I’ve been taking a wood skills class through adult education at Westmoor High School. My neighbor Lynn got me interested. She’s been taking it for untold semesters. Basically what it gets you is access to a full wood shop, with all the giant, scary full-size machines, an accomplished instructor, and classmates of varying skills and experience.
It is awesome.
For us newbies (and others) our instructor had secured a very good price on a lot of rough lumber called Afzelia. I’d never heard of it before. Turns out it’s a very well-behaving (his words) and interesting wood. We’re all, I mean, we newbies (there are many serial takers of this class) are doing some variation of a table with four legs mortised-and tenoned into rails, and a top as yet to be determined…
Above you can see two of my 1.75-inch square table legs, after being rough cut, jointed, planed, re-sawn, and then planed to dimension. My professional woodworking friends, I beg your forbearance. Observe the color and grain diversity! My sneaking suspicion is that there is a reason this wood is not more widely know, but so far, for me it has been a revelation.
At my level, woods class involves a lot of waiting, for machine time or instructor instructing. Fortunately, there is an awesome library in the classroom.
These tips, from a book I’ll reference next time (Wednesday 6–9pm) are insight and solutions I thought directly helpful for us small-scale builders.
I approached this class with trepidation, but with a hopeful sense of cross-pollination? Miniature wood-working skills absolutely do not apply. Maybe other than artistry, attention to detail, tidiness, respect for sharp blades, and willingness to let glue dry. Anyway, I’m loving it.