Woodworking 101: Techniques and Everyday Projects

In partnership with
Instructor George Vondriska, Woodworking Expert
Woodworkers Guild of America
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39 Reviews
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Course No. 4071
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What Will You Learn?

  • Learn how to use a band saw for cutting non-traditional materials like antlers, gemstone composite, and more.
  • Look at the best ways to sharpen the tools of the trade including: bench chisels, plane irons, drill bits, jointers, and planer knives.
  • Complete three projects: an organization, a small, and a rolling storage unit.
  • Build a useful desk with an interesting design twist.

Course Overview

In an age where furniture is mass-produced, it’s no wonder that many people yearn to return to the days when craftsmanship was king and a piece of beautiful, solid wood furniture or a handcrafted keepsake could be passed down from generation to generation.

Woodworking is a skill that can be learned at any age and mastered over a lifetime. There is no end to what you can learn because with each project your work becomes more efficient and more polished. There is something magical about coming into a workshop and inhaling the earthy scents of pine, cedar, and walnut. You may find yourself leaving the stress of your everyday life behind as you enter a realm where things are built with care and intended to last a lifetime.

Whether you're crafting a future family heirloom or doing simple repairs around the house, Woodworking 101: Techniques and Everyday Projects, produced by the Woodworkers Guild of America, is an invaluable guide to both the fundamental and comprehensive skills you need to know. Your instructor on this journey is the affable and knowledgeable George Vondriska, who has taught woodworking skills to eager audiences everywhere from the Pentagon to Africa. As his virtual apprentice, you will master shop-proven and time-tested techniques and be able to tackle projects large and small with newfound confidence.

In these 13 lessons, spanning more than 20 hours, you will learn how to get the most from the tools of the trade you’d find in a typical woodworking shop. Mr. Vondriska walks you step-by-step through using the tools that every beginning woodworker should own. You will learn how to plan and build items that will showcase your woodworking skills while creating practical items that can be used every day, including storage solutions, jigs, and fixtures.

And since no woodworking course would be complete without several projects to hone your skills, this course includes over a dozen undertakings, including designing:

  • a rolling material cart with pegboard storage,
  • a two-sided game board for tic-tac-toe and last man,
  • a complete set of intricate wooden chess pieces,
  • a pair of planters for your garden that double as seating, and
  • a cabinet with an acrylic panel door that hangs with a French cleat.

This hands-on and practical course is made in partnership with the Woodworkers Guild of America, an organization that believes in feeding your passion for wood craft with new techniques and inspiring ideas delivered by some of the best woodworking instructors in the world.

Build a Solid Foundation for a Lifelong Hobby

As with every craft, before you can bring your creative ideas to life, you need to thoroughly grasp the basic tools and techniques of the trade. Mr. Vondriska starts with a review of the basic setup and functions of each tool you will find in a standard wood shop, even going as far as disassembling some tools so you can understand exactly how they work. Slow-motion video footage is used to illustrate the differences between various models of the same type of tool.

Mr. Vondriska delves into the following tools in depth:

  • Table saw
  • Band saw
  • Circular saw
  • Track saw
  • Jig saw
  • Router (plunge base and fixed base)
  • Biscuit joiner
  • Belt sander
  • Random orbit sander

Each of these tools is an investment—some costing several hundred dollars—and not a purchase that should be made without significant research. Luckily, Mr. Vondriska has decades of experience as a woodworker and woodworking instructor. In each lesson of Woodworking 101, he provides you with

  • expert buying advice to make you an educated consumer, including which power tool features are useful and which are optional for the recreational woodworker;
  • recommendations about when it is worthwhile to rent time at a professional shop rather than purchasing a larger tool yourself;
  • detailed instructions to be sure your tools are set up properly for both safe operation and accurate cuts;
  • demonstration of proper safety measures to protect your eyes, ears, and hands; and
  • ideas for small projects that you can build that can help improve the shop environment and increase the versatility of each of your tools.

Beyond power tools, consider an item as ubiquitous as glue. Did you know that modern glues are now so strong that many types are more resilient than the material being adhered? Mr. Vondriska demonstrates this by showing two pieces of wood that have been glued edge to edge. When he slams the wood against a table, the wood itself breaks, leaving the glued seam perfectly intact.

In an entire lesson dedicated to adhesives and clamping, you will explore the pros and cons of various types of glues, from common white glue to epoxy. Consider some of the common and uncommon glues that are used in woodworking:

  • Polyvinyl acetate: Everyday white glue has a very long drying time, which makes it useful for projects when you need a lot of time to get pieces set up properly before clamping.
  • Hot glue: It’s not only for the craft room! Hot glue is handy in the wood shop when you need to create a temporary bond between two items, like attaching a paper pattern to a piece of wood.
  • Hide glue: This adhesive was historically made by boiling animal hides and dissolves when exposed to hot water. Musical instrument makers use hide glue to make it easier to take apart a wooden instrument to do repairs.
  • Epoxy: This adhesive comes in two parts—hardener and resin—that have a chemical reaction when mixed together, creating a waterproof seal.

Clever Tips and Techniques Abound

You will want to keep a notebook handy when watching these lessons to jot down all of the tips and techniques that are packed into each moment during your time in Mr. Vondriska’s shop. Even experienced woodworkers will find gems of knowledge or a new way of thinking about a technique they thought they had mastered.

Uncover secrets for:

  • stabilizing your biscuit joiner when the piece of wood you’re cutting is too narrow;
  • cutting perfect finger joints every time;
  • cove cutting with a table saw (not many woodworkers know how to do this!);
  • creating a book match using a resawing technique that exposes the beautiful grain of a piece of wood;
  • sharpening every tool in the shop, including your kitchen scissors;
  • measuring angled legs to ensure a proper height for a desk; and
  • cutting non-traditional materials like antlers, gemstone composites, and more.

 

Project Guides & Inspiration

Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned woodworker, this course will provide you with ideas for woodworking projects large and small.

  • Chess & Checkers Board: Create a beautiful game board made with contrasting woods without cutting and gluing individual squares. Marvel as you watch your instructor transform a block of wood into a beautiful Queen chess piece using the scroll saw.
  • Shorts & Sheet Goods Rack: An organized shop is a productive shop! Build a compact storage rack that will securely hold your off-cuts and sheets of wood so you can easily peruse them when planning your next project.
  • Modular Cabinet: Make a small cabinet that is perfect for storing small items or tools, whether in the wood shop, quilting room, or a child’s playroom. Cut dados with uniform spacing that allow you to create exactly the size drawers you need and swap the order of drawers in the cabinet with ease.
  • Table Saw Miter Sled: Cut perfect 45-degree angles without having to adjust the saw blade—even for wide boards. This project is one you will use over and over again in your shop.

 

Mr. Vondriska walks you through each project from start to finish as the camera follows his movements, providing perfect angles for you to see his expert hands at work. The included PDF files offer sourcing information for supplies, scroll saw patterns for the wooden chess pieces, and cutting lists for each project described in the course.

A Lifetime of Enjoyment

Inspired by a number of woodworkers at an early age, George Vondriska has been woodworking since he was 11 years old, starting out with a Dunlap scroll saw and Craftsman lathe. He finds great joy in teaching and has taught woodworking in the Peace Corps, at the U.S. Pentagon, and to local Boy Scouts earning their woodworking merit badges. His expertise and enjoyment of the craft is evident in every lesson as he treats each piece with care and shares stories and advice that can only be gained through decades of experience.

With Mr. Vondriska’s expert instruction, you will find yourself being more effective and efficient as a woodworker, achieving better results with less time and effort. Woodworking 101: Techniques and Everyday Projects will undoubtedly be the most powerful tool in your shop.

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13 lectures
 |  Average 94 minutes each
  • 1
    Table Saw Tips & Techniques
    The heart of every woodworking shop is the table saw. This lesson will make you a table saw pro, able to get the most out of this amazing piece of machinery. First, learn how to ensure your saw is set up accurately with the blade parallel to the miter gauge slot and the fence, and perpendicular to the table for perfectly straight cuts every time. Learn which products are best for lubricating your table top-and which ingredient you should avoid at all costs. Next, hone techniques for half lap joints, finger joints, and dovetail sockets, reinforce a mitered joint with a spline, and even discover a trick for cove cutting with a table saw. x
  • 2
    Portable Power Tool Tips & Techniques: Part 1
    If you do not have friends or family members who are woodworkers, it can be difficult to know which power tools are the best investment for your shop. These two lessons are ones you will reference again and again when you are preparing to make a purchase. In the first lesson, get tips and tricks for four tools that bring versatility to your shop: routers, belt sanders, jig saws, and the multi-tool. Among the tutorials in this lesson: comparing fixed base vs. plunge base routers, selecting the correct blade for your jig saw, and how to transform a handheld belt sander into a stationary one so you can keep both hands on your project. x
  • 3
    Portable Power Tool Tips & Techniques: Part 2
    Continue to maximize the potential of your power tools and get valuable purchasing advice from a master woodworker. Dive into the many applications for a biscuit joiner, including how to reinforce 45-degree cuts and join narrow pieces. See slow-motion footage of random orbit sanders to gain a deeper understanding of how they work. Explore the benefits of having a circular saw over a dedicated track saw, learn how to convert a circular saw into a track saw if you would rather not purchase two tools. Finally, get expert advice on selecting the right saw blades for your project. x
  • 4
    Essential Band Saw Techniques
    If you are only using your band saw to cut big, gentle curves and flat stock for furniture work, you are not getting the most from this tool. In this lesson, each aspect of using the band saw is covered step by step, making it easy for you to follow along and incorporate new skills into your woodworking. After reviewing proper setup and maintenance, dig into novel uses for this versatile tool, including cutting perfect circles, resawing beautiful book matches, pad cutting multiples, and cutting non-traditional materials like antlers, gemstone composite, and more. x
  • 5
    Router Table Tips & Techniques
    Many woodworkers are not aware of just how versatile a router table can be. Become a more educated consumer by gaining a better understanding of the inner workings of a router table. Then, follow along with your instructor as you build a handsome wooden box. Along the way, you will learn about the golden proportion, router lifts, lock miter joints, routing for inlay strips, cutting miters, splining corners, and even using the router table as a jointer. x
  • 6
    Sharpening Skills for Your Workshop
    Many woodworkers are not aware of just how versatile a router table can be. Become a more educated consumer by gaining a better understanding of the inner workings of a router table. Then, follow along with your instructor as you build a handsome wooden box. Along the way, you will learn about the golden proportion, router lifts, lock miter joints, routing for inlay strips, cutting miters, splining corners, and even using the router table as a jointer. x
  • 7
    Gluing & Clamping Skills for Every Project
    A sturdy finished product depends on the right glue. But given the wide variety of adhesives available on the market today, it can be daunting to choose the right glue for your projects. In this lesson, explore the benefits of many types of glue, from common white glue to gap-filling epoxy. Follow the history of hide glue, which was common in pre-WWII furniture and remains the glue of choice for wooden musical instrument makers. Compare and contrast seams created in the same material with different glues. Finally, learn all about glue's partner: the clamp. Explore light and heavy duty clamps, including homemade lightweight clamps made from PVC pipe and an amazing demonstration of clamping an irregularly shaped object using a vacuum bag. x
  • 8
    Jigs, Fixtures & Shop-Made Helpers
    A seasoned woodworker is one who has found ways to make their work as efficient as possible, and shop-made helpers are one of the main reasons for this efficiency. In this step-by-step tutorial, George Vondriska teaches you how to build and use a variety of essential woodworking jigs, fixtures and everyday helpers to make your job in the workshop simpler, safer, and less stressful. He first discusses important tips for choosing the materials you'll utilize for your jigs, highlights some hardware that you should always have on hand for jig building, and then walks you through the building process. From push sticks to router guides to cross-cut sleds, this lesson has guides for building them all. x
  • 9
    Shop Storage Solutions
    Much like a master chef has mise en place to ensure that every ingredient and tool needed for a meal is easily accessible, a woodworker is only as efficient as their workshop is organized. Complete three projects that promote a clean and organized workshop: a shorts and sheet goods rack for organizing your wood, a small cabinet that uses dados (grooves) to allow for modular drawers, and a rolling storage unit with a place for everything from large tools to small glue bottles. x
  • 10
    Great Shop Projects
    Many of the most useful projects in woodworking are ones that you will keep in your own workshop. In this lesson, watch as your instructor builds two projects: a shop storage cabinet with an acrylic glass front and pegboard back, and a table saw miter sled that makes accurate 45-degree cuts quick and easy. In addition to providing you with storage, the cabinet project will teach you about case joinery, making door frames, using Euro hinges, and more. x
  • 11
    Making Wooden Games
    Craft a unique gift that can be handed down from generation to generation. Get comprehensive project instructions for six family-friendly games: from a small tic-tac-toe board made with beautiful contrasting woods to a fun bean bag toss game for your next backyard barbecue. And you will learn great woodworking skills along the way, such as cutting perfect circles, gluing up panels, making and using a router template for repetitive cuts, and other skills that will make your shop time more productive, and more enjoyable. x
  • 12
    A Pair of Planters
    Explore outdoor applications for woodworking while building two planters to add beauty and seating to your deck, patio, or yard. Outdoor projects may not require all the finesse of indoor furniture making, but you will find that your cabinet and furniture making skills carry over nicely. You'll learn how to guarantee uniform length when crosscutting multiple pieces, and find tips for getting symmetrical part lay out, the correct glue, material, and fasteners for outdoor projects, and lots more. The bench planter and modular planter are quick projects that are simple enough to do with kids. x
  • 13
    Sawhorse Desk
    Build a useful piece of furniture with an interesting design twist. The base of this desk is two sawhorses, which gives it a warehouse" look. In this project lesson, build a sturdy sawhorse desk from red oak with handsome black walnut banding. You'll learn to accurately cut and assemble the angles required for the sawhorse base, accurately crosscut large pieces of plywood, add banding to mask the edges, and many other useful skills that will carry over to future projects. When you're done, you'll have a piece of utilitarian furniture that you will be proud to use daily." x

Lecture Titles

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What's Included

What Does Each Format Include?

Video DVD
DVD Includes:
  • 13 lectures on 7 DVDs
  • 1 Resource CD with materials, cuts, & tool lists

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Your professor

George Vondriska

About Your Professor

George Vondriska, Woodworking Expert
Woodworkers Guild of America
George Vondriska has been teaching woodworking since 1986. In addition to teaching classes at his own Vondriska Woodworks School, George has taught at woodworking shows and retail stores across the country, in Africa as part of the Peace Corps, and for organizations from Andersen Window to Northwest Airlines. He has even taught woodworking at the Pentagon. After getting his B.S. in Science Education at the University of...
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Reviews

Woodworking 101: Techniques and Everyday Projects is rated 4.4 out of 5 by 39.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Worthy purchase This dvd is full of excellent tips and examples for the novice and professional craftsman. I highly recommend this if your planning a shop or expanding your skillsets in woodworking.
Date published: 2018-09-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Easy Going Style I'm probably an intermediate woodworker. This course is great. Presenter has an easy going style and creative use of vocabulary. Presents tool considerations, set-up and use. Lots of jigs suggested and demonstrated. Great ideas for tool uses.
Date published: 2018-08-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from It was a gift, but my son says he's finding it very informative.
Date published: 2018-04-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Informational!! I am a beginner in woodworking and found this series excellent. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2018-03-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant instructor George Vondriska is a remarkable instructor. Wish I had at least one as good in college. His presentation was confident, without being superior. I marveled in the realization that I never heard him say "uh" a single time.
Date published: 2018-02-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Content is good other than the audio for the last 30 seconds cuts out.
Date published: 2018-02-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Excellent videos for us "newbies" I'm an aspiring wood worker and these videos helped me quite a bit. The guidance on tools and tool usage is exceptional and very helpful. The only complaint I have is the guidebook doesn't match up exactly with the videos. The planters in the video are not the ones in the guidebook. Also, reference is made to plans that can be found online for some of the projects (e.g. mobile storage solution) but the plans aren't there. Not sure if this is because of the age of this material or not. Overall, very good
Date published: 2018-01-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from plenty of information There are so many items presented to enable you to do any kind of woodworking project. Also included are tips & tricks to make your project easier and better finished without having to learn something by yourself.
Date published: 2018-01-21
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