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.

*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.

In addition to instructional time/guided work we also offer an opportunity to work on your own in the school shop, either during regular Principles of Woodworking sessions or on your own. Get all the details about how to qualify on the Open Shop page.



Principles of Woodworking runs 3 days a week from October – December and then January – May. Class times are Mondays from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm; and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm; and Wednesdays from 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm.

Check the class calendar for class listings and registration information.

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



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.

It is never too late to sign up for this series as it is taught on an individual rotation basis. If you are interested in participating, please go to one of the class listings on the calendar and fill out the registration form or contact John Manthei at 457-1219 or

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.