While many of us took shop class in high school, chances are you haven’t pursued woodworking since.
However, if you want to learn how to work with wood these days, there are plenty of local places offering different experiences for students with various skill levels and at a wide range of prices.
Whether you’d like to take a quick refresher course or immerse yourself in a week-long class, there are Triangle businesses and craftsmen more than willing to share their knowledge. From pre-electricity workshop settings to an introduction to working your own Shopbot, there are options here for students age 12 to adults. For more information about each of the listings, either visit their website or call them directly.
Who knows? You may stir up some high school memories, although this go around there are neither grades nor tests involved.
Klingspor’s Woodworking Shop
Info: 3141 Capital Blvd, Suite 110, Raleigh, 919-876-0707, woodworkingshop.com/raleigh/
Klingspor’s offers quality tools and supplies for the woodworker, everything from beginning to end, lumber to finishes, including natural-edge wood slabs. Upcoming classes include Pen Turning, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. March 12, $95; Introduction to Woodturning, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. March 26, $95; Custom Wood Finishing, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. April 2, $100; and Introduction to Woodcarving, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. April 9, $95. And 9 a.m.-4 p.m. March 19, the store will hold the 14th annual N.C. Woodcarving Festival, which is free and open to the public.
N.C. State University Crafts Center
Info: Thompson Hall, 210 Jensen Drive, Raleigh, 919-515-2457, crafts.arts.ncsu.edu
The center offers classes each semester in a wide range of mediums, including woodworking. Upcoming classes: The Electric Cigar Box Guitar, 6:30-9:30 p.m. Thursdays, March 17-April 21. Price ranges from $50-$100 with a $45 supply fee. Registration for summer classes starts May 2. Classes include: How to Use Woodshop Machines and Handtools; Scroll Saw Projects; Joints in Wood; and Images and Script: An Introduction to the Shopbot CNC Router.
Info: 4317 Pleasant Valley Road, Raleigh, 919-781-1911, woodcraft.com
Woodcraft sells everything imaginable for woodworkers and offers a wide array of related classes. Most classes are designed for beginning woodworkers, allowing students to walk away with a small, completed project. The store is offering the following classes over the next few months: Understanding Wood Finishing, 6:30-9:30 p.m. March 15 and 16, $90; Table Saw 101, 6-9 p.m. March 17, $75; Woodworking Fundamentals, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. March 19 and noon-5 p.m. March 20, $175; Router 101, 9 a.m.-noon March 26, $90; and Pen Turning 101, 1-4:30 p.m. April 3, $75.
Cary Arts Center
Info: 101 Dry Ave., Cary, 919-469-4069, nando.com/caryarts
Cary Arts Center offers classes for individuals ranging from young children to adults. Prices listed here are for Cary residents, and are slightly more for nonresidents. Upcoming classes include: Magic Wand, 6-8:30 p.m. Mondays, March 7-28, $75 (ages 12-16); Beginning Woodworking, 6-8:30 p.m. Mondays, May 16-June 13, $75 (ages 12-16); Lathe – Beyond Basics, 6:30-9:30 p.m. Wednesdays, March 9-23, $79; and Bottle Stoppers, 6:30-9:30 p.m. April 20, $42.
Info: 923 Franklin St., Durham, 919-260-2931, liberty-arts.org
Liberty Arts is a sculpture studio and foundry dedicated to enriching our communities with arts experiences that inspire, empower, educate and entertain. The studio hosts an open house 6-9 p.m. the third Friday of every month so visitors can tour the space and watch Liberty artists create work. Spring classes include: Entry Level Woodworking, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. March 12, April 9 or April 30, and Build a Shaker Table, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. May 7-8 and May 14-15. Contact Liberty Arts for pricing.
Info: Durham, alanleland.com
Alan Leland is an internationally known woodturning instructor specializing in techniques with a lot of patience. He starts at the very beginning, teaching students the basics, and offering a series of classes that develops from there up to carving bowls. He also offers instruction in his studio; interested students should contact him via his website. He also occasionally teaches at Klingspor’s, Woodcraft and the N.C. State University Crafts Center.
Info: 2815 Mooresfields Road, Hillsborough, 919-732-3321, handtoolwoodworking.com
Elia Bizzarri uses traditional tools and techniques in his custom-designed shop, which is a chairmaker’s paradise filled with light, complete with a woodstove and oak floors. Classes include Fan Back Side Chair, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. May 23- 27, $1,000, and Continuous Arm Chair, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 4- 9, $1,200. He also offers one-on-one instruction in classes running Monday through Friday, $1,500 per person. Custom instruction is offered as well at $300 per day.
The Woodwright’s School
Info: 89 A Hillsboro St., Pittsboro, woodwrightschool.com
The Woodwright’s School is your place to reconnect with the pleasures of traditional hand-tool woodworking. Upcoming classes include German Springpole Lathe with Roy Underhill, 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. March 25- 29, $745 plus $55 materials; Moravian Workbench with Will Myers, 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. April 6- 10, $745 plus $400 materials; Benchwork Week with Roy Underhill and Bill Anderson, 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. July 1- 5, $745 plus $90 materials; and Compound Dovetail Tray with Tom Calisto, 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. July 17, $155 plus $25 materials.
Betsy Greer writes about craft and activism at craftivism.com. Reach her at email@example.com.