Principles of Woodworking

Instructor: John Manthei and Scott Holladay

This is an ongoing program in which we explore all aspects of woodworking from the most elementary to extremely complex. The idea is to try out tools and techniques of all kinds and begin to develop proficiency in many of these. Each project will involve design, planning and layout. We will work with both hand and power tools and cover all kinds of joinery. We will study the physical properties of wood and begin to intuit how these properties relate to our projects and tool use. We will also cover many of the manufactured products used in furniture and cabinet making such as plys and composites, hardware, glues and finishes.



This program is designed around the individual and the student and instructor jointly develop a unique curriculum. Projects will be chosen that push the limits of our experience while building confidence. The nature and complexity of these projects will depend on prior experience and personal goals for the course.

In addition to instructional time/guided work we also offer an opportunity to work on your own in the school shop during regular Principles of Woodworking sessions. This 2-for-1 Time gives you the opportunity to work independently on projects or skill building at half the regular class cost. Students receiving instruction will have priority for space and equipment so 2-for-1 Time folks will have to be flexible. The intention of this option is to allow you to use shop space and tools when you are at a place in the project where you just need to make progress on your own and don’t need help from the instructors. Each 2-for-1 Time session uses 1/2 of a Principles of Woodworking session that you have purchased. 



Principles of Woodworking” is for ages 16 and older. For youth woodworking courses please see “Woodworking for Kids” under “Programs”, or visit the class calendar.

Note: Students may join this class at the beginning of each month. Entering students will spend their first two sessions focused on tool use, safety, and properties of wood. If you would like to join the program, please contact John Manthei at to schedule your introductory sessions and to begin the process of developing your individualized curriculum. You may then register using the registration button below.

Note: In offering this program we continue to learn from our successes and failures. Our goal is to make this program safe, meaningful, rewarding and fun. We also want to accommodate, as much as possible, the difficult schedules of each participant. We have learned that long absences between sessions attended requires a great deal of re-learning. This is an inefficient use of time for the student and the instructor. We have also learned that skipping over some of the more basic woodworking information so a project can get started ASAP is equally inefficient. To address the first issue we have put a 2 month limit for using your 5 sessions. (Once a student has qualified for Open Shop and is working more independently then the 2 month limit would not apply.) To address the second issue new students will now start at the beginning of each month. For incoming students we will be devoting the first two sessions of each month to safety, introduction to tools and their use, and some very important information on wood.

Principles of Woodworking runs 3 days a week from October – December and then January – April. Class times are Mondays from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm; and Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm. (Please check the calendar for any temporary schedule changes.)

Cost: Students buy 5 sessions at a time for $225 in advance of starting the program.