Why I Teach (and Take) Woodworking Classes
During the last few years I’ve begun to teach classes at schools that I really like, such as the Marc Adams School of Woodworking in Franklin, Ind., and Kelly Mehler’s School of Woodworking in Berea, Ky. But the funny thing is that just because I’m now a teacher, I also really like to take woodworking classes.
In fact, if it weren’t for woodworking classes, I might not be the editor of this magazine.
In 1992, a close friend and I started building furniture in his basement. We were really, really serious about it, but we really, really stank at it. No matter how many books or magazines or TV shows we consumed, our cutting boards, side tables and umbrella stands looked like dogmeat.
Then my buddy, Chris Poore, twisted my arm to take a night class in woodworking at the University of Kentucky. Taught by Lynn Sweet in a big industrial building (probably a converted tobacco warehouse), the class was a completely intimidating idea. But Chris can be persuasive. He even talked his wife, Lee, into taking the class with us.
After one week, I knew that this was going to be my life’s work.
Classes are a fantastic way to learn. You can ask questions. You aren’t interrupted by life. You can focus on the task at hand and get immediate feedback. So I’ve continued to take classes, including a couple chairmaking classes, a class in advanced dovetails and a class in boat-building. In 2008, I really, really want to take a class at Mike Dunbar’s Windsor Institute.
If you’ve ever wanted to get a small taste of what a class is like, I highly recommend you check out a weekend seminar at a local woodworking store, or (at the least) take a gander at this slideshow Kelly Mehler posted on his site from our class last week. Good stuff.