Teaching Furnituremaking

http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/classifieds/real_estate/6289718.htm
Regards, Tom Thomas J. Watson-Cabinetmaker Gulph Mills, Pennsylvania
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Hmmm, $10,000 could buy an awul lot of tools and lumber....
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Yeah, but what would a neophyte do with that stuff? Turn out junk? Let the tools rust? Would s/he buy the "right" tools and the "right" lumber in the first place?
There are schools one can attend that teach you how to build a NASCAR racer from the ground up. There are places you can go to learn the art/science of timber framing. There's a guy in Uvalde, Texas, that will teach you how to make a rocking chair ("THE" rocking chair, to be sure). "Fantasy camps" for people with the means to attend.
Seems to me that, like the task of building -- or simply knowing HOW to build -- a fast car, getting instruction in HOW to make quality furniture has value. Couple of buddies and I, some thirty four years ago, went to the technical high school in Fort Worth to take a 12 week (two nights a week) course in "mill and cabinet." Not quite 10K, but it's simply a matter of degree. You can get OTJ training in "short order cook" at IHOP or Denny's, or attend the Culinary Institute of America in Poughkeepsie, 'eh?
Jim Stuyck
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Well Jim,
I guess you're right and wrong at the same time (this is opinion, ok?). What I mean is, yes, attending a course is a great way to be shown (1) the intricacies of cabinetmaking. But would a neophyte be able to effectively choose the right course for them, without the benefit of having first tried their hand to determine what types of woodworking they most enjoy, or even if they enjoy it at all?
I'll allow that when you say "neophyte" you must mean someone that has *some* exposure, some awareness of their shortcomings and where they need to develop. I include myself here; I know enough to know that I don't know enough. However, that said, when do I cease to be a neophyte? It's difficult to say because it's a relative term that changes from each users perspective.
After finishing the $10K course, most of the knowledge learned would dissipate within a year, therefore the value for money is diminished. I would personally prefer to attend a workshop on the specific things I need help with, close to the time when I am going to use that knowledge to maximise the benefits and to consolidate the training received.
With reference to the learning of the "HOW" to make something, in todays world I think a lot of that information is readily available through the internet. What is missing is the "WHY" part of construction and design. The golden mean, the selection of timber types and the orientation of grain, backgrounding in finishes and surface preparation are what I would look for.
As to the cooking analogy, if I were cooking for my family at home, I'd have serious problems justifying a $10K course at the Culinary Institute of America in Poughkeepsie. :-)
I suspect that we are both on the same track, but different positions can give varying perspectives. To me, $10K is serious bucks, I would spend this over a long period of time perhaps, or to assist with a change in vocation, but it is beyond the realm of this weekend-warrior woodie, hence my comment.
cheers,
Greg
(1) learning doesn't necessarily follow.
wrote in message

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wrote:

I think that learning something like furnituremaking involves jumping into the hermeneutic circle.
It almost doesn't matter where you start because you will come back to the same point with a deeper understanding, once you have gone through that circle a few times.
Most courses and books are linear in their presentation. That is not a bad thing, there must be some organizational hierarchy in presenting the material.
But, can you really understand the fine points of stock preparation by itself, or must you go through the process and see what paying attention to stock prep will mean when you get to the joinery and finishing levels?
Courses may be something that are experienced only once but they provide the groundwork for the "Aha!" experiences ("So, that's what they were talking about!) that will continue throughout your working with wood.
I still find myself getting those little "Aha!" moments during my work, that reference back to things I thought that I had absorbed from reading Krenov, or some such.
Learning ain't linear - even though we are often presented material in a linear fashion.
Regards, Tom Thomas J. Watson - Cabinetmaker Gulph Mills, Pennsylvania http://users.snip.net/~tjwatson Remove CLUETOKEN to reply to email.
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On Mon, 14 Jul 2003 18:11:07 -0400, Tom Watson
<big snip>
Hey Tom, you teach any classes?!
Actually I think I'm too far away. You sound like a good teacher though!

PS this is mainly a compliment
James snipped-for-privacy@rochester.rr.com http:// snipped-for-privacy@breck.org
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<snip>

Tom, I have a guy running a business near me that I feel meets my needs almost perfectly. He has a factory style shopfront where you can enter and buy your woodworking goods and tools. Should you need a place to build a project, he has plenty of space out the back and lets you use his tools to construct your project. If you only need a specific tool for a one-off job, you can bring it in and do that too.
But the real beauty of his setup (to me) is, I can take my project to him and say "this is what I am trying to do - how the heck do I do it?". For a price (quite reasonable) I can get everything I need in the quantities needed and in the timeframes that I need them. A 12-week course is too much at once and not necessarily specific to my needs at the time. Roy is a ready-to-hand mentor and provides a host of other information on timber stores, functions, local tool sales/repair and parts availability etc.
Whilst I would dearly love to attend such a course as was advertised, I am afraid I cannot justify it within my budget, nor, I suspect, can most hobbyists. For those that can afford it, best of luck to them - I envy them. For me though, I enjoy books, an occasional instructional video and, when I need to, I drop in to Roy's Woodshop on the way home from work and get some extra tutelage. This way I get to control the outgoings a little better, and can get information targeted specifically at what I am doing and an explanation of the "whys" involved, which I mentioned previously are important to me.
regards,
Greg
For any Aussies wondering which business I am referring to:
GetWoodworking 2/239 Kororoit Creek Road Williamstown Vic
No association, just a satisfied customer, yada, yada,
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wrote:

Certainly could.
More to the point, it pays the rent for a while while you go and use them.
I almost signed up for a local college furnituremaking course a while back. The cost was entirely negligible, in comparison to the loss of earnings while doing it. The trouble was that it was two days a week, for two years, and yet the expected rate of production was pretty minimal. My reasoning was that I could easily produce the same amount, and gain the same experience, in a few months of not working and spending the time in the workshop instead.
Selling the damn stuff is quite another problem though....
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Tom Watson presents:

Sounds like a great idea...and probably needs just as much of a struggle to survive as making furniture in Philly.
Charlie Self
Republicans understand the importance of bondage between a mother and child. Dan Quayle
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