Understanding Wood: A Guide to
Identifying, Reading, Choosing
and Properly Working This
Natural Material

WWR recommends this course first, before
any other methods course. As a
woodworker, it is highly important to
understand the structure and nature of the
material we all wish to manipulate, wood! From
understanding its cellular make-up to reading
boards you need to purchase at the local retail
store, this course will help you understand just
what a changeable, varying subject wood is,
and how to work with its features to achieve
the end result you hope to attain. Want to
know why you should scrape red oak but sand
white oak for the best finish? How about which
wood to use for an application in moist
conditions? Or why the 1,400-hour highboy
you just finished building in the basement
should not be displayed in the sun room? This
class will give you the answers!
How to Effectively Sharpen Your

It doesn't take eight hours, sixteen stones of
varying grits from different countries, and
$2,000 to effectively sharpen your tools. Learn
how to sharpen like professional housewrights
do--quickly and effectively--so as not to
waste time on the job. WWR will teach you
how to know what your tools need--cutting,
sharpening and/or honing--and how to produce
that keen edge that will glide through your
next project. This course covers chisels,
planes, knives, turning tools, bits, and other
edged tools. Remember--there are only two
states to any edged tool: Sharp, and Not
Sharp! Can include hands-on sessions where
participants will learn how to use grinding
wheels, sharpening stones, strops and other
sharpening-related methods.

Methods of Fastening Wood

How do I know what fastener is proper for this
project, using this wood, under these
conditions, or any/all of the above? Short of a
dry joint (dovetails, mortise and tenon, etc.),
other ways of fastening wood involve
mechanical and chemical means. This course
covers glues, screws, nails, pocket joints,
doweling, proper application of hinges and
hardware, proper mortising techniques for the
above, and much more. Plenty of hands-on so
students can get familiar with the different
Shop Milling, Resawing, Making
Veneer and Stock Preparation

So your friend had a downed tree cut up and
gave you a big slab of wood, and now you
need to know what you can do with it? You
can probably handle it with just the tools you
already have in your shop. Plus, with the
popularity of today's micro-mills, an amateur
sawyer needs to learn the proper way to get
the most effective yields from a piece of
timber. This course will cover resawing,
planing, making veneer, the appropriate
preparation for your seasoned and/or green
inventory, and much more. Did you know you
can even resaw with a frame saw? These
methods are also great for the smaller woods
such as dogwood, persimmon Bradford pear,
The Master's Tool Chest: The
Tools and Why We Have Them

When a master housewright/carpenter goes on
a job, these are the tools he takes. WWR gives
an overview of what these tools are, what
they are used for, and why they are important
to these situations. The course introduces
tools from elemantary to advanced skill levels
and covers everything from marking and layout
tools to final finishing tools. For more in-depth
information on specific kinds of tools, such as
hand saws or wooden molding planes, please
check out our additional courses below.
Plane Fettling

While this class may sound vaguely improper,
WWR assures you it is all legal and aboveboard
<grin>. If you have a cool old flea-market
plane or someone gave you one as a gift and
you have no idea how to get it in good working
shape, this is the course for you. Includes
wood- and metal-bodied planes and
transitionals. WWR will show you how to
dismantle and properly reassemble the planes,
sharpen their end caps and irons, and true
their soles, among many other things, and will
also give good information on when a plane is
not worth saving (unfortunately, some of them
aren't). Attendees can bring their own planes
and work on them, or planes can be provided
for course use.
Fitting Tools to Yourself

To effectively use tools, you must first have
tools that fit you properly and know how to
best use them. Hand saws, hammers, chisels,
work benches, sawyer's benches--all of these
and more need to be adjusted to your specific
measurements and motions to relieve strain
and reduce inefficiency. WWR gives you these
details in a hands-on format, providing
kinesiology and ergonomic information as you
practice using improperly and properly fitted
tools to see and feel the clear difference.
Implements of Bloodletting:
Chisels, Spokeshaves and

Chisels, spokeshaves and drawknives are very
useful tools in the world of woodworking. They
can shape, carve, round, slice and pare wood
in many different forms, if used correctly. If
you have ever wondered just how turn-of-the
century wainwrights (wagon-makers) made
wheels or coopers (barrel-makers) constructed
their products, this class is for you. These
implements have many uses in modern-day
woodworking as well, such as using a drawknife
to round a block of wood for the lathe, using
chisels to hand-cut dovetail joints, or shaping
a chair leg with a spokeshave. This course can
include several hands-on components where
attendees can learn skills with these tools.
Hand Saws by the Numbers

Love old hand saws but don't know much
about them? This course goes over the
different hand saws and their provenance,
discussing how different saws are numbered,
why and their uses, and gives provenance on
many different kinds of saws. It can include
hands-on sessions where you will learn first-
hand how the different saws cut different
woods. Bring your old saws to class to get
them identified and typed!
Braces, Drills and Augers, Oh My!

Want to put a nice hole in something without
the noise or fuss of a power drill? Need a
smooth hole that requires no finishing or blow-
out repair on the back side? Choose one of
these tools and go to town. This course
provides information about these tools, what
the differences are between them, how to
properly use them in different situations, and
how to maintain them and keep the bits sharp.
Can include hands-on experience using the
tools with different kinds of wood.
Choosing and Using Hand Saws

Different saws were intended for different
uses, some to leave a smooth glue line, others
to cut across the grain of hard woods, and
others that would be effective in cutting
frozen wood, among many others. Learn how
to choose the proper saw for your task at
hand, make sure it is fitted properly to
yourself, and how to care for it including basic
sharpening. This course can include hands-on
sessions where you will learn for yourself how
using the proper saw for the job makes a world
of difference.

Blending Hand Tools into Your
Modern Workshop

You might know Ron as a historical hand-tool
master. But did you know he also knows power
tools? Most people think these worlds collide,
but in reality, blended shops have been around
for 150 years. Ron demonstrates how different
tools are good for different jobs and how hand
and power tools can complement each other in
a modern shop. Have you ever been faced with
running a bead down the middle of a 12" board?
A molding plane can knock that task out in just
a few minutes, where it might be difficult for a
power tool. Conversely, a power router can do
great production molding, where it would wear
you out and take forever with a hand plane.
Ron will give you useful information about most
common shop tools and some less common
ones, and how to set up and use those tools
properly-as production has come forward,
these tools still complement each other and
each have a valid place in the shop. 
Sharpening Hand Saws

WWR teaches you simple, quick and effective
methods for getting and keeping your saws
sharp and in tip-top working shape. Learn how
to sharpen the different kinds of saws and
what kinds of files should be used for different
saws. Each attendee will take home a set of
WWR saw sharpening guide blocks for effective
Layout Tools and How to Use

You've got your project in mind, but how do
you go about effectively marking the wood to
properly lay it out? WWR shows you many
different marking and layout tools, including
squares, single and double marking gauges,
rules, templates, story sticks and calipers, as
well as discussing the merits of pin/knife
marking gauges vs. cutter-wheel gauges and
many other topics. Includes care and
maintenance of the above tools, including
proper sharpening of cutter wheels, pins and
knives. Can include hands-on sessions where
participants will learn how to properly use the
above tools for themselves.
Hand Planes by the Numbers

Stanley #4. Miller Falls #714. Union #07.
Record #405. Smoother. Jack. Jointer.
Transitional. Fore. Why the heck are there so
many names and numbers and what do they all
mean? WWR cuts through the clutter and
demystifies this cryptic identification system
by delivering clear information on these planes,
their manufacturers, what the numbers all
mean, and how the planes of different numbers
are used for different purposes. Can include
hands-on sessions where participants will use
different planes to understand the proper use
for each. 
Wood Prep: Rough Lumber to

This course gives a mini-refresher of the
"Understanding Wood" course as it applies to
choosing the proper stock for your project,
then discusses working with stock in the rough,
from understanding how to read it for your
needs to preparing it and properly laying it out
for your templates. You will learn about the
IDIOT rule--the Inside of the Drawer Is the
Outside of the Tree--and what it means for
furniture building, along with much more
important information on this crucial topic of
prepping your wood for your specific needs.
Metal-Bodied and Transitional

This course provides a detailed study of both
the development and use of the metal-bodied
and transitional planes. You will learn
manufacturer and patent information and the
use of the different kinds of metal planes from
the 1800's to present. Can include hands-on
sessions where participants will use different
planes to understand the proper use for each.
The Joinery Challenge

The challenge is on! This course will challenge
you to learn or enhance joinery skills by making
a sturdy wooden frame using six pieces of
wood and nine NON-GLUED joints. To create
this frame, you will learn a pocket-hole joint, a
mitered butt joint, a pinned and mitered butt
joint, a corner slip joint, a corner half-lap joint,
a center half-lap joint, a half-lap dovetail joint,
a mortise-and-tenon joint and a bridle joint.
Wood is provided (extra pieces too, if
necessary!), and participants will each build
their own frame with instruction and oversight
from the course instructor.
Wooden Moulding Planes

Ogee, it's plane to see there's an ovolo of
wooden planes out there! Jokes aside,
understanding wooden moulding planes can be
a little confusing. This course gives you
information about the different kinds of
profiles, or the shapes cut by different planes,
some of the major manufacturers of wooden
moulding planes, and how to use them for
different results. Can include hands-on
sessions on how to properly fettle a wooden
moulding plane, how to use sprung and
unsprung varieties and the ergonomics of
proper planing. Attendees will take home a
glossary of plane profiles and information.
Build Your Own Sawyer's Bench

Contrary to popular belief, a sawyer's bench is
not a one-size-fits-all tool. It is very specific
to your individual measurements and will create
strain and ineffectivity if it's not. A sawyer's
bench is a very useful tool--not only to saw
from, but it can also be used to cut, chisel,
screw, nail and many other activities. This
course gives participants the opportunity to
construct their own bench to their own
measurements to take home, using several
different joining and fitting methods, and
demonstrates effective work using the bench.
The bench wood is provided, and is included in
the cost of the workshop.
Hand-Cut Dovetails

Somehow cutting dovetails has become seen
as the most mystical of all woodworking
talents, but it's a very simple process if you
have the know-how and use the right tools
and approach. No $$$ jigs required! WWR can
give you this knowledge and have you cutting
dovetail joints by the end of the session. No
one specific method, tool or approach is
necessarily the best--dovetails can be readily
and effectively cut in several different ways
(we'll even demonstrate it using a frame
saw!)--and this course will help you learn
which is best for you and for the specific
situation. Covers the basic, half-blind and blind
dovetail joints, with plenty hands-on
experience with wood provided.
Build-Your-Own Shooting Board

If you do exacting joinery work or need your
wood ends to be trimmed and square, you need
a good shooting board. We will give you great
information about what a shooting board is and
how to use it, the different kinds you can
make, and helpful tips and tricks. Be sure to
ask why a nickel is so important! You will build
your own shooting board and learn to use it,
then take it home with you for your continuing
Sawmill Instruction

For the hobbyist sawyer or anyone who would
like to know more about how sawmills operate
and wood is milled.
Bitten by the sawmill bug but not sure where
to start or how to get the best yields out of
your timber? Woodworking with Ron can help!
This course will teach you about the sawmill
itself, timber selection (or how to best work
with what you have), proper orientation of logs
on the mill, the different cuts that can be
taken (flitches, plane-, quarter- and rift-sawn,
etc.), proper safety and operating procedures
and how to appropriately prepare and store
your new lumber.
"The more tools you have, the more problems you can solve."
For web site questions or comments, please email web@woodworkingwithron.com

WWR offers courses in two different formats. Seminars differ from workshops in that
the format is mostly lecture and is usually shorter, even though there is a lot of
hands-on experience in each seminar. Workshops are mostly of longer duration with
hands-on instruction and can include construction of a take-home example or project.

Along with the courses offered at the mill, we also provide courses to external
organizations. For these situations, course lengths are flexible and will be tailored to
your group's needs. Course costs are dependent upon the length of the session(s)
requested and travel expenses are additional (we also ask that the requesting
organization provide hotel lodging). Requestors will need to provide workspace large
enough for their groups. 

Courses can be requested in the formats given below, or WWR will be happy to
customize a session for your group. Please contact WWR for pricing and scheduling