The Next Generation of Woodworking Teachers

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In my early 30s, Marc Adams invited me to teach at The Marc Adams School of Woodworking, and I honestly didn’t know what to say. I was honored to be asked. But I was terrified at the prospect of teaching a bunch of strangers hand-tool woodworking.

Despite my better judgment, I said yes to Marc.

Teaching that class, and the hundred after it, gave me the confidence to be the writer, woodworker and businessman I am today. I had to stop being the shy guy listening in the corner. I had to defend the way I work and think. And I had to learn to think on my feet. And work while I’m talking. And to never get into a drinking contest with an Irish student. I am eternally grateful to Marc (and Kelly Mehler, who asked me to teach that same year).

Teaching woodworking also committed me to training future generations. And so when Megan Fitzpatrick and I sat down to decide who to ask to teach at the Lost Art Press storefront, we wanted to make sure we asked young and sometimes brand-new teachers. These were people whose work we greatly respect, but they haven’t become people you see on the rosters at woodworking schools worldwide.

That’s why we invited James McConnell to teach toolmaking and Joshua Klein to teach handplane restoration. And it’s why we have Anne Briggs and Kieran Binnie on tap to teach in the coming months.

These are people you are going to hear a lot from in the future. They are incredibly committed to the craft and work at it every day. They share what they know and seek to bring others into the craft. They have lots to share, and you might be surprised what you can learn from someone younger than you (my kids are proof of that).

Most of all, we believe in this particular crop of people after watching them for many years. If you are interested in hand-cut joinery, both of these classes are great places to start (or continue) your journey.

Build the Anarchist’s Tool Chest with Kieran Binnie: Sept. 23-27, 2019

Build a Wall Cabinet with Anne Briggs: Oct. 7-11, 2019

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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19 Responses to The Next Generation of Woodworking Teachers

  1. Terry West says:

    Perhaps a weekend family class? Omit the beer, teach the children!

    Like

  2. Scott Carro says:

    Yes! An answer to the nail together kids classes at the big box stores. Kids are capable of so much more….

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    • tsstahl says:

      “An answer to the nail together kids classes…”

      That’s pretty morbid. I would think superglue would suffice to get the cruelty across. Besides, everyone knows that nails are for puppies and staples are for kittens.

      😉 Sorry, couldn’t resist.

      On a serious note, everyone has taken ‘risk averse’ to the stupid level. It is a wonder that children learn anything at all of the manual arts these days.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Steve Dixon says:

    Chris On a different subject, How do you like 1. the slanted vice on the Nicholson bench in the “Workbench Book”? 2. The knockdown bench in the PWW article after using them?
    I have considered rotating my leg vise 90 degrees and really shortening the length. What do you think of that?
    As always: everything I know about working wood I learned from you Woody Woodpecker

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    • <>

      It’s still fine and works great. No complaints.

      <>

      Still in service here in Kentucky and all over the world. Some people have devised new ways to add the T-nuts (construction adhesive). But that’s the only real improvement I know of.

      <>

      Never done that myself. So I don’t have an opinion to offer. Sorry.

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  4. I’ll have the pleasure of working alongside Anne at an upcoming event this fall. She’s a rising star in the craft, for sure.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. ctrega says:

    I would take a class just to meet some of the instructors. They’re all exceptionally skilled craftspeople, but, they also tip the scales as interesting human beings. Maybe some day I’ll make the pilgrimage and enroll. Just beyond my region for now…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Luke Maddux says:

    Any advice for those of us trying to get into teaching unsuccessfully? I’ve tried the “cold call and send portfolios with cover letters to multiple schools offering free/volunteer labor” approach and got crickets, and I’m looking for something more traditional than the “get famous on social media” approach, so I’d be interested in what else you might suggest.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Luke,

      I came in through an odd side door – the magazine.

      If I were in your shoes I would perhaps (if you haven’t already) ask an established teacher to assist during a class or two. Many assistants seem to end up as instructors.

      Sorry if this is crap advice….

      Liked by 1 person

      • Luke Maddux says:

        That was kind of my approach with the portfolios/cold calls. Maybe I should be more persistent. I’ve thought about submitting articles to magazines and trying to establish some kind of rapport for writing and move from there too.

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        • Well if you want to come assist at one of my classes at the storefront next year I’d be happy to have you. It’s hard work….

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          • Luke Maddux says:

            Careful, I’ll take you up on that! I’m moving to Nashville at the end of this year/early next, and I’m definitely serious about trying to pursue this, so when I get myself established I’ll get in touch with you. Thanks for the offer.

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    • jleko says:

      At the risk of intruding on this conversation…
      I have had some success by submitting proposals, along with a short, bio. Make a compelling case for a class they’d want to take. Then, if accepted, be prepared to market it yourself to attract enough students to meet the school’s minimum.
      This might be what you mean by cold calling and portfolios. If so, apologies.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Dan says:

    Speaking of great teachers, Peter Follansbee is scheduled to teach a class on making shrink pots at Lie-Nielsen in Warren, Maine this September 7-8, but as of now, only two (of twelve) spots have been spoken for. Since I’m one of the two, and desperately want the class to go forward but expect it will be cancelled unless more folks sign up, I thought I’d spread the word…

    https://www.lie-nielsen.com/workshop/USA/230

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Richard Sutton says:

    Do you have a problem with people of Irish heritage? You seem to bring them up often,for some reason.

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  9. flyandgrain says:

    I actually met Anne at a LN event in Austin. I had no idea who she was at that time, but I was very impressed with her knowledge. I was very new at hand tools (still am) and she did a great job demonstrating the LN hand planes and sharpening.

    Liked by 1 person

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