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Shaker Lap Desk ink bottle drawerAs promised in last week’s post about the online Shaker Lap Desk class, here are some answers to the most common (and a few less common) questions about the class.

First off, what the class is:

The online Shaker Lap Desk class is four pre-recorded episodes detailing the construction of a Shaker Lap Desk illustrated in John Kassay’s “The Book of Shaker Furniture.” The class covers everything from layout and design to stock selection, milling and stock preparation, joinery and finishing. Although the class is scheduled to take place over four separate days, the episodes will be available for you to watch at a time that is convenient for you. The individual episodes have run times of about 45 minutes to an hour. Each day of the class there will be a webinar lasting about 30 to 40 minutes during which you can ask questions about the Shaker Lap Desk project. The webinars will also be available to be viewed at your convenience should you not be able to attend the webinar live. There will also be a forum accessible to you in which you will be able to ask questions about the project. The forum will allow you to get answers to your questions from me (Chuck Bender) and others attending the class. It will also be a place where you can share with others your experiences building the Shaker Lap Desk.

What the class is not:

The online Shaker Lap Desk class is NOT a live build-along class. The construction of the Shaker Lap Desk is pre-recorded (it is part of the first season of my subscription-based online woodworking show No BS Woodworking) so that you can view the details of the project in an environment where you can “rewind” the video and watch a technique or process again if needed. The webinars that accompany the Shaker Lap Desk class are Q&A sessions.

What is the cost of the Shaker Lap Desk class?

The online class itself costs $50. Your material costs may vary but if you purchase the materials in a similar place to where I purchased them, you’ll spend about $25 or $30 total for the project.

Is registration limited?

Yes it is. In order to be able to properly and effectively help you get through the class, we’re limiting the number of people who can take it. Registration closes on January 21st (or when the class fills). Don’t be left out. Sign up today!

What materials do I need to make the Shaker Lap Desk?

This class was designed around an original Shaker Lap Desk using readily available materials that are still relatively period correct for the piece. I purchased three pieces of 3/4″ pre-milled white pine from my local big box store. Technically speaking, I purchased three 1″ x 8″ x 8′ pieces of clear white pine (or something simulating white pine depending upon your big box store) for the project. You can use the wood of your choice and costs will vary. I also purchased some small brass butt hinges at the same big box store (5/8″ x 3/4″). The only other things you will need for the project are a couple of knobs for the ink bottle drawer and the paper drawer, as well as a small screw for the ink bottle drawer retaining button. This all assumes you have some small nails, glue, sandpaper and other basic shop supplies available. If not, you’ll need to purchase those as well.

What skill level is the Shaker Lap Desk project?

I consider the project a beginner to intermediate project. Think “I Can Do That” kicked up a notch if you like. If you’re just starting out in woodworking, you can certainly work your way through the project. You may decide to simplify the desk a little by leaving out the ink bottle and paper drawers but it is certainly achievable for someone just getting started. You may want to purchase a little extra material for dovetail practice if you’ve never cut them before (here’s where you’ll find my DVD on learning how to cut dovetails) but if you already know how to cut dovetails, this project should be easily accomplished.

Is this a hand-tools only project?

I’m a blended woodworker folks, and the Shaker Lap Desk class has been recorded reflecting that philosophy. That means we do a lot of the materials prep by machine but all the major joinery is done by hand. There is very little that is done by machine that cannot be easily done solely with hand tools if you prefer. Those methods just won’t be illustrated in the pre-recorded class. They may, however, be discussed in the webinars and on the forum.

What tools do I need to be able to build the Shaker Lap Desk?

For the materials prep we use a jointer, planer, router and a table saw on the power-tool side of things. On the hand-tool side of things, you’ll need a basic dovetailing kit that includes a handplane or two (preferably a block and a smooth plane), dovetail saw, coping saw or saber saw (depending on your penchant for tailed tools), bench chisels, marking gauge, bevel or dovetail marker, square, mallet and a screwdriver for the hinge screws.

When will the live webinars take place?

Because many of us have to work during the day, and not all in the same time zone, we’ve scheduled the live webinars to take place Thursday and Friday evenings at 9 p.m. EDT. The Saturday and Sunday live webinars will take place at 10 a.m. EDT. We will be recording them so they will be available for everyone taking the class to view in case you can’t make a live session.

Will this class be fun?

You bet it will! This project is a great way to test or improve your woodworking skills. There’s lots of learning going on but there’s lots of fun to be had in each of the episodes. Sign up today!

– Chuck Bender


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Showing 3 comments
  • gauchowoodworking

    I can’t wait for this class to start. Doing all my homework and doting my i’s and crosing my t’s … or is it the other way around? Did not realize this was the first online class for PW

  • tooltoter

    i live in canada but we are leaving for the US.ON monday can i register for this class.For the next 3 month can i just watch the build because all my tools will be back in Canada. thank you.

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