine Woodworking magazine. Sign up today! Tuition: $795.00 plus materials
General Tool list (will open in a new window)
Learn the basics of chair making and more while building a classic Arts and Crafts rocker. In this six-day class we'll cover bent lamination techniques, angled tenon joinery and cutting tenons on curved parts, while making a rocking chair guaranteed to be the most comfortable chair in your house. Fine Woodworking magazine executive art director, Mike Pekovich, will show you his method for breaking down a complex project into simple steps that you can put to use on any project. The class is also a great lesson in building an original piece using craftsman details for an authentic Arts & Crafts look. We anticipate that participants will have most of the chair completed by the end of the class but do not be surprised if you still have some minor “finishing up” work to complete in your own shops. As a special bonus we have arranged a follow up class with well-known upholsterer and CVSW instructor Mike Mascelli. In that Sunday class participants will make the cushion necessary to complete the chair. The upholstery is, of course, something that you can also do on your own or with an upholsterer of your own choosing.
Don’t miss this great opportunity to learn from a great instructor and make a great furniture project. Sign up today. Tuition: $795.00 plus materials
Section 062419A: Monday - Saturday, June 24 - 29, 9:00am – 5:00pm
General tool list (will open in a new window)
What better way to spend a week than to put a woodcarving gouge in your hand, create something beautiful- and have fun! Mary May, a well-known professional woodcarver and instructor from South Carolina, will walk you through the carving process using a variety of relief carving projects. Starting the week with a floral relief design and then moving onto a scallop shell, the class will cap off the week with that wonderful and traditional acanthus leaf that is seen on so many period furniture pieces. Throughout the week Mary will also demonstrate a variety of tricks and techniques on how to efficiently use the gouges, how to make difficult carving cuts, how to sharpen tools to a razor sharp edge, and how to make the carving appear deeper than it actually is. Students will have the opportunity of working on projects of their own choosing along with projects that Mary has selected for their suitability in teaching the skills being demonstrated.
This is a perfect class for both beginners and experienced carvers. Beginning carvers can learn the basics from Mary, while experienced carvers will have a whole week to pick Mary’s brain, clarify the questions they may have been struggling with over the years and practice the skills she will be showing you. This is a great opportunity to learn both the basics and the advanced techniques under the guidance of one of our country’s best carvers and instructors.
Sign up today- This is a week that you will not want to miss! Tuition: $745.00 plus materials.
Are you starting to gather a hand tool collection but have no place to put it? Here's a great tool chest that's big enough for an essential tool set, but small enough to take along with you to your next woodworking class. Recently featured in Fine Woodworking magazine, the chest has a tool well at the top where you can store hand planes and backsaws. Below it are two drawers that can be outfitted for chisels and layout tools and anything else you can think of. Join Mike Pekovich in this unique week-long class and build not only the tool chest, but a rolling stand as well. We'll assemble the case with dovetails and tenons, and top it off with a frame-and-panel lid. Finally, we'll build dovetailed drawers and outfit the interior with dividers custom-fit for your tools. Your collection of tools need a safe place to be and what better way to bring them to your next class at CVSW! Sign up today. Space is limited.
Tuition: $795.00 Plus materials
Section 081219A, Monday - Saturday, August 12 - 17, 9:00am-5:00pm
General tool list (will open in a new window)
In this fast paced class students will have the opportunity to build the traditional cabinetmaker’s workbench they have dreamed about! Let’s face it- the benches we build in the school during the year are great (especially for the price!) but nothing beats working on a traditional workbench constructed entirely of 8/4 and 12/4 rock maple. A flat top, wide enough to accommodate most work, wooden bench dogs to hold the work in conjunction with the end vise, a sturdy shoulder vise, a tool tray to keep the smaller tools you are working with in one place and about 300 pounds of dead weight all make this bench a pleasure to work on. The massive trestle base joined with wedged mortice and tenons knocks down for easier (relatively!) moving (We have fit these into mini vans easily). We use the Lie Nielsen tail vise and Chain drive shoulder vise hardware. It is hands down the best we have ever seen. The bench is 7' long and 26" wide and weighs about 300 pounds. This is a great project to further your woodworking skills and is a bench you will treasure for years and pass on to future generations. Sign up today- space is limited- and be ready to work hard- you will go home with a finished workbench (minus an actual finish if you decide to add that)! Tuition: $795.00.00 plus materials (materials are approximately $1495.00- includes all Lie Nielsen Vise hardware and our own wooden benchdogs)
Section 082419A: Saturday - Friday, August 24 - 30, 9:00am - 5:00pm
(Note: The bench we make in class does not include the drawers pictured here)