You may not know, but craft and furniture-making require more than the right tools and materials. If you intend to become part of the growing number of professional woodworkers, you’ll have to learn the woodworking fundamentals.
Lucky for you, our seasoned wood artisans listed and reviewed the best woodworking schools where you can hone your woodworking skills. Read along and find out which woodworking programs suit you.
Before You Enroll
What are Your Special Skills?
Before you enroll in a woodworking class in San Jose, we urge you to assess your current carpentry skills. Ask yourself questions like, are you familiar with the basic woodworking skills?
As you may already know, the woodworking industry includes different projects requiring distinct crafting techniques and the ability and knowledge to handle different materials.
After listing your skills down, determine what led you to learn woodworking. Are you fond of designing wood pieces and crafting precise details? If so, you may want to consider furniture-making courses.
You may also shift your focus to mastering the joinery and finishing process, as these skills are readily available in most woodworking courses.
You don’t have to worry if you have zero practical knowledge in the field. Most woodworking classes available in the market allow learners to progress from newbies to professionals. As long as you have the determination and interest in the craft, you can benefit from attending a fine woodworking school.
Try Watching Youtube Videos First
Learning anything new can be intimidating for some, so our resident woodworkers recommend familiarizing themselves with the industry through online videos.
It may surprise you, but some professionals in the field didn’t learn woodworking through the best formal education programs. Some of them tried to grasp the craft through Youtube tutorial videos.
Doing this could prepare you for the activities and projects required in an actual woodworking school. Youtube contents are highly specific.
Besides showcasing different woodworking skills in the video, some creators would demonstrate how to use different tools and choose the right materials.
However, we can’t say that Youtube videos are better than actual woodworking books and programs. While these contents offer valuable knowledge to learners, newbies may find it difficult to pace themselves with these learning materials.
But if you’re set on it, our advice is to find Youtube channels solely dedicated to releasing woodworking-related content.
Enroll in Online Courses
If you’re not yet ready to enter the best woodworking school, taking online courses is a great alternative. It may surprise you, but online learning platforms have extensive resources. In fact, some of them offer advanced courses.
You may want to check out online platforms like Lynda.com and Udemy. Besides easy accessibility, woodworking course options on these websites are inexpensive compared to regular woodworking classes.
Find Classes in Your Area
For a beginner who’s not yet sure about enrolling in a traditional woodworking school, you may consider inquiring in your local Home Depot. If you’re lucky, they may have some weekend classes and workshops that you can finish in a few hours.
Although they may not provide a complete woodworking program, these classes are mostly project-based. Upon closer look, you may notice that their typical offered classes revolve around furniture-making. In fact, you can request that Home Depot cut your plywood, usually used for furniture, to the size of your wooden project.
Ask Your Art Center
Another alternative you can try before enrolling in woodworking schools is your neighborhood art center. It’s not new for these artistic establishments to offer painting, photography, and jewelry-making classes. However, occasionally, some will invite their local communities to join a woodworking program or workshop.
If you’re not familiar with joining these events, don’t be too surprised to find out that their craftsman program is typically categorized based on woodworking techniques. You’ll find workshops under the name of cabinetry, dovetailing, or joinery.
Woodworking Colleges and Clubs
Did you know that community college and local high school programs also offer woodworking? Many community colleges like Vermont Woodworking School and Peter Sefton Furniture School are solely dedicated to providing professional programs for craftsmanship and design.
And then there are also the likes of Northern Alberta Institute and Port Townsend School, where you can learn the basics of woodworking for a few days or weeks.
Besides Vermont Woodworking School, you can consider associate’s degree programs at Western Technical College and Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College. These associate degrees in woodworking only take up to two years to finish.
But suppose you want to get a bachelor’s degree in the furniture design program. In that case, we recommend opting to be a woodworking major in colleges like Northern Michigan University and Indiana University.
You can also graduate as a Fine Arts major at Rhode Island School of Design Providence. Sit tight as we discuss the top woodworking schools below, which you can add to your list.
If you’re not looking for advanced woodworking classes just yet, you can also search for local woodworking clubs. Rather than going into traditional woodworking classrooms, these clubs allow you to connect with fellow DIY enthusiasts and veteran woodworkers.
As a newbie, it could be your golden opportunity to find a mentor you can learn from within the community. If you’re lucky, some may offer you internship programs.
Top Woodworking Schools in the World Today
1. Sam Beauford Woodworking Institute
If you’re residing near Adrian, Georgia, you may want to consider enrolling in Sam Beauford Woodworking Institute. Unlike other woodworking schools, you don’t have to complete general education requirements when signing up for this institute.
It’s known as a great school of fine woodworking because they produced great carpenters and designers over the years.
Besides that, we’re also in awe of its fine woodworking department that gives learners access to tools like dust collection systems, sand molders, mills, and many more.
2. Lonnie Bird’s School of Fine Woodworking
Unlike other options, Lonnie Bird’s School of Fine Woodworking has been offering craft and design programs since 1982. Compared to its alternatives, Lonnie Bird School has affordable rates for the nine-month program they’re offering.
On top of their top-notch class instructors, this school of woodworking catches our team’s eyes for its luxurious workshop accessible to the learners. Considering that it has impressive facilities for furniture projects, the overall program cost seems reasonable.
3. Marc Adams School of Woodworking
It’s always great when woodworking schools offer apprenticeship programs. Because of this, we cannot deny that Marc Adams School of Woodworking belongs to the list of the top woodworking schools in the world.
It’s the best school to consider if you aim to learn architectural woodworking in a week. Our resident woodworkers found their Master’s Program quite fascinating as they focus more on technique-building than projects. Their instructions also have fellowship programs the students can sign up for.
4. The Chippendale International School of Furniture in Scotland
The basics of furniture and cabinet technology make The Chippendale International School of Furniture in Scotland stand out from the rest. Unlike other schools in the world that categorize their courses by technique or projects, they offer classes by skill level.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner, intermediate, or professional woodworker. You’ll find the right course to enhance your skills in this school. They also offer complementary courses if you want to learn specific projects.
5. University of Tasmania Design Program
When you enroll in the University of Tasmania Design Program, you can take advantage of the school’s interactive studios.
If you ask our team, the most enticing offering of their program is you get to design projects for real clients. Through this, the learners can gain actual industry experience as they learn to master the craft.
6. Rosewood Studio in Canada
As a school founded way back in 2002, it’s no surprise that they offer a wide range of programs and courses. If you’re not up for their 12-week program, you can consider their workshops that last five days.
7. Santa Fe Community College
Besides its Fine Woodworking Programs, Santa Fe Community College is known for its certificate and degree courses in the field of Arts & Design and Fine Arts. The school also focuses on small classes to give learners the attention they need while learning the craft.
8. Long Beach City College
If you’re keen on learning specific woodworking projects, Long Beach City College’s course covers a long list of subjects from furniture-making to joinery. We personally liked that it includes both individual and group projects as it prepares the learners for actual industry experience. It only runs 9 hours a week, so you don’t need to worry if you have tight schedules.
9. Red Rocks Community College in Colorado
Red Rocks Community College in Colorado understands the complexity of the woodworking field, so they offer 12 certificate programs for learners to choose from. But if you intend to obtain a formal degree, we suggest enrolling in their program called Associates of Applied Science in Fine Woodworking.
10 Palomar College in California
For woodworkers located in California, Palomar College is a popular choice. This woodworking school has a dedicated department for cabinet and furniture technology.
They offer several professional certificate programs and associate science degrees in Cabinetry, Woodworking Skills Technology, and Millworks. On top of their Fine Woodworking Program, the Palomar College facilities are also top-notch.
Is woodworking worth the money?
Yes, woodworking is worth the money. If you have the interest and dedication to be a skilled woodworker, earning from this profession is not farfetched. You must know the value of your work and where you can market your craft. Building connections through the industry can help your progress .
Can you make a good living from woodworking?
Yes, you can make a good living from woodworking. While some people consider this profession a hobby, skilled woodworkers can make it a full-time job as long as they are equipped with the right tools, materials, and techniques. Besides that, knowing your target market can also help you earn more.
The top woodworking schools do not offer the same programs and perks. So before you decide on attending classes, our team urges you to heed these considerations before you go deeper into the world of woodworking. If full courses make you feel intimidated, you can always opt for short workshops to familiarize and pace yourself.
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