If you really want to learn a new set of skills, or take your skills to the next level, taking a class will get you where you want to go faster than any other means. It beats books, videos and experimenting by yourself. A few times a year, I teach classes in the things I specialize in, furniture from the Arts & Crafts period and Google SketchUp. Last weekend I taught a group of woodworkers how to get the most out of SketchUp at Annapolis Woodworks. When you’re trying to cram your brain full of new stuff, the environment you do that in makes a big difference, and this school is a great example of setting up a shop to maximize the experience.
My list of what makes a great shop starts with space: I want lots of it, high ceilings and plenty of natural light. The shop (and Annapolis in general) has that, plus wood floors. The shop is on two levels. Upstairs, benches and machines are neatly arranged and each bench has a drop for electric power and compressed air. The downstairs is devoted to a turning studio and there are also facilities for steam-bending and chairmaking.
The school was founded in 2007 by Troy Beall, an accomplished furniture and chairmaker. Troy teaches many of the classes, but also brings in outside instructors. You can view a gallery of Troy’s work at this link, and you can find the schedule of courses at this link.
If you’re interested in taking a SketchUp class with me, I’ll be teaching a week-long class in August at Marc Adams School of Woodworking in Franklin, Indiana. I will also be at Marc Adams in September, teaching a class called “The Real Details of Arts & Crafts Furniture.”
If you’re interested in learning SketchUp, check out the Popular Woodworking Magazine online store, where you can find my book “Woodworker’s Guide to SketchUp”, a digital book in PDF format with embedded video lessons, or SketchUp for Woodworkers videos.
– Bob Lang