WT462 – We Just Want to Learn

On today’s show we’re talking about taking woodworking classes. What should you expect? How should you prepare? Should you bring extra underwear?

Today’s show is sponsored by Rockler. Rockler has been helping customers create with confidence for 65 years. In fact, they’re currently celebrating their 65th Anniversary. So be sure to head over to Rockler.com and check out the Founders Day Sale.

Support Us on Patreon

If you want to help support the show, you can do so by going to Patreon.com/woodtalk and signing up to become a patron of the show.
This week we’d like to thank Peter Villaluz, John Verreault, Stephen Caperton, and Tim Nordman.


  • We asked you about our show titles. Overwhelming majority enjoys nonsense.
  • Bridge City price drop

Taking Woodworking Classes

It’s a new year (kinda). Maybe you’re thinking about taking on new skills and maybe that means taking some classes. We’ve taken classes. We’ve taught classes. So we can offer some perspective on what to expect.

Advice from Instructors:

  • Darrell Peart – My advice would be to ask yourself “Is this an advanced or fast-paced class and am I able to keep up?” Remember from the Aurora nightstand class at Williams – the older gentleman who got behind and then in an effort to catch up – cut himself on the table saw? Another example is my Fremont Nightstand class. One time I had 11 students. Three of them were not able to keep up. In fact, one poor woman came to me crying and was almost ready to walk out. The other eight students were getting frustrated with the slow pace and pushing me to move on. I was caught in the middle. Everyone finished in the end – but I was a nervous wreck when it was over. The students who were behind were not necessarily without the needed skills (although some were). For the most part these students just naturally worked at a slower pace.
  • Philip Morley – It’s important to enjoy the process and not be too hard on yourself. It takes time to get good at woodworking.
  • Jory Brigham – It’s usually best if you come in with the mind-set that you’re going to extract as much info as possible from the class. Don’t be too focused on coming home with a perfect finished project since there usually isn’t enough time for that. For instance, sanding is something that can take days. Use the class to learn how to sand, but don’t waste a full class day trying to sand out every imperfection. Do that at home.
  • David Marks – Don’t be afraid to ask the instructor questions ahead of time. There are no stupid questions. Bring a notepad, pencils, and a camera. I allow my students to take videos with their phones for their personal use. For my wood turning classes I ask the students to bring their tools if they can. For Marquetry classes (making pictures in wood),I always recommend that they think about and research some designs in advance. For class projects like a bentwood lamination, they will need to consider the cost of having their project shipped back to them if it’s too big for them to take home. The main thing Marc, is for students to gather as much information as they need ahead of time. As you well know, preparation is the key.
  • Jim Heavey – Taking a Woodworking class is a great way to learn how to safely and accurately use Woodworking tools from those with experience. Learning something the right way the first time leads to markedly more success and enjoyment in your own workshop.
  • Dale Barnard – Don’t worry about making mistakes or being too slow or looking stupid. I actually like it when this happens. When a mistake occurs the whole class benefits because we then figure out what to do about it, adding to the learning experience. Another thing is to ask questions, listen to the instructor and follow his methods as if you were a beginner. It just might be easier, faster, better, etc. One surprising thing I’ve noticed is my beginners consistently make the best furniture. Think about that!

Listener Questions

Alan asks about prefinishing for a frame and panel door

Lumber Update

Kyle has a milled a Sycamore log and it split apart on him.
for more juicy lumber news check out Shannon’s Lumber Industry Update. It’s his very own show!!!

Social Media Homework

Share the projects you made in a class and tell us about the experience. Tag us or use the hashtag #woodtalk462

Contact Us

Send in questions at woodtalkshow.com or hit us up on IG at woodtalkshow or send us a voicemail using your phone voice memo app and send it to woodtalkshow@gmail.com
Finally you can find us individually on Instagram at mattcremona, woodwhisperer, and renaissancewoodworker

2 replies on “WT462 – We Just Want to Learn”

Guys! Great to see you back at it!

I just received about the third Rockler flyer this month, and it occurred to me, if you’re going to advertise for them, maybe they could give the newly revived Wood Talk podcast a shout out on the front cover. Let those who strayed away know your are back at it.

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