I thought I would share with you my recent experience when I took a woodworking class. When I was a kid, I never dreamed that I would be spending so much time in a classroom. I always thought that being able to make things by myself was what I wanted to do. After years of trying to make things in my woodworking class, I finally decided it was time to take a hand tool woodworking class.
My first impression of a woodworking class would have been a bunch of guys playing games. For most of adulthood, I never could afford to take woodworking courses and found myself in the weird situation of teaching them in high school. Because I was a blacksmith, I was considered to be a great “metal worker”. Because I had been such a fantastic metalworker as a child, I had no real concept of woodworking.
I did enjoy participating in the class because I got to show off my hand tools. I got to demonstrate my power tools. I enjoyed discussing with the other woodworkers about my various pieces of metalwork. The instructor kept the class very interesting, and I got a decent amount of woodwork done during the course. But I soon realized that there were a lot more men in this woodworking class than women, and I wondered how to make it into an activity the guys could also enjoy.
The instructors always addressed the equal opportunity of everyone. Everyone brought something to the class: chisels, routers, power tools, hand tools. And everyone brought something to the sharpening class: the ability to use the appropriate sharpening tool. These sharpening classes were held in the garage. You had to bring your own set of tools with you. There were no club dues, no special training, just your ability to get the job done–and sharpening your tools.
Over the years, I have attended several woodworking classes. My first was in a local community centre. At the time, I had some friends that worked with me in a small woodworking shop. They introduced me to some of the other tools and chisels that I enjoy using today. Most of the equipment at the beginner or low intermediate level is found in these classes.
My second woodworking class was at a local technical college. My introduction to power tools was much more exciting. The instructor for this class was very engaging and very knowledgeable. He took a personal interest in me and made learning fun. The class was taught by someone who could relate to my need to create, not just to work with a machine.
In the third woodworking class, I found a product that changed my life. The product was a router table that was specifically designed to use on laptops and it has a flat surface on one end. It has multiple holes on the flat surface to allow me to use jigs and patterns to build small projects. The product also allows me to use tools as the band saw and the circular saw with ease.
I can safely say that taking a woodworking class has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. I learned how to use the power tools I now have in my own home. My skill level has increased tremendously. I teach my children about the art of woodworking as well, which has allowed me to spend more time with them, and I still receive calls from them about how their woodworking project is coming along.