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Thread: Wood working classes

  1. #1
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    Wood working classes

    can anybody make a recommendation where i could go for 2 to 4 weeks and get hands on experience. i'm not looking to make a career just learn. i've read plenty of books and subscribe to plenty of magazines but i do better with hands on. next summer when i shut down i was thinking about going somewhere to watch and learn. when i was younger i spent sometime helping in different jobs for free just to get a feel for them. maybe some shops offer the same kind of program. free help to sweep up just for the chance to watch and learn . thanks

  2. #2
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    gene, what do you want to learn? cabinet shops are a good place to pick up production techniques, millwork shops are a good place to learn some basic machine set up and maybe get an introduction to single curvature work.
    a custom furniture maker would be less likely to take the time to teach unless he`s doing it for enjoyment instead of money.....
    i`d suggest talking to some builders and find out who does their high end speciality work and approach that person or company and offer to be a grunt in exchange for having questions answered and getting to help with production of what they`re working on at the time...don`t wait `till the week before you`re ready to talk to folks, if you know that during the summer months you`ll be available then now is the time to put out feelers...go look at the fellows work and see if it`s what you`re interested in?....
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  3. #3
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    sounds like good advice. as far as what i'm interested in its hard to say. i don't have any specific plans or ideas. i look through a magazine or book and see something i like and want to make it. i guess i would like to see the flow from start to finish. it could be anything. i encountered different problems with the process such as wood splintering on the edge. both the ply and solid wood seemed to have that problem. when i watch on tv they don't seem to have that problem or are dealing with it away from the camera. it's amazing how much knowledge you need to get things to come out just right. most things probably have a simple solution if you realize what it is. i should probably use my scoring blade on solid stock so i don't get tear out on the bottom, but i thought it was just for ply . maybe a better blade would solve that. it's those little things that would help give me a solid foundation.

  4. #4
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    Gene, I don't know what might be available in your area, but you could look into the local community colleges. Sometimes they have various woodworking classes for reasonable prices.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gene Miller View Post
    . i guess i would like to see the flow from start to finish. it could be anything.
    it's those little things that would help give me a solid foundation.
    .
    .
    If you are willing to work hard and accept what others seem to think are insignificant tasks, I would spend from now til summer, just as Tod recommends, finding the highest end, cabinetmaker/ designer/ builder/ artisan you can appreciate. Offer your services. I am thinking the right person to work with is more interested in your desire than the "free" labor. If he is that good, I would think that would be the case.
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  6. #6
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    Sorry to drip water on your parade, but here are some realities from a professional woodworker's point of view. I made my living in woodworking for over twenty years. I have retired and moved on to another passion and now do woodworking as a hobby again. But...

    Occasionally I would have someone want to help around the shop "to learn." Even if I could use the help and thought I had time to offer instruction, I did not have the insurance to cover them, nor could I afford it. If I had employees, I would have had a even larger nut to crack each month to keep the sheriff from the door and certainly could not have someone slowing down production.

    So what you are suggesting may not meet with much success.

    There are two places where you can 'explore' what might interest you. One, a local community college program, or even evening high school program. Two, a woodworking club. For leads on either, go to the wood suppliers in the area and ask around. Post your location (city/state) on woodworking forums and ask for clubs or school programs.

    Rockler, Woodcraft, and a few other retailers offer classes. Then there are the woodworking schools. Best few hundred bucks you can possibly spend, and you will save it all back by making wise future purchases, make few mistakes than if you are on your own, and just generally have more fun, and meet really wonderful people.

    Welcome aboard. This hobby, like so many others, is not inexpensive. Learn before you spend for tools and supplies. Spend educational dollars first. You will never regret it. Go to gatherings of woodworkers. I was just at Indy Fest, mostly woodturning. I learned a ton! and had a blast! And I am no amateur any longer. Go to woodworking shows. Take seminars. There are many places to learn. Go to learn things. Go to meet people. Go to have fun. Don't worry about trying to find a 'deal.' That may come down the road. And even if it doesn't at first, your may wind up saving a bundle for not making unwise purchases.

    Just a 20/20 hindsight point of view.

  7. #7
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    Gene, I think Carole touched some important points. Another to consider is that good intentions or not, offering to work for free (and to accept such an offer) is probably against wage and hour laws and would likely make the owner/stranger who you make this offer to nervous. Find a individual that can teach you as a friend, or as other have suggested, formal course work route. Also, remember that often these little "tidbits" of knowledge are the product of 30 years of experience in the hands of a professional and may not be gained in a single summer in a shop... Best of luck.
    Member; Society of American Period Furniture Makers

  8. #8
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    When my shop was in Miami clients regularly came to me (after agreeing to do this for one person - somehow word spread) as helpers for their own projects, from kitchens to single pieces of furniture. I talked with my insurance agent, and for not much more on my original policy, I was covered. I also had them sign a waiver. I always charged extra for this "service" and had many rewarding experiences with folks of all age ranges and sexes. Everyone worked hard, learned alot, but the coolest thing was -- they weren't so persnikity about small flaws they created.

    Also, since you now own a European Combo, I hold two seminars a year at my Austin shop covering the basics of working with a combo and a bandsaw as your major tools, going over set up, work flow and technique at each station. They are 2 day weekend seminars, and if you are interested you can contact your rep or me at Mini Max. Next seminar is November 10 & 11.
    Mini Max Tool Acquisition Mediator.
    "An old man to most kids and a young man to those who are dead."

    www.samantics2.com

  9. #9
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    thanks everybody for all the advice. i actually hail from austin and was just there visiting. i would gladly attend a seminar there. it's almost impossible during this time of year as florida is a seasonal place and i stay swapped this time of year. i don't slow down until june or july. i can call michael at mm and i'm sure that he can keep me posted when next years schedule is set. i would definately attend.

  10. #10
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    Not withstanding the MM seminars, Kelly Mehler's school also uses euro equipment, albeit Felder. I've taken a couple of classes from him and they are excellent. He also teaches a good blend of hand and power tool use, if that interests you. Almost all classes are "project" oriented, however, Kelly stresses the skills you learn, not the project you build.

    There are others as well - like Carol has already mentioned, its good money spent (think Software, not Hardware).

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