It’s never been a better time to be an aspiring woodworker. The convergence of high speed internet with accessible/inexpensive video equipment has given rise to a host of online woodworking education opportunities. From watching live demonstrations to a la carte purchases of individual lessons, options abound, at a range of costs, including free.
True, online learning isn’t for everyone. And there’s little chance that traditional woodworking schools like the North Bennett Street School will be replaced by online classes. But if full-time or even part-time enrollment in a school like NBSS isn’t an option (geography and cost are two possible limiting factors) the online route can be a good option.
Enter Epic Woodworking, brain child of master woodworker and long-time Rough Cut regular, Tom McLaughlin. From its headquarters in Canterbury, New Hampshire, McLaughlin — through Epic Woodworking — has been offering both on-site and online courses for woodworkers of all range of ability and experience.The schedule for on-site classes is always evolving. One will find weekend class opportunities (Fri-Sat) as well as week-long options, on topics ranging from woodfinishing and joinery to drawer dovetailing and chairmaking. As one might expect, the topic covered will determine class length — the class on chairmaking, for example, is a 5-day course, while the “Intro to Woodworking” is offered as a Friday-Saturday. Prices are reasonable, especially considering the experience McLaughlin brings to the bench (25+ years).
For the geographically-challenged there are online options as well. McLaughlin’s live stream events are often broken down by project and broken into chunks. They are also archived, so you can access them later. The recent Craftsman Style Rocking Chair series, for example, is broken into 7 separate sessions and includes a $10 discount if you purchase both the classes and the Full-size plans for the chair (pictured right).
Lastly, you’ll find a nice variety of free tutorial videos as well, which feature McLaughlin carving a lambs tongue detail or making a jig for shaping curves. Great info, and a great taste of what one might get in greater depth at an in-class or online lesson.
Want a better look at the Epic Woodworking operation? Check out the full Master Showcase episode featuring McLaughlin below, where Tommy travels to the Canterbury, NH shop to build a porch swing. Not a bad place to learn from a master, we have to say!
Go to Epic Woodworking to learn more about the woodworking classes offered.