Chris Schwarz's Blog

Learn Woodworking With Megan (a Real Teacher)

When I teach anything , writing, woodworking, how to play the armpit flute , I always feel like I’m faking it. I know my source material quite well, but communicating it so it sticks in your head and inspires you to improve your skills is difficult.

I was reminded of this last year when I taught a class on handplanes here in our shop at the magazine. Managing Editor Megan Fitzpatrick offered to assist me that Saturday, and as we were packing things up at the end of the class, someone asked Megan something about dovetails.

Within about 10 minutes she had the entire class engaged in a demonstration on the process at her bench, eating out of her hand and watching her work.

In other words Megan can teach.

When she’s not putting the smackdown on our ill-begotten use of the subjunctive mood here at the magazine, Megan spends her free time teaching about “early modern drama” at the University of Cincinnati. We’re not sure what early modern drama is exactly, but it has a lot of “prithyees” in it, so it must be quality stuff.

This May, Megan is going to teach her first woodworking class, a two-day affair at The Marc Adams School of Woodworking. If you or someone you know is just getting started in the craft, I think this class will be an excellent way to begin. For starters, it’s a class that focuses on how to use basic hand-held power and hand tools to build nice furniture.

In other words, it’s a lot like our “I Can Do That” column in Popular Woodworking. And if you follow that column, you know that Megan likes to build a lot of those projects (even though it’s not in her job description).

The students will be building a small chest that was featured a few years ago in the magazine. It’s a sweet piece of work. I think Megan has had to build a few of them for other people in her family who saw her story.

But beyond the project, the class will be a great way to get started in the craft without a lot of tools but with the help of someone who honestly knows her stuff and can teach it.

The class is May 8-9 at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking in Franklin, In. The class is $250. More details are available at The Marc Adams School of Woodworking’s web site.

– Christopher Schwarz

6 thoughts on “Learn Woodworking With Megan (a Real Teacher)

  1. Megan

    Jason,
    Of course you’d be welcome! The only deal is, you can’t make the assumption that the women in the class don’t know how to, say, use a miter saw. And I promise I wouldn’t make any disparaging comments about your lipstick choice. 😉

  2. jaweaver.myopenid.com

    The class is listed on the website as "Woodworking for Women," so I am afraid I wouldn’t be welcome. I could go the Tootsie route, but being 6′ 6" and "big-boned" I am bound to stand out!

  3. David Cockey

    I’ve taken several one-day classes with Chris, and have seen him in action behind a bench at several other events. While he find "teaching" difficult he definately is good at it. On the other hand not all experts are good teachers, and sometimes the best teachers are folks who have recently learned a topic. That person may remember that a lot of knowledge isn’t intuitively obvious and known by everyone.

    It’s been interesting watching Megan’s articles progress from relatively simple items to more complicated and ambitious. Perhaps she’s passed the half way point in her appreticeship. I’ve been reading "The Joiner and Cabinetmaker". I wonder how Megan or one of the guys in the shop would compare her experiences to those of Thomas the fictional apprentice.

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