Online Classes

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Learn on your terms with our online woodworking classes. Whether you’re woodworking for fun, extra money or for a living, Popular Woodworking University can help you get inspired and improve your skills. Our expert instructors will provide advice, specific applications, real-world experience and the motivation and drive to help you achieve your goals.

There are two types of courses: 1-hour webinars (typically on Wednesday evenings), and full courses that can run for weeks. See our full courses at

Get downloads of our webinar series here.

Always cut downhill when turning.

How to Start a Woodturning Cut

To turn wood safely, you need to know the correct way to introduce a cutting tool to a spinning workpiece. There are different ways to start a cut, depending on the type of tool you use. Here’s a look at how to start cuts with traditional woodturning tools and carbide tools. Positioning the Tool...


A Modern Approach to a Traditional Greene and Greene Detail

Much of the furniture found in the Gamble House living room has a cloud lift pattern detail on all four sides, along with a carved pattern matching this detail. The cloud lift shape can be accomplished by template routing, but the corresponding carving requires a few more steps. To produce repeatable results I created...


Learning to Program a CNC Router

Have you ever used flashcards or CDs to learn a foreign language? To learn a new word, you read it from a card or listen to a native speaker say it in the new language, then you get an English translation. I think you can take a similar approach to learning G code, the programming language that controls CNC routers. G-code...


My Woodshop “Pencil Problem”

One of the great joys of woodworking is helping other woodworkers realize their fullest potential. With limited technical and artistic skills there is little I can do to help other woodworkers perfect their joinery, inlay, carving or turning techniques. However, as a fairly well organized guy, I do enjoy helping fellow woodworkers organize their...


How to Create an Irregular Mortise & Tenon in SketchUp

A student wrote and asked me this paraphrased question: “Can you give me some suggestions for drawing these irregular tenons into the legs? If the mortises were rectangular I would simply use the Rectangle tool to trace one onto the face of the leg and Push/Pull it to depth.” I exaggerated his tenon in...

wood inlay tools

Securing Wood Inlay Templates Without Clamps

A plunge router and template are two must-have tools for wood inlay work, and to get tight-fitting inlays, you’ll need some way to make sure your work pieces don’t move around while you’re routing. Clamps usually work, but there isn’t always room. When you need to secure a template to a work piece for routing, double-sided...


Learning to Use Woodworking Hand Tools with Steve Branam

As the course manager for Popular Woodworking University, I spend a lot of time watching woodworking videos and putting together materials for online courses. Each one of our courses has several hours of video, and I have to be familiar with all of it. Steve Branam’s Intro to Hand Tools has more than 12...

This low-resolution image was created in SketchUp using a free version of Maxwell Render.

Creating Realistic Images with SketchUp Plugins

Whenever I take on a new cabinet or built-in project, I like to model it in SketchUp. I sometimes have trouble visualizing how things are going to fit together, and an accurate 3D model helps me think through a project thoroughly before I start. Often, I like to go even further with a model, using it...

veneering with backed sheets is easy

How to Apply Wood Veneer with Backing

When hobbyist woodworkers do any sort of veneering, they usually work with raw veneers. These un-backed sheets are great for small projects, and though they can be used for large work, most commercial woodworking shops use paper or phenolic-backed veneers because they’re more convenient. You can decide for yourself which is better for your...