For the past couple of months, I’ve been working with the folks at the Chestnut Creek School of the Arts in downtown Galax, VA. We’ve been collaborating on some ideas I’ve had for hand tool woodworking classes for 2017. I’m happy to say that I now have a couple of classes on the schedule for next year, with the possibility for adding more. I’m really excited to be working with these folks as they have a real passion for the arts (not just woodworking) and are really trying to reach out to the local community and beyond. One of their primary goals is to make the arts available to everyone, regardless of income level, so they really strive to keep their classes reasonably priced and accessible. The studio has weekly open hours for anyone to come in and work (after attending a free safety class). They also offer a scholarship program where students that otherwise would not have the financial ability to take a class can participate at no charge to them. This is all accomplished through volunteers and generous donors who support the school with their tax deductible donations. In fact, the entire woodworking studio was built and outfitted with woodworking machinery through the use of grants and donations.
Right now I have two classes scheduled for 2017. The first is essentially a hand saw workshop where we will build a simple five board bench. This class was designed for hand tool beginners, but is of course open to anyone who would like to participate. This project will provide lots of hand sawing practice with the opportunity to use a hand plane and learn the basics of building boarded (nailed) furniture. The class will be Saturday, February 25, 2017, from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM. I’ll be doing a couple of free evening seminars leading up to this class (probably January 17th and February 21st) for folks who are really new to using hand tools. You can contact the school directly to register for this class.
The second class I will be teaching is a 2 1/2 day class on building a simple Shaker style side table. This class isn’t on the website yet (only because I haven’t provided all the information to the school yet), but should be soon. This will be another beginner level class that will focus on the basics of mortise and tenon joinery through the construction of a small table. We’ll chop mortises with a chisel and saw tenons with a backsaw. There will be some hand plane work as well for tapering the legs and beveling the table top. This class is tentatively scheduled for April 21 (Friday evening) from 5:30 PM – 8:00 PM and April 22-23, from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM each day. Like the bench class, I’ll be doing a free seminar the Tuesday evening before the class (April 18th) covering hand plane and chisel sharpening and tune-up. Keep an eye on the school’s woodworking page for this class description and cost, and contact the school directly to register.