Woodwork Courses

By Frank Bolger - Last update

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Woodwork is the process used to make, carve, build or craft objects out of wood. These can be functional and practical or they can be creative and ornamental, or both.

By doing a part-time woodworking class, participants give are given the chance to use the skills they pick up to make something by their own labours a welcome alternative to the widespread overuse of plywood, stains and machine techniques so evident in modern-day furniture and ornament production.

What does woodwork involve

By learning some of the intricacies of working with the medium which is ideal in that it is beautiful, plentiful and relatively inexpensive woodwork students get put the maker back in to furniture making.

Beginners courses in woodwork deal with the use and care of tools and with the fundamentals of joinery. They will also teach basic woodworking techniques such as woodturning and woodburning through various small practical exercises. Processes that will be covered include sawing, chiselling, drilling, design work, weaving, assembly and applying a finish. Courses will be delivered by qualified woodwork instructors who will assist learners in producing a piece of furniture, which they can bring home upon completing the programme. Note that while most woodwork courses will provide participants with materials and tools, some will do so, but at a small, additional cost.

For those with some skill and experience in working with wood, it is also possible to study for a qualification in the craft. A Level 4 Certificate in Woodcraft programme will cover similar areas to those referred to above, but will do so in greater depth. Particpants will learn how to select the appropriate equipment for specific tasks; recognise the characteristics of materials and finishes used in wood and timber; select appropriate woodcraft techniques and finishes; apply suitable preparations and finishes for specific tasks; and carry out a range of woodcraft techniques where halving joints, angle joints and dovetailling joints are commonly used (e. g. on chairs, tables, doors and drawers).

A Level 4 Woodcraft programme will also provide learners with the knowledge, skills and competencies necessary to use woodcraft tools and equipment safety, and to choose the woods that are best suited to specific projects.

Another option for those who wish to learn how to craft objects from wood is a part-time course in Woodcarving one of the world s oldest forms of woodworking. Courses will teach students about the various carving techniques that are used to decorate wood projects. Course participants will also learn about tool sharpening, material selection, rope edging and relief carving.

Why do it

Knowing a little about woodwork can save money in the long run as course participants develop the skills they need to make, repair or refurbish certain household items. But aside from the purely practical benefits of Woodcraft courses, there is also the advantage of creating and personalising items so that they are unique to the maker. There is no reason why function and creative design should not go together for the woodworker. As self-taught woodworker Tony Konovaloff has said: The things I make might be for others; how I make them is for me .

What comes next

As students develop their woodworking skills over time, they will be capable of producing finished pieces that may be saleable. While most participants on a Woodworking course are there out of personal interest, it is also possible that course graduates may go on to secure employment as joiners, furniture producers, or sculptors, though of course this depends on the level of training and experience they amass.

At a glance

The typical duration of a part-time woodwork course is 8 to 12 weeks. A part-time woodcarving course will last for about 10 weeks.


Image courtesy of Rocker Lane Workshop/www. rockerlaneworkshop. com

Frank Bolger

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