There’s a new school for hand-tool woodworking, blacksmithing and long rifle making in Northern Ohio that is definitely worth checking out.
Called Colonial Homestead’s Artisans Guild, the school operates out of a storefront in Millersburg, Ohio, a vibrant old town with some beautiful architecture and even a working inn. There’s nothing quaint about the town. It’s just a 19th-century town that never got the memo that small towns are supposed to be dead.
In the heart of downtown is Dan Raber’s tool store, called Colonial Homestead. It’s the best-stocked tool store I’ve seen outside the East Coast (and rivals Hull’s Cove Tool Barn). Raber is the spearhead for the school, which is across the street from the store.
The last time I visited Millersburg, Raber was still working on the building. Now there are workbenches, a forge and lots of natural light from the storefront window.
There are a wide variety of instructors and the prices are very competitive. Check out the current class list here.
The school has a lot going for it. Raber is a tireless advocate for hand tool use. His tool store is a huge candy store for woodworkers. And the school is in Ohio’s Amish country. There’s great food, cheese, quilts, lumber (Keim Lumber and Yoder Lumber) and lots of beautiful rolling hills. It would make an excellent family vacation spot.
Check it out – I hope this school thrives.
— Christopher Schwarz