Choosing Woodworking Courses

Here are some of my thoughts as a current student who went through the process of choosing a cabinet making course.  There are very few comparable cabinet making courses in the world and one reason I am qualified to write this piece is that I have experienced one of the other woodworking schools that offer a similar cabinet making course.

Decisions Decisions

There are many factors that come into play when making big decisions such as giving up your job to retrain. I first needed to know if a woodworking course was indeed something that I would like to commit my time to.  I then needed to find a woodworking school that would allow me to reach a professional level of proficiency in a limited timeframe.

North Bennett Street School’s Short Woodworking Course

I took a 10-week introductory cabinet making course at the North Bennett Street School (www.nbss.org) in Boston where I was living at the time.  The course covered some of the basic joints and managing of hand tools.  I found it an excellent reintroduction to the world of woodworking, convincing me that I should take the plunge and sign up for a fulltime woodworking course.  So I began looking.  There are two reasons that I chose to come back to Scotland and study here at Chippendale instead of North Bennett Street.

Professional Woodworking Course in a Business Environment

One major thing that appealed to me about Chippendale was that there is a furniture restoration and furniture making business that runs alongside the woodworking school (www.anselmfraser.com). In my first 3 months here I have seen numerous client interactions and restoration projects coming in. This is invaluable experience for setting up ones own business. In addition the scope of the cabinet making course here will allow me to have some confidence to have a furniture restoration side to my business as well.

Full-Time Cabinet Making Courses

The North Bennett Street School runs its own full time cabinet making courses over 2 years and I’m sure if my circumstances had been different this would have been an excellent way for me to go. However, the woodworking course here at Chippendale is only one year long. As I could not afford to go to a woodworking school for 2 years without an income, this made sense.

Limitations of a ‘Short’ Cabinet Making Course

A limitation of one-year woodworking courses is that you can’t spend as much time on each subject as you can on longer woodworking courses.  Nevertheless, you do cover everything you need to know to get you started.

Lifelong Learning

Limitations aside, I feel that I will pick up further proficiency and speed over time.  The ethos of the school is that you learn for the rest of your life and the first year is spent jump-starting that process.

Andy Rayne – Student

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