About our Practical Woodworking Course
Practical Woodworking is a 50 hour comprehensive course that focuses on the necessary skills, tools, techniques, and safety to successfully enter the world of woodworking and furniture making. Beginner, intermediate, and advanced students learn about furniture design, construction, and finishing as well as wood behavior, hand tools, machines, milling from the rough, squaring, and joinery. It is an intensive class for folks who want to continue woodworking in the future. It is a week of hard work with a lot of fun mixed in. Watch the video and read below for a more in-depth look at what we're all about.
Watch the video below to experience what our course and studio offer! It covers the course design and goals, our stress on safety, footage of a class in session, an introduction to our instructors, and a look into the shop:
The Practical Woodworking course at the JD Lohr School of Woodworking is a complete and comprehensive woodworking course held in our shop on the 13-acre farm in southeastern PA. This is total immersion woodworking for ambitious, interested adults. With class size limited to 11 students and 3-4 instructors in each class, all needs of every student are met regardless of experience level. If you are self taught with no formal training as a woodworker, this course will quite literally change the way you work.
The course successfully meets the needs of multiple experience levels in a safe, well equipped, spacious, congenial, and educational environment. All instruction and lab experience is under the personal direction of master woodworkers as well as one or two additional experienced woodworkers/teacher assistants who are on hand during all lab hours providing roughly a three-to-one student-to-instructor ratio. Intermediate to more advanced students should not be put off by the fact that beginners are also included in this course. Check out some of the work done by our alumni in the Alumni Furniture Gallery to get an idea of what our students are capable of.
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.
Our stationary equipment runs the complete range from heavy-duty industrial machines, to inexpensive home shop type of tooling so that each student can compare and contrast the range and versatility of equipment at a wide variety of price points. We spend time on what makes a good machine good, an adequate one adequate, and a lousy machine worthless. We have no commercial sponsors and will share our opinions based on our experiences regarding the quality of one manufacturer over another. There is no better place to kick the tires on a variety of equipment than at our shop.
Classes run on a variety of schedules throughout the year. All class offerings are the same in both content and total number of hours of instruction regardless of the time of year in which is runs. The course is offered in a week-long version and , once a year, a two consecutive 3-day weekend version covering the same material.
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.
In class, each student will build a detailed hall table that is complete with mortise and tenon joinery, biscuit, dowel, and floating joint construction. The student project is presented with a variety of design options and formats as to meet the experience and comfort level of each student. Depending on their experience and comfort level, students are encouraged to make a simplified version of the hall table or tackle a more sophisticated and complicated version of the same project. Your only limitation is the amount of material you receive in your lumber pack (~24 board feet).
Most motivated, confident beginners with mechanical aptitude should be able to handle the demands of Practical Woodworking successfully. Ample one-on-one guidance will be available to the lesser experienced students in the class, but you will find yourself in a class with very diverse levels of experience.
Any student that needs clarification on any aforementioned course information is encouraged to call us at (484) 552-8152 (Monday-Friday 7am-4pm EST) or send us a message with your questions! We are happy to discuss the course in depth with you!