About our Practical Woodworking Course

Practical Woodworking is a 50 hour course that focuses on 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.

 

Watch the video tour below to experience what our course and studio have to 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:

 
 
 

With multiple instructors in each class, all needs 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. 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.

Although many hand tool operations are thoroughly covered, make no mistake about it, this is a machine based woodworking experience. All will find the school finely equipped with four table saws, three jointers, three drill presses, three thickness planers, two wood lathes, full dust collection, spindle shapers, bandsaws, jig saws and scroll saws, 5 routers and dozens of router jigs and accessories.  There is a redundancy in hand held power tool and hand tools supplied with over 100 clamps of assorted configurations for student use.  Tooling in all stationary equipment runs the gamut from heavy duty industrial to inexpensive home shop type of tooling so each student can compare and contrast the range andversatility of equipment in a wide variety of price points.  There is much time spent on what makes a good machine good, an adequate one adequate, and a lousy machine lousy and worthless.  Jeffry Lohr has no commercial sponsors and will tell it like it is regarding the quality of one manufacturer over another.  There is no better place to kick the tires on a variety of equipment than at the Lohr School.  

All instruction and lab experience is under the personal direction of master woodworkers Jeffry Lohr and Robert Spiece in addition to two additional cabinetmaker / teacher assistants who are on hand during all lab hours for roughly a three-to-one student-to-instructor ratio.  With class size limited to 11 students, "Practical Woodworking" at the Lohr School of Woodworking is by far one of, if not the best of any complete and comprehensive woodworking short courses in America.  This is total immersion woodworking for ambitious, interested adults.  

Classes run on a variety of schedules throughout the year.  All current offerings are exactly the same in both content and total number of hours of instruction regardless of meeting schedule. The course is offered in a Week-long Version, or a once a year - Two Consecutive 3 Day Weekend Version of the same course in order to meet the varying personal lifestyle schedules and traveling distances of students.  All courses in the schedule are serious offerings for the seriously motivated amateur woodworker.  This class is jammed with content with absolutely no fluff or fill in any portion whether in lecture or lab time.   

In each Practical Woodworking Class, the daily mix consists of intensive lecture, demonstration, and student practice activities.  Lecture periods are interactive, informative, and intensive but are also an enjoyable experience.  Generally each joinery and fabrication process is demonstrated in a multitude of ways to reach or achieve the same results.  For example, processes are first demonstrated with the sole use of hand tools, next the same joint or procedure is done with simple hand held power tools such as the router, next the entire process is demonstrated with stationary equipment such as the tablesaw, drill press, and mortiser. Students choose whatever production method works best for them and how they either plan to equip their home workshop and/or around their existing home tooling.  In each class, each student will build a highly detailed hall table complete with mortise and tenon joinery, biscuit, dowel, and floating joint construction.  The student project is presented to the student in a variety of designs and formats so as to meet the experience and comfort level of each student.  Lesser experienced students will do a more simplified version of the hall table while more experienced and capable students will tackle a more sophisticated and complicated version of the same project.  Project materials are at the additional cost of lumber for each project in excess of tuition.  Depending on which design the student selects, the project calls for 20 - 24 board feet of material.  We stock a huge selection of Red Oak and we hand pick a lumber pack for each student.

Although the Practical Woodworking course is open to entry levels from beginner through advanced levels of aspiring woodworkers, this class is a very serious educational offering and I believe it to be the biggest bang for the buck of any woodworking educational program across the country. The class is informative and fun, but there should be no mistake that the course is structured to meet the needs of multiple skill levels

Most motivated, confident, beginners with mechanical aptitude should be able to handle the demands of Practical Woodworking successfully.  Special attention will be given to the lesser experienced students in the class but you will be mixed in a class with very diverse levels of experience. Two associate instructors are on hand in addition to Jeffry Lohr and Robert Spiece for all student lab periods.  This creates a roughly three-to-one, student to instructor ratio unmatched by any other school of this type. Additionally, all students should either have access to, personally own, or one day plan to own a home shop tablesaw.  The tablesaw is the basic tool of contemporary practical woodworking and is as important to the woodworker as a potter's wheel is to a potter.   This machine is so important to the woodworker that I have three of these machines available for student use in my studio and school.  If you do not own, or one day hope to own a home shop table saw, "Practical Woodworking" is not the course for you. There is a heavy focus on the safe and efficient use of the tablesaw from it's basic operation through advanced production procedures that are thoroughly covered in the Practical Woodworking course.      

Any student that needs clarification on any aforementioned course information is encouraged to call us at (610) 287-7802 Monday-Friday 7am-4pm EST or send us a message with your questions!  We would be happy to discuss the course in depth with you!