Woodworking Tips, Tricks, and Secrets

In partnership with
Instructor George Vondriska, Woodworking Expert
Woodworkers Guild of America
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4.6 out of 5
29 Reviews
86% of reviewers would recommend this product
Course No. 4072
Video Streaming Included Free

What Will You Learn?

  • numbers Discover simple ways to extend the life of important tools and machines in your shop.
  • numbers Learn how to build helpful, shop-made tools to solve annoying woodworking problems.
  • numbers Get tips and techniques for avoiding costly mistakes when building complex projects like cabinets.
  • numbers Learn to operate belt sanders and other tools that woodworkers often find intimidating with more confidence.
  • numbers Learn smart tricks for keeping your shop clean, organized, and (most importantly) safe.

Course Overview

Perhaps the most important asset any woodworker – whether new or seasoned, whether working as a career or as a pastime – can have in the shop isn’t a tool at all. It’s knowledge; specifically, the tricks, tips, techniques, and strategies master woodworkers use to create projects both simple and elaborate.

You may know all the basics of woodworking: how to shop for tools like routers, band saws, sanders, biscuit joiners, and circular saws; how to operate shop equipment safely and appropriately; even how to create your own game boards, picture frames, and cabinets. Now it’s time to take your woodworking skills to an entirely new level. It starts with an in-depth look at fascinating, easy-to-learn, and easy-to-use methods that will help you, regardless of your level of experience, become a more seasoned pro in your workshop.

In partnership with the Woodworkers Guild of America, the foremost authority on the ins and outs of woodworking, The Great Courses is proud to present Woodworking Tips, Tricks, and Secrets. Totaling over 11 total hours of content, these lectures are your go-to resource for essential skills, advanced techniques, and project tips so you can enjoy shop time like never before. Delivered by master woodworker and woodworking teacher George Vondriska, you’ll get a chance go inside a professional workshop for step-by-step walkthroughs of everything from shop-built project aids to tool maintenance and upkeep to more advanced lessons on sanding, cutting, measuring, bending, stabilizing, gluing, charging, cleaning, protecting, and much more.

By learning and applying dozens of different small strategies for enhancing your woodworking prowess, you’ll

  • work smarter and quicker in your shop,
  • achieve greater success with whatever you’re building,
  • avoid costly errors that could potentially ruin a project, and
  • take more pride in the projects you create for yourself or other people.

Easy-to-Learn, Easy-to-Apply Tips

Woodworking Tips, Tricks, and Secrets requires no prior knowledge and works as either a standalone course or as the perfect complement to other woodworking courses by Mr. Vondriska and The Great Courses. With his guidance and expertise, you’ll get a first-hand look at easy-to- learn and easy-to-apply techniques that will come in handy the next time you start an exciting new woodworking project.

Looking for savvier ways to use common tools you can find in any woodworker’s shop – and some tools that you might only use occasionally? These lectures are the perfect resource for great ideas including:

  • To make gluing less messy when putting together molding, try cutting shallow channels in the back of pieces of molding to collect excess glue that otherwise would push out all over your project.
  • Before replacing a saw blade, try cleaning it of any annoying wood resin that’s accumulated on the blade. Often times, the reason your blade isn’t cutting well isn’t because the blade is dull, but because it’s just really dirty.
  • If you’re looking to set up a temporary stop block on your table saw to avoid awkward cuts (and potential harm to your hands), you can create your own using just magnets.
  • Skip over the hard math when you want to round corners (for example, when making a stool). A method Mr. Vondriska suggests is using washers as simple, inexpensive radius gauges.

Mr. Vondriska’s lectures are packed with tricks of the trade and clever workshop solutions he relies on every time he enters his workshop. For example, you’ll learn:

  • how to fix cracks in wood and make them invisible using just baking soda and CA glue;
  • how to set, tighten, calibrate, and clean tools like joiners and drill presses;
  • a smart, fun way to use basic scientific principles to remove rust from antique tools with a battery charger;
  • how to build shop-made tools for turning bowls, bending wood, and other tasks;
  • helpful ideas for using belt sanders, a tool that intimidates a lot of woodworkers;
  • and much more.

Answers to All Sorts of Woodworking Questions

As with his other woodworking lecture series for The Great Courses, Mr. Vondriska makes Woodworking Tips, Tricks, and Secrets an accessible, engaging resource for woodworkers of all levels. A woodworking instructor for over 30 years, he’s a seasoned instructor who’s played a key role in developing curriculum for woodworking education programs, woodworking shows, as well as for organizations including the Peace Corps and the Pentagon.

How do you properly design furniture dimensions? Why should every woodworker humidify her or his workshop? How can you use a handscrew clamp as a vice? How can you avoid chips in the material surface while making table saw cuts? What’s the importance of choosing the right sanding block?

The answers to these and a host of other woodworking questions and concerns have now been assembled into one authoritative collection you can dip into every time you head into your shop. From cabinets and picture frames to bowls and pens, Woodworking Tips, Tricks, and Secrets has the secrets to wood projects that can truly make you proud.

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11 lectures
 |  Average 75 minutes each
  • 1
    Great Shop Tips: Tricks of the Trade Volume 1
    In this first lecture on enhancing your woodworking skills, Mr. Vondriska introduces you to a host of tips and tricks, including how to mask cracks with baking soda and CA glue; how to make preliminary scoring cuts to improve cut quality on the table saw; and how to more efficiently use your belt sander. x
  • 2
    Great Shop Tips: Tricks of the Trade Volume 2
    Learn how to build a picture frame on a router table. Discover how cutting shallow glue gutters makes it easier, and less messy, when gluing on wood moldings. Explore a method for curving wood that doesn't require steam or a band saw. Use a jointer to square a warped piece of wood. x
  • 3
    Great Shop Tips: Tricks of the Trade Volume 3
    Mr. Vondriska invites you into his workshop for more woodworking lessons. In this lecture, you'll learn how to make your own clamp pads and handles; how to pick up small tool spills in seconds; how to build a custom sanding block; how to better manage your power cords; and more. x
  • 4
    Great Shop Tips: Tricks of the Trade Volume 4
    Explore a shop-based solution for stabilizing pieces of wood on your bench; learn how to transform screw pockets into decorative accents for your projects; practice smarter ways for tuning up a smoothing plane to get paper-thin shavings; and other invaluable tips and tricks. x
  • 5
    Great Shop Tips: Tricks of the Trade Volume 5
    How can you make better cuts to get the right dimensions on furniture projects the first time? What are some ways to extend the life of your router and router table? What's the most effective way to tune up your jointer? Get answers to these and other woodworking questions. x
  • 6
    Great Shop Tips: Tricks of the Trade Volume 6
    Among the discoveries you'll make in this lecture are methods for squaring your drill press table, ways to use a mirror to to ensure holes drilled by hand are perpendicular, proper approaches to tightening the tension on your band saw's v-belt, tricks for applying waterborne finishes with a foam brush, and more. x
  • 7
    Great Shop Tips: Tricks of the Trade Volume 7
    Join Mr. Vondriska for a closer look at even more woodworking tricks. Among the topics you'll cover here are making arts-and-crafts knobs in your shop, building a handy push pad for your router, working optimally with plastic laminates, and using a table saw to make raised panels (and save money). x
  • 8
    Great Shop Tips: Tricks of the Trade Volume 8
    Continue to increase your confidence as a woodworker with expert advice and information on different kinds of glues (and their strengths and weaknesses for specific projects), transforming new brass hinges into antique wonders, making your steel rulers easier to use, and a smarter way to sand. x
  • 9
    Great Shop Tips: Tricks of the Trade Volume 9
    Biscuit joiners, handheld routers, table saws - discover tips for getting the most out of these and other tools in your workshop. Plus, learn techniques for getting perfect cuts on a miter saw, achieving the right depth when turning a bowl, and making tighter dadoes. x
  • 10
    Clever Project & Workshop Solutions
    Focus on shop-made problem solvers that can help you accomplish your woodworking projects with greater ease, whether you're picking the perfect dado location, cross-cutting tiny pieces of wood, tracking the holes you make with a plunge router, or accurately cutting pieces of wood prone to chipping. x
  • 11
    Shop Made Problem Solvers
    In this last lecture, learn how to work with sodium hydroxide, how to repair hairline cracks, how to improve your workflow (like storing brushes while varnishing, building shop-made stir sticks, or clamping irregular surfaces), and tips for getting the most out of sandpaper (especially for finishing a project). x

Lecture Titles

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What's Included

What Does Each Format Include?

Video DVD
Instant Video Includes:
  • Download 11 video lectures to your computer or mobile app
  • Downloadable PDF of the course booklet
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
Video DVD
DVD Includes:
  • 11 lectures on 4 DVDs
  • 18-page booklet
  • Downloadable PDF of the course booklet
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps

What Does The Course Guidebook Include?

Video DVD
Course Guidebook Details:
  • 18-page printed course booklet
  • Resource Recommendations
  • Glue Guide
  • Suggested suppliers for tools

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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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Woodworking Tips, Tricks, and Secrets is rated 4.6 out of 5 by 29.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Instructor- Useful Tips I like the straightforward down to earth teaching style.
Date published: 2018-11-13
Date published: 2018-11-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Woodworking Tips There’s good ideas for every woodworker from beginner to someone who has been working for years.
Date published: 2018-06-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great array of topics! Plenty of material to assimilate! All major tools are explained and demonstrated. The jigs are great and the tricks do die for.
Date published: 2018-05-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Course I enjoyed this course but was slightly disappointed that some of the material was presented more than once. I have been an amateur wood worker for almost fifty years, subscribe to several woodworking magazines and have read several books on woodworking but only work in my shop about one day a week.
Date published: 2018-04-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Nice addition for your woodworking know how There are lots and lots of great woodworking tips in this 4 disc set. Some tips I was already aware of but others had me saying to myself, "Now that is a neat idea!" About the only downside which others have already pointed out is the lack of a contents page which would be of immense help. As I was watching all 4 discs, I created my own contents page so anytime in the future I'm not searching through 13 hours 43 minutes worth of videos trying to figure out where the tip I'm searching for may be.
Date published: 2018-04-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great tips and tricks I have been a woodworking hobbyist for years and I have learned quite a bit from these tips. Some things I had never heard of before.
Date published: 2018-04-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very informative I'm a female novice in the area of woodworking and I'm so glad that there is something to guide me and increase my confidence in woodworking. Eliminates a lot of frustrations.
Date published: 2018-03-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love the choices Each purchase i have made has been for multiple and diverse self help courses and none of my purchases have been disappointments.
Date published: 2018-03-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Many Great Tips I am an accomplished woodworker, owning most of the tools presented in these videos. That said there are many good tips for both beginning and accomplished woodworkers. Each is practical tips presented in a clear and mostly concise fashion. My only criticism of this course is that tips are somewhat disorganized and there is no course index to easily refer to the material presented. I found I needed to record time stamps and subject on each video so I could refer back to them when the need should arise.
Date published: 2018-02-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great tips for all woodworkers Regardless of skill level, there are tips for every woodworker. I was impressed with the number of ways to use a router, and simple ways to "true-up" warped lumber. I could cite many examples of valuable tips. My conclusion: If you are a woodworker, buy this course.
Date published: 2018-02-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good Lots of great tips to shave time, and money, off projects. Tips from years of experience are very helpful in shop set up execution. Changed the way I will approach projects in the future.
Date published: 2018-01-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding ideas This is a great way for an amateur to do professional quality woodworking. A great price and I love that each lesson is 2-5 minutes so you can view a little bit at a time. Tips range from stuff you may already know to “why didnt I think of that”. All are very useful.
Date published: 2018-01-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This Program has many things that my father taught me so many years ago and many that a new. All in all I would purchase this program again. Old or new woodworkers can either refresh their memory or learn new things.
Date published: 2017-11-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Woodworking: Tips, Tricks, & Secrets If you're looking for tips and tricks on routine woodworking projects, such as: fixing trim around window or a door frame, hanging a door, house trim, building a shed, adding crown molding, adding a chair rail, or other decorative or upgrading woodworking projects for your home this is not the course for you. Unless you have a router, joiner, drill press, table saw, belt sander, a dozen different types of clamps, and other precision type tools, plus a large woodworking shop to house this equipment, most of the course content will not be of value to you. This is not a course for the average DIY person. The course content is geared more towards an individual who wants to be a professional woodworker, i.e., a cabinet maker and other specialties, and uses the above mentioned equipment regularly. With that said, the instruction was presented in a clear and concise manner, and the instructor was highly knowledgeable in his content area. Neither was he dull but kept things interesting even if you have never used some of the equipment he made demonstrations on. And even though the course, for the most part, was over my skill level I did pick up a few ideas and tips which I can implement in my woodworking projects.
Date published: 2017-10-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Enjoyable I am enjoying the course. It flows along at a nice easy pace. Easy to watch and listen to, and a lot of good tips. Where it fails, for me, is the course guidebook does not give a detailed list of tips per video. So, to go back and find a tip that you’d like to try is a bit tedious. You have to guess which video the tip that you’d like to employ is on, and then you have to fast forward through the video until you find the desired tip.
Date published: 2017-09-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic Well presented , some new and some refreshed to me tricks of the trade. Entertaining and informative . I highly recommend .
Date published: 2017-05-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is Great No heavy metal music. No super duper sound effects. No speed hammering or sawing. It's all in real time and the only sounds is the tools slicing through the wood. You can almost smell the wood. If you love wood I need not explain.
Date published: 2017-05-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Outstanding w/ one exception I really enjoyed this course which is loaded with really helpful ideas. My one objection is the large number of repeated material from the Woodworking 101. In all, I would guess close to 20%.
Date published: 2017-05-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great product. This set of woodworking techniques is just what I was looking for. I purchased the set for my adult son who is looking for a deeper understanding of woodworking and techniques.
Date published: 2017-05-14
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