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Forum topic by Nomad81 posted 04-23-2014 11:30 PM 1701 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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30 posts in 2413 days

04-23-2014 11:30 PM

Topic tags/keywords: education class fine woodworking

Hello All, I’d like to thank you before hand for your input here. I did look around for answers before posting but wanted something a little more recent than 4yrs ago. My situation is a bit different than most I’ve run into. I came back from my tour in Iraq with significant enough injuries to get a medical retirement and a VA rating as “unemployable”. In short I am not looking for something that can support my family but rather something that will allow me to create and try to redefine who I am. I’m not a stranger to a woodworking shop but I would like to learn the correct way of doings things. Certifications, credits and degrees really mean nothing to me anymore I’m just looking for solid core learning with plenty of hands on and repetition. Do any of you have experience with any long term schools that won’t cost me $40k?
Thanks again

25 replies so far

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2387 posts in 4466 days

#1 posted 04-23-2014 11:37 PM

when I first started out, not too long ago, I laid in bed at night reading Taunton Fine Woodworking subscription online with my laptop. I am mostly self taught and it did not cost me much at all. I learned a lot back then from just PDF files from Taunton. I would learn a new technique and it would open up a new world to me on how something could be accomplished. I would get so eager for the next day to arrive just so that I could practice what I had read. If I did not have the proper tool to practice the technique, all of a sudden I would have good justification to buy a new tool :)

Of course that is just me. Nothing against proper education, I acquired my B.A. back in 2000 but a lot can be learned from personal research and practice.

-- .

View jeffswildwood's profile


4734 posts in 2896 days

#2 posted 04-24-2014 12:07 AM

I “dabbled” in woodwork prior to going to Iraq in 2004. When I came home in 2005 I just could not make myself do it anymore. The VA insisted I give it a try again and after much persistence from them (and my Son wanting an entertainment center) I did. Best thing I did. I too studied on my own but have always wanted to attend a school. I have friends that have tried to talk me into attending weekly classes at the local vo-tech center. Time restraints keep me from this. May be your ticket. Wood working has been my greatest release from the stresses, I get lost in it. Good luck to you in your endeavor.

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

View Fish22's profile


83 posts in 4032 days

#3 posted 04-24-2014 12:29 AM

Telling us where you are located may help others give you suggestions. As for myself, I took a few classes from woodcraft. Now I am sure the reviews would be mixed, but I enjoyed them and learned, or overcame fears I had.

-- Bryan, South River, NJ

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 4631 days

#4 posted 04-24-2014 01:03 AM

Check local community colleges as they may have a range of courses from evening hobbiest courses to full time day programs. You may also want to check for any local woodworking guilds or clubs.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View Nomad81's profile


30 posts in 2413 days

#5 posted 04-24-2014 01:19 AM

Thanks for the input guys. As far as location goes I’m in Kansas City for another month then my family is taking a travel trailer around the country. My wife has requested that whatever school it is be in a warm state like California. I do much better with a program than the self taught method I guess that’s the jelly brain from Iraq there. I also really appreciate hand tools that are more portable than machinery in a camper!

View theoldfart's profile


12090 posts in 3370 days

#6 posted 04-24-2014 01:35 AM

^College of the Redwoods, ‘bout as good as it gets.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View FellingStudio's profile


93 posts in 2601 days

#7 posted 04-24-2014 05:32 PM

If I remember right, even the College of the Redwoods offers summer “workshop” type of classes. Not as long/intensive/expensive as the regular program, but I am sure packed full of quality nonetheless.

Other schools worth checking out (not an exclusive list I am sure) are Inside Passage, Port Townsend, Roy Underhill’s school, NW School of Woodworking, I think that Brian Boggs offers classes, N. Bennet Street, and then there is your local community college.

If what you are really after is the intensive year long course, then be prepared for a decent sized tuition bill, and apply to more than one school. (For instance, there are only a few benches available at College of the Redwoods, and the Inside Passage school is in many respects “Krenov school north”.)

-- Jesse Felling -

View Richard's profile


1944 posts in 3609 days

#8 posted 04-24-2014 06:00 PM

Palomar College in San Marcos, CA (North of San Diego) has classes you can get a certificate for by taking just the ones you want or you can go for the full Associate of Arts (AS) degree if you wanted to. They have a very good reputation for thier Woodworking Programs.
The Link below is for the 2013 classes but it has the contact information you would need to get more current info. They also have Veteran programs and assistance available.

View a1Jim's profile


118145 posts in 4496 days

#9 posted 04-24-2014 06:14 PM

#1 on my list would be a masters program from Charles Neil but since he does not offer a masters program the #2 choice although it’s not in a warm climate, it would be North Bennet street school in Boston it has a great woodworking program starting from the beginning on. On the western side of the country as previously mentioned Gary Rowgowski’s North west woodworking Studio also College of the Redwoods. I’ve also heard very good things about
Palomar College in southern California .


View mahdee's profile


4291 posts in 2686 days

#10 posted 04-24-2014 07:44 PM

Since you are going to travel all over the country, why not hookup with fellow LJ’s and spend a few days with them and watch/learn whatever they are involved with.


View vetwoodworker's profile


104 posts in 2625 days

#11 posted 04-24-2014 07:53 PM

I too am an Iraq vet who uses this as a release from the noise in my head. It has by far been the most therapeutic and engaging method of dealing with my stresses with by far the best results. I would definitely suggest the Woodcraft classes, as they will give you a good feel for whatever style of woodworking you might like to try. Vocational Rehab can even help pay for it (They say they can’t, but trust me they can, I work for the VA). Any further questions feel free to hit me up on here, and Thanks for your service!

View Nomad81's profile


30 posts in 2413 days

#12 posted 04-24-2014 10:14 PM

I never thought of asking other LJs for some training, thats a good idea. The wife seems to be leaning more towards TX today so we’ll see how long that lasts. We’re going to be volunteering in a VT state park this summer so I might just try to get in some turning or something at the barn in Shelbourne. Anyone been there?

View a1Jim's profile


118145 posts in 4496 days

#13 posted 04-24-2014 10:20 PM

Charles is in Virginia ,those gray hairs are attacking again :)


View Pezking7p's profile


3359 posts in 2570 days

#14 posted 04-24-2014 10:38 PM

Charles Neil is in virginia.

-- -Dan

View theoldfart's profile


12090 posts in 3370 days

#15 posted 04-24-2014 10:55 PM

Nomad, are you referring to the Shelburne museum just below Burlington? There is also the Lake Champlain maritime museum, it has classes in wooden boat building.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

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