Woods Class


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.


10 thoughts on “Woods Class

  1. Sheila says:

    Looks like you’re having fun! Please show us more photos of your table as you progress! I’m going to remember that tip about the angled wood blocks though. Corners are my biggest headache!

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Maybe build some room boxes, Jean. I’m actually more interested in full size furniture. There’s just no more space in our wee house for miniatures :)

  2. Barbara W. says:

    That looks fun and I must say I like your steel-toed ballet flats.
    I envision an amazing tree for the cats..

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Haha, BW. When I looked at the photo I wondered if I could get away with saying something like that. Now you’ve done it for me :D
      A cat structure would be a fun project. We’ve yet to figure out a safe entry/exit system for our cats that outsmarts raccoons and skunks and is also elder cat-friendly… Thinking cap is ON.

  3. rick says:

    How goes the class? I have entertained the thought you would head for woodworking, to bring some ideas into real life sized reality. Curious to know how you are finding the process and demands of working the wood.

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Going very well, Rick! Very different than miniature woodworking :) I’m hoping our teacher will have subsequent semesters.
      Still very beginning beginner, but I’m focused and engaged. Of course the machines and tools demand that, but as you observed, I enjoy the milling and shaping process. I am curious to see how wood learning will inform my design ideas… And I love the aspects of artistry and utility. And learning new things!

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