In each Practical Woodworking Class, the daily mix consists of intensive lecture, demonstration, and student practice lab time. Lecture periods are interactive, informative, and intensive but are also an enjoyable experience. Generally, each joinery and fabrication process is demonstrated in several ways to reach or achieve the same results. For example, processes are first demonstrated with the use of hand tools. Next, the same joint or procedure is done with simple hand held power tools (such as the router). Then, the entire process is demonstrated with stationary equipment such as the table saw, drill press, and mortiser. Students choose whichever production method works best for them and is in keeping with their plan to equip a home workshop and/or around their existing home tooling.
Our programs prepare our students to open their own woodworking business or become employed by a high-end woodworking related business. We currently offer an Associate of Science Degree as well as a Certificate of Achievement in 8 different Program Areas. Students may also take coursework to complete a Certificate. Our courses range from Furniture Design and Instrument Making to Production Cabinetmaking. Our graduates are highly employable with the diversity of courses available.
I live in VA and my workshop is an unheated, uninsulated garage. I work out there year round, even when temps are below freezing. I can't say it's comfortable in the winter (or when it's 100 degrees with 95% humidity) but I haven't had any major issues. I have had some big box green wood warp on me after I built a couple bookshelves and brought them into the house, but that was more a factor of the green wood than my "shop".
Although many hand tool operations are thoroughly covered, this is a machine based woodworking experience. You will find the school finely equipped with four table saws, four jointers, three drill presses, three thickness planers, a wood lathe, full dust collection, bandsaws, jig saws and scroll saws, 5 routers and dozens of router jigs and accessories. There is a heavy focus on the safe and efficient use of the table saw starting with it's basic operation and going into advanced production procedures. We consider the table saw to be an essential machine for efficient, accurate, and safe woodworking.
Synopsis: No room in the garage? Basement not an option? Consider what Ken St. Onge did when he needed shop space: He bought a prefabricated shed and converted it into his full-time woodshop. Because a pre-built shed doesn’t need a cement foundation and is built in a factory, it’s much less expensive than building an addition or stand-alone shop on your property. It can have taller ceilings than a garage and bigger doors than a basement, both big pluses for a woodworker. You can put a shed just about anywhere, too. Here’s a soup to nuts look at Ken’s experience, so you can gauge whether a shop in a shed is right for you.