Just got home from my first class of the spring semester in Wood
Technology at the local community college. Wow, it's great being back
on a college campus and not have to worry about mid-terms or finals,
frat pledges, or choosing a major.
When I was in high school there were two distinct educational paths:
the college bound and the vo-tech (voctional and technical), which
included things like woodshop, welding and auto body. Generally, kids
on one path never ventured into classes on the other. I always
regretted never having taken woodshop, but it was just plain "beneath"
us if we were headed off to college.
Now, several decades later, I find myself bitten by the WW bug and
trying hard to catch up. But I could only read so many books and
issues of FWW before I needed some hands on training. In an issue of
a local WW rag there was an article about the program at one of the
local colleges. Turns out they offer the introductory course, Wood
Technology 110, as and all day Saturday (great for those of us with a
M-F work schedule).
So myself and about 15 other folks showed up this morning to meet our
"professor", a M-F cabinetmaker and get a tour of the classroom/shop
with a half dozen large workbenches, a finishing room, a huge cabinet
full of hand tools and a dizzying array of power tools. The students
range in age from 18-60, both genders, some full-time students, some
part-time. One guy studying for his general contractor's license is
taking the class to fulfill his "art" requirement; another gal is
wanting to learn how to make miniature furniture for her custom doll
houses. Most of us are just general hobbyists with none to some
The first few weeks will be spent doing a small, hand tool project.
Then we'll move on to the corded section of the course, making a small
wall hung cabinet. A lot of it, I am sure, will be redundant for me.
But the rest of it will fill in some of the gaps in my self-taught
knowledge and will give me a chance to practice things and ask
questions on the spot. There are even rumors that there is enough
student interest to offer intermediate and advanced classes on
Saturdays starting in the fall.
We didn't really dive into anything today and broke early so I hung
out after class to help the instructor mill the alder for our hand
tool project and get better acquainted. Then I ventured over to the
campus bookstore to pick up the required reading (I had forgotten what
an expensive proposition that always was in college!), admired a few
college girls (hey, some things never change), and drove home giddy at
the thought of spending 6 hours every Saturday from now till May in a
shop better equipped than I'll probably ever have. And all this for
the staggering sum of $111 including my parking permit and student
association fees, (though I have to buy my own lumber and glue).
So, if you're a newby to woodworking and have access to a nearby
college, check out their offerings. I'm looking forward to a great