Woodworking Tips, Tricks, and Secrets

In partnership with
Instructor George Vondriska, Woodworking Expert
Woodworkers Guild of America
Share This Course
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.

Hide Full Description
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

Clone Content from Your Professor tab

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

Enjoy This Course On-the-Go with Our Mobile Apps!*

  • App store App store iPhone + iPad
  • Google Play Google Play Android Devices
  • Kindle Fire Kindle Fire Kindle Fire Tablet + Firephone
*Courses can be streamed from anywhere you have an internet connection. Standard carrier data rates may apply in areas that do not have wifi connections pursuant to your carrier contract.

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...
Learn More About This Professor
Also By This Professor


Woodworking Tips, Tricks, and Secrets is rated 4.6 out of 5 by 29.
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Excellent and wide range of shop tips Well done presentations with good illustrations and camera work. Safe operations were well demonstrated along with the background reason for following that procedure. Great shortcut and jig creating instructions.
Date published: 2020-07-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great course I got this recently and couldn't stop watching it. I learned so much. Not just woodworking but tool care, safety knowledge on finishes and adhesives. The list goes on. Great course.
Date published: 2020-05-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from True to the title there are numerous tips & tricks I really enjoyed the presentation style. There is a lot of good information here. It is clear and concise. The sound and video quality is excellent. The author has a fun and quirky personality. He has a great love for his craft and it shows.
Date published: 2020-05-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very good This is a good reference source for the less than expert woodworker like myself. I like the way the information is presented and even appreciate the corny jokes. As others have mentioned there is some repetition in the tips but most have differences in the way they are presented or maybe a different way to solve the same problem. I think an addition of a table of contents with time stamps would make the series a lot better. I read the reviews before I purchased so when I watched the videos I made my own list of the subjects and where to find them in the videos.
Date published: 2020-03-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great common sense tips for the homeowner woodshop Lots of good information that the non-professional woodworker can use to make his or her workshop more productive and more fun.
Date published: 2019-11-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Tremendous hints and tricks of the trade for a beginner.
Date published: 2019-03-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great tips The tip given in this course are very good and useful. Unfortunately, there is no index so it becomes difficult to find a specific tip if you want to review it later. It would be very useful if an index was added to the course guidebook.
Date published: 2019-01-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent tips Great ideas and tips for the beginning woodworker.
Date published: 2018-12-17
  • y_2020, m_11, d_24, h_16
  • bvseo_bulk, prod_bvrr, vn_bulk_3.0.12
  • cp_1, bvpage1
  • co_hasreviews, tv_1, tr_28
  • loc_en_US, sid_4072, prod, sort_[SortEntry(order=SUBMISSION_TIME, direction=DESCENDING)]
  • clientName_teachco
  • bvseo_sdk, p_sdk, 3.2.0
  • CLOUD, getContent, 47.61ms

Questions & Answers

Customers Who Bought This Course Also Bought