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The first step

By May 13, 2022No Comments

Where to start when getting into woodworking?

That’s a tricky question because there is no correct answer.  There’s also no wrong answer.  That ambiguity is incredibly freeing, because it means you can start exactly where you are right now.

I frequently respond to the “where do I start” question by giving a list of great options.  Some may be a viable option for you, others not.

  • Clubs and Associations:  The Furniture Society is a great place to start, though there turning clubs, local woodworking chapters, virtual groups, and other specific interests to explore.
  • Monthly Publications: Fine Woodworking Magazine has been the industry standard for the past 25 years.
  • Books: I’m always excited for the new releases by Tauton Press, Blue Hill Press, and Lost Art Press (disclosure: I’m writing a book with Lost Art Press currently about Appalachain Backwoods Chairmaking).
  • YouTube: It’s a mixed bag.  There’s a mountain of good information available, as well as dangerous practices and unsound techniques.  I like knowing the video is produced by a sound source and/or a considerate, experienced maker.
  • Classes:  This is where we come in.  We offer opportunities to expand your skills but we’re not the only ones around.  Greg Pennington offers Windsor chair making classes in Hendersonville, TN.  The John C Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC, always has an impressive catalog of classes.  Arrowmont (Gatlinburg, TN) is an inspiring place to take a class at the base of the Smokey Mountains.  Then there’s the Little Miami Handworks in Southwest Ohio.

With regards to classes at Pine Croft, it’s my intention to offer a range of classes (both project and skills based) that both challenge and support our students.  I intend to continue scheduling renowned instructors and upcoming younger makers, in hopes of adding variety and interest.

These classes can seem intimidating, especially for beginners.  While it may seem scary to sign up to make your first chair or cut your first dovetail, our classes are designed to support your initial efforts.  The classes are designed to challenge a seasoned maker as well as a beginner, while providing everyone the space and support needed to acquire new skills.

Please consider any class we offer.  If it requires advanced skills, I will note it in the class description.  Start with a class that looks interesting to you and expand your skills from there.

I have added a “place to start” class into our offerings for those of you who want a broad woodworking education as your foundation.  It’s our “Introduction to Woodworking” class and I plan on running it again this October.  It’s a six day class, roughly broken into daily topics: hand tools (day 1), common power tools and machinery (day 2), sharpening (day 3), wood turning (day 4), and we finish the week making a dovetailed keepsake box.

Again, my advice is to start with something that interests you.  Maybe I’ll see you in October at Pine Croft if the “Intro” class sounds interesting.

As always, please send me thoughts and questions about our classes.  I am excited to talk woodworking.  My email: glenna@berea.edu

Warmly, Andy Glenn