J.D. Lohr's "Practical Woodworking" is a 50 hour course that focuses on necessary skills, tools, and techniques to successfully enter the world of craft woodworking and furniture making. Intermediate to more advanced students should not be put off by the fact that beginners are also included in this course. 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, educational environment. 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, two 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 handtools supplied with over 100 clamps of assorted configuration 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 and versatility 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 what makes a lousy machine a lousy, worthless machine. 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 woodworker Jeffry Lohr 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 course in America. This is total emersion woodworking for ambitious, interested adults. Entry skill level recommendations as well as tuition fees are listed at the bottom of this page.
Please click on photos below to tour the school.
General Course description:
Practical woodworking is specifically designed for the seriously interested
"motivated" beginner to intermediate to advanced level woodworkers.
It is not unusual for us to have students that have no machine experience
working in the same class that contains self taught professional cabinetmakers
that are looking to improve their techniques and production
Methodology and approach: As a professional woodworker that actually does this for a living rather than only teaching it, my approach to woodworking is very heavily machine oriented. My approach is to get the job done by the fastest most efficient "practical" means possible. This does not mean that one needs to spend tens of thousands of dollars to equip a shop. An initial $2,000 investment for home workshop tooling and machinery can do the job very handsomely so my focus really is on the word "practical". Every shop obviously needs handtools and I indeed use these traditional tools every day in my regular studio work. However, I believe very strongly that we have a great deal of modern technology available to us as workman and it seems counter productive to not take advantage of it. Yes it is true that one is able to start a fire with the ancient method of friction using a bow, a cord, a dowel, and one heck of a lot of physical exhaustion. We can also start the same fire by striking a match and have the same result in seconds. The end result is still "fire" and it will look the same, act the same, and warm us just as well regardless of the method used to produce it. I feel the same way about woodworking. There is nothing wrong with using the tools the colonials may have used but to do so with the notion that the end result is better and of a higher quality through the sole use of these traditional handtools is invalid. We live in the machine age, I honor the past, but I do not chose to relive it.
PRACTICAL WOODWORKING 101 -Course Content Outline: (Note- this page will print as 3 pages of regular text on white background)
The course focuses on working wood starting from it's rough (un-milled) state into a finished furniture project. For those who only plan to work typical "S2S" (surfaced two sides) material, the thinking with the course here is that if you can work wood from the rough you will easily work pre-milled material in your home workshop. Most serious amateurs should seek to eventually work wood from the rough as the quality and versatility of rough lumber is far superior to typical home center pre-milled wood.
Pracitcal Woodworking Course Syllabus:
1-Understanding the nature of wood. 2-Standard trade nomenclature of wood as a raw material. 3-Working from a plan. 4-Demystifying a Bill of Materials. 5-Stock selection, how to pick & where to buy hardwood. How to work with defects. 6-Layout, dividing project into components. 7-Rough milling. (minimizing waste by learning the practical rules of production). 8-Component grouping for quick milling. 9-Rough stock lamination. 10-SQUARING, (probably the simplest most misunderstood process in the world of amateur woodworking, the basic steps that should never be deviated from). 11-Rip and Crosscut blade selection and sharpening. The physics of tool design. 12-Jointing and milling with 100% accuracy. 13-Joinery design. The does and don'ts of long-lived joinery techniques. 14-Dowel and biscuit joinery. 15- Advanced Router techniques. 16- Tongue and groove joinery. 17-Breadboard end table top construction. 18-Mortise and tenon joinery. 19-Tapering and shaping. 20-Gluing and clamping. (All types of glues). 21-Sanding, What to do by hand, what to do by machine, which abrasives and machines to buy. 22-Project assembly. What to glue, how much glue & how to remove glue. 23-Final grain raising. 24-Project finishing. Hand applied techniques for stains, fillers, sealers, varnish, polyurethane, shellac, and oil finishes. Both rag and brush applications. 25-Rubbing out a finish to give it that professional quality feel and appearance. 26-A power tool & stationary equipment buyers guide for purchasing the best equipment that will give you the biggest bang for your buck. 27- Last but certainly not least, how to tune your machinery for the best cutting applications, how to change your jointer and planer knives, table saw trunion adjustment, how to tune snipe out of your jointer and planer. .
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. Additionally, all course offerings for 2014 have been significantly expanded in both content, lab, and demonstration-lecture hours. 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. The wood may be supplied by the student or purchased (at cost) from J.D.Lohr Woodworking, Inc.
2012 TUITION & MATERIALS FEES:
Practical Woodworking 101 - All offerings are a 50 hour intensive and complete course -
of the course runs Monday through Saturday from 8:00am to 4:30pm
3-day weekend version of this course meets Saturday, Sunday, Monday and then Friday,
Saturday, Sunday the following weekend from 8:00am to 4:30pm
(Students supplying their own lumber for projects may only do so if material is in the rough. The milling process is an important part of this course.) No used, recycled or pre-milled S2S material will be accepted.
For the next available session with dates and times of course offerings see the "Course Schedule" on the menu.
Lodging: For all those taking a course from a non-commutable distance click on my Interesting and Related Links page for area hotels, motels and local attractions.
Practical Woodworking Course Schedule