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Are Woodworking Classes Worth Your Time And Money

Cost Of Woodworking Classes

I do not make anything for the recommendations I make here. Rather I have always been a proponent of being resourceful with what is free to learn woodworking.

Nevertheless let’s review options.

Whether you take online classes, order instructional videos, or participate within a classroom, most classes will fall under $300. The question becomes, are woodworking classes worth your money?

Beginner classes can start as low as $25 to $50. The more advanced you get the more expensive it becomes.

While this is relatively cheap, one must also consider the cost of materials needed and potentially acquiring the tools.

Each class you decide to take will be an additional cost. These add up quickly depending upon how many classes you decide to participate within.

Learning woodworking does not have to be expensive, yet ultimately you must always pay for an education in some way. The question becomes, which way is best for your time and money?

If New, Start With Free Woodworking Classes

If you are new to this field it is best to start with free woodworking classes. Places like Home Depot does offer them for free, yet it is based upon their schedule.

In other words you may have to wait in order to get a specific class you desire.

Alternatively there is YouTube. Seriously this can be both the best and also most misleading method to learn from.

Find a good source, but also use multiple sources or channels to compare and learn woodworking from.

Another great place to begin is woodworking forums. You can get advice from people who have been in this field for years. Even if they cannot show you in person, you will get references to solid sources to find answers you need.

Forums are usually free to join and are community driven. The woodworking community in the online world is rather mature and well rounded.

You have access to untold years of experience.

These options I have listed will actually take you a long way with a basic start in wood carving. If you are great at learning with resources such as these, then it may be the best way for you.

If you wish to get an idea of how effective these methods are I will share a small example from my story.

My first cnc mill I built by myself and programmed using only resources from forums, documentation, and a few cheat sheets. These cheat sheets were to understand wiring symbols and electrical schematics.

Everyone has a different temperament on what they can handle or do on their own. With this know your millage may vary based on who you are and choose your resources accordingly.

The Best Paid Woodworking Classes (In Person Hands On)

If I were new to this, I would seriously look at local technical colleges for any woodworking classes that they offer. Usually you will get great value for the dollar and obtain hands on experience.

Outside of this there are some universities which will also offer training. There are many benefits to these classes. Among the benefits are certifications.

If you are looking to explore job opportunities then these certifications can be requirements. Numeric controlled milling for example, while advanced, is often one of them.

If you plan on beginning a business which focuses on woodworking I would also recommend this option. This really is better than learning on your own.

You can become more selective in what classes you opt in for, but the benefits outweigh the alternatives. You also gain added confidence with the environment being safer having experienced eyes overseeing what is taking place.

Second Best Paid Woodworking Classes (In Person Hands On)

If you happen to be near a local Woodcraft store they will at times offer classes in woodworking. While this can vary from location to location, what is offered can be a great introduction to new ideas and skills.

Local woodworkers will still teach classes like the old days. You will have to find these classes on local bulletin boards, community centers, or similar locations.

Typically the cost is less than technical schools or universities. You do not obtain any certifications, but you do get the hands on experience.

If you are looking to expand your knowledge for your business this can also be an option. For a hobby shop this is actually a great and affordable alternative to more expensive options.

Hobby woodworking shops often face more stress from financial needs than others in the community. Be sure to take advantage of tapping into those who are local to you, get to know them, and also aid in furthering that community with what you can share.

Third Best Paid Woodworking Classes (Videos And Online Courses)

Know this is not an in person nor a hands on experience. Here begins my issues with this option. You lose the ability to ask questions and gain the hands on experience.

This is a real problem when more in depth understanding is needed. If I am paying for something I would like to at least have a resource for questions or problem solving.

If I had to recommend a location for you to learn from, I would suggest the Woodworkers Guild of America. They offer a really wide selection of instruction with an equally wide range of prices.

If you are ready for more seriously advanced instruction, then you need to check out Woodworking Master Classes. Here there is a greater focus on hand tools and more traditional woodwork.

Then of course there is Taunton Workshops, this also is more focused on advanced skill sets. A greater focus is on furniture making with these last two options.

What you find most beneficial will depend upon your learning style and preferences. Explore what they and others each offer based upon curriculum, format, cost, and accessibility.

It is best to try and match yourself to what works for you rather than the name behind it.

Benefits Of In Person Woodworking Classes

I mentioned earlier that the ability to ask questions and obtain clarification is critical. This is among the most important benefits you receive by in person woodworking classes.

Another major benefit is that you will gain an understanding of the tool you are using for that class. Knowing what the tool specifications are, its limitations, proper use, safety, and other factors are critical.

With online courses you will at times find yourself researching alternate sources to find answers to questions, or the tool and its use. This can take time and in some cases not give a full clarification to your needs.

Another major benefit to in person classes is that the tools can be provided for the class. If you rely upon online classes or videos alone, this could require you to miss the hands on application of the project if you lack the tools.

Benefits Of Online Woodworking Classes

While it may seem I have been giving favor to in person classes, this is not truly the case. Online woodworking classes have major benefits.

Here you have access to the information and videos at any moment they may be needed. You can watch them again and again. In this way you do not merely see once and then potentially forget an important step of the process.

With this you can take your time, move at your own pace, and really absorb the information. You do not need to feel rushed or left behind for the sake of others due to a classroom environment.

If you purchase videos that you can physically have at hand, they also can become a resource within your personal library. This will help you teach family members or give future exploration in ideas.

As you can see there are real benefits to online woodworking classes or videos. I in no way am trying to defer to one over the other.

Which Way Do I Believe Is Best To Learn Woodworking?

As there is no way for me to know every person who will read this, or how you may learn, I do have one suggestion. You may wish to try a balance of different methods.

I never trust one source of information on technical issues. I also never rely upon one method to accomplish a task. So here having additional resources is extremely beneficial in my mind.

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There are some things you really will want to have someone show you. If you get into hand carving with chisels, it is very nice to have someone show you the nuances. In turn they can see what errors you make.

Other aspects are less important. Learning different kinds of table saw cuts is rather academic in “monkey see monkey do” methods. You see the cut then perform it with the tool.

If we were talking one on one I would suggest to fit into your schedule a mix of learning methods. Those you feel more comfortable with learning alone use online resources.

Those which you may need help with or see having potential complications, obtain training from in person classes.

How Did I Learn Woodworking?

Earlier I mentioned how I built my first cnc mill on my own using nothing but forums, online documentation, and some schematic cheat sheets. My mind is just geared to explore and learn on my own.

I truly love free methods of learning. I hate paying money if I do not have to do so. Today if I have a question then forums or places like YouTube is among the first places I go.

Yet there are things which you simply cannot learn on your own. There will be methods that older woodworkers figured out which worked, and the discovery of those which didn’t.

Many of these issues you have yet to think of.

Knowing this I sought out help from experienced people local to me. These mentors could aid me along my path. This is more like how woodworking has been handed down from generations, and it still works today.

Things That Woodworking Classes Cannot Teach

Once you have learned enough and your woodworking has expanded, things begin to happen. You begin to push your limits with ideas that you have. Then problems come.

Often solving problems requires spending more on tools to improve methods. Yet if you are like me, there comes some limitations with how far money can go. So we improvise.

Knowing how far you can take improvisation is important. Here is where woodworking classes, personal experience, and knowing your craft can save your project while keeping you safe.

Earlier when I mentioned knowing your tool, its specifications and limitations, this becomes important now. Ensure that you can walk before you run with your woodworking. When in doubt, ask as many questions as you need.

The most important aspect to it all is to have fun. This remains true even if you are moving towards becoming a professional. The moment the fun and exploration is lost, then it no longer has the same value.

Something To Remember About Woodworking Education

The best ideas you will ever have within woodworking comes from two places. First is your education in how to do what we do.

Secondly it comes from continuing to push the limits by exploring based on what you know into the unknown. That only happens when the love and passion behind the work stays alive.

If you ever find yourself burning out, then it has become time to give back to the woodworking community. You then become the resource for others with your videos, blogs, and participation within forums.

Often this will help to fuel the fire and give a new life to your work. What we do is about more than woodworking. It is about people, sharing, and helping others.

This is how we learned. In turn we help others.

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