Woodworking 101: Techniques and Everyday Projects

In partnership with
Instructor George Vondriska, Woodworking Expert
Woodworkers Guild of America
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4.5 out of 5
42 Reviews
90% of reviewers would recommend this product
Course No. 4071
Video Streaming Included Free

What Will You Learn?

  • numbers Learn how to use a band saw for cutting non-traditional materials like antlers, gemstone composite, and more.
  • numbers Look at the best ways to sharpen the tools of the trade including: bench chisels, plane irons, drill bits, jointers, and planer knives.
  • numbers Complete three projects: an organization, a small, and a rolling storage unit.
  • numbers 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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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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Woodworking 101: Techniques and Everyday Projects is rated 4.4 out of 5 by 42.
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
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Woodworking 101 I have enjoyed this and truthfully learned a lot about the table saw and bandsaw that I did not know, even though I have been a woodworking/carpenter for over 60 years. (Never had any formal instruction about either tool, just used them and appaarently lucky I guess).
Date published: 2018-01-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Should be renamed: Advanced Woodworking 101 or 201 This course should be renamed Advanced Woodworking 101. The instructor does not go into the basic of how to start in woodworking, such as selection of wood, how to use hand tools, etc. Hand tools should be a discussion on planers, chisels, different types of saws and how to use them. He also uses expensive power tools that most woodworkers can only dream about, such as large band saws, router tables with lift mechanisms, and full size saw tables. I have been doing woodworking for years, so I really enjoyed the course, but a first time woodworker would not get the full benefits of this course. The manual that accompanies the course is also very brief, as compared to other Great Course manuals. There was also no reference material suggested. The comments also apply to the instructors other course on Tips & Techniques.
Date published: 2018-01-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great gift I have done basic woodworking for years. I recently inherited a workshop full of equipment and this series has been a great way for me to become familiar with the equipment and all that it is capable of doing. My wife bought it as a gift and I am so glad she did. I have been through three sections so far and I am looking forward to the rest. Instructor does great job showing techniques and tricks for success
Date published: 2018-01-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Understated,the material is overwhelming This is the most comprehensive course Ihave ever seen. The instructor is excellent and very knowledgeable. The content is very useful and helpful. The course is much better than I expected.
Date published: 2018-01-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent teacher! The teacher explains in detail the do's and don'ts of different techniques. I have learned a lot from these DVDs. I would recommend them to anyone.
Date published: 2017-12-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great review of lots of shop techniques Great review of basic shop techniques with many valuable new additions. I learned a lot of new things that made it worth the investment of $ and time. Most of the segments could have been shortened up by editing out the repetition. I found something in every course that was useful.
Date published: 2017-12-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Woodworking 101 I'm a 86 year young woodworker and DIUS man who enjoys working in the shop. Your course was very enjoyable and I learned a lot of new tricks and shortcuts that will help me now and in the future. Good job, well done! Virginia do it yourself guy!
Date published: 2017-12-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from The course itself and the instructor are excellent. However, the accompanying course guidebook is nothing more than, in general, a list of sources for some of the specific woodworking equipment used in the course rather than what would be truly helpful for those of us who would like to re-create some of the great projects--a real guidebook with sets of plans and pointers so nicely provided in the video. The video format isn't very helpful when you're actually doing something in the shop
Date published: 2017-11-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fundamentals and helpful tips So far so good, clear and helpful. Been working with wood for 10+ years and am picking up helpful new things and being reminded of old fundamentals. I would like to see a better indexed video interface so that its easier to locate something that you want to go back and review.
Date published: 2017-05-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I wish I had seen these techniques years ago Love the clear instructions with several examples of how it's done
Date published: 2017-05-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent woodworking course for beginners as well as intermediates
Date published: 2017-05-01
Rated 3 out of 5 by from WOODWORKING 101: TECHNIQUES FOR EVERYDAY PROJECTS The quality of the video looks like it is analogue and not digital. I seem to get bored with the lesson before it ends. I was really looking forward to the course. I am still glad I bought it. I have some woodworking experience but not a lot.
Date published: 2017-04-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Still exploring I have just received this DVD and it will take several months before I get through it all and much more time to digest the contents. I have enjoyed Vondriska's written articles in the past and am sure he will be a good teacher and inspiration to me. From browsing a bit, it looks like many new ideas will be useful for me. I look forward to spending time with this set of videos.
Date published: 2017-04-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Keep it as is I have read - and agree with - the other positive reviews, and have only a bit to add: I thoroughly enjoyed 'meeting' George. Obviously extremely knowledgeable, he also strikes me as a friendly, good-hearted fellow, the kind who would make an ideal neighbor. I need not dwell on the importance of a teacher's perceived personality. His dry humor added a pleasant seasoning: "On sale! today only...! ; "We have okey; then we have dokey." I have two thoughts: remind the viewers about protective eye wear. Maybe a thought or two on what kind of protective goggles and earplugs would help stress this need. Also, I would love to see an hour or two on wood-turning. There are so many skills to learn: the choice of woods and curing, of lathes, of tools. Tool and sanding techniques, finishing techniques, how to prevent checks or to fix them should they occur, etc. All in all, George, very well done, young man! :} Lucky Garvin Lucky Garvin
Date published: 2017-04-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great instruction, but short a few lessons The instruction was really good. My first issue was the lack of some other fundamental wood working skills. For example wood selection and how to square up Wood beyond using a table saw in the table saw lesson. I've been dabbling in wood working over the past couple of years and there is a learning curve when buying Wood for project. I feel a 101 class should start by discussing Wood and the many characteristics. Also, I believe it's a bit silly you can't download a .pdf of the wood working plans for the streamed version of the class. They're referencedoing throughout the class, then they should be offered regardless the lesson format.
Date published: 2017-03-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Full of Procedures and Tricks for all Woodworkers I am an intermediate level woodworker that recently retired and wanted to get to the next skill level. This course is full of woodworking techniques that apply to various skill levels. George, the instructor, is clearly an expert with experience in teaching woodworking. In addition to clearly presenting a wide variety of procedures needed to build high quality woodworking projects he presents in friendly slightly humorous fashion. He is fun to listen to. He overviews the tools and supplies needed for quality woodworking while always stressing safety. He presents a variety of projects designed to demonstrate a wide variety woodworking procedures that apply to a wide variety of projects. I found the many tricks he used to accurately and safely make multiple components for a project very helpful. I was initially concerned that the course may be too basic for an intermediate level woodworker like my self. That was not the case at all. I am sure my future projects will be of much higher quality. The course completly fulfilled my expectations. I would recommend the course for both beginners and intermediate level woodworkers. Experts may benefit by the wide variety of techniques George presents. Beginners would really benefit from getting started on the right foot
Date published: 2017-03-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Starting again smarter & with sharper tools After forty years of home repair with only occasional personal projects in wood in retirement I wanted to build wood into something useful and beautiful. My projects so far have been OK but always flawed. With Woodworking 101 I learned much about tools and procedures that I thought I already knew, had misinformation corrected and discovered some new tools, materials and techniques that make my work more accurate, easier. look & work better. Favorite Chapters -Wood Glues, Tool Sharpening and Router Tips. Thanks for useful material.
Date published: 2017-01-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I was expecting more on the basics. I was expecting to learn more about wood choices and shopping for materials as well as more info about hand tool use, such as hand saws, chisels, planes. The information on a limited range of power tools was excellent. The last of 8 DVDs contained a few Spartan PDF files of mostly just the supply lists needed for demonstrated projects. One wishes that the PDFs were more complete, perhaps showing an exploded view of the assembled project showing where in the projectcertain pieces were go.
Date published: 2017-01-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Woodworking 101 The presentation was well thought out and presented in usable order. Much was rather well known, but necessary to give a complete understanding. I found the course very useful to me personally.
Date published: 2016-11-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good ideas, even for an experienced woodworker I'm an intermediate level woodworker (fair-to-middling cabinet maker), and yet I was surprised by how many new ideas and better ways of doing things I saw. Every single lecture had something useful. I realize now that my know-how has been acquired rather haphazardly, by word of mouth, magazine articles, tips from others, trial and error, and applied common sense. I can now see the advantage of sitting through a well-designed and well-presented lecture series, to tie everything together. I no longer feel like my knowledge of woodworking is haphazard. This is a great course, well designed, and well taught by a very likable presenter.
Date published: 2016-11-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from So far so good - needs an intro The presenter is very good and has great hands, however there needs to be an introductory section which includes more detailed safety topics. (my sister suffered a strange injury, in my Dad's workshop, when she was very young). Also I would like to see a section on tools that can do a number of things such as convert to drill presses or lathes as well as table saw work. (remember the old Sears "Shop Smith"). Most homes have minimum space and a possessing a number of tools is expensive and takes up space for use and storage. I am only at disc 2 so maybe you should poll me again later. I have enjoyed the sections on cutting and joining, especially the section on band saws and biscuit saws, neither of which I or my Dad ever owned. AND I really appreciate having the DVDs to watch in place of the election year "blogspeak" commercials on TV here in my "purple" state.
Date published: 2016-11-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Complete A thorough review of basic tools & techniques. Eventually maybe one more DVD with possible overview of such items as drill press, power miter saw, jointers, planers, dovetail jig and morticing machines. Great information overall.
Date published: 2016-10-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The correct approach to skill building I was very impressed with this class because of the precise demonstration and emphasis on skill development. The greatest application of the course is really how many dies, tools, and methods you can use to practice / build up your talents. You'll learn also how to problem solve tough woodworking challenges for small to large projects. I wish I had had the knowledge much earlier in life....could have been helpful in avoiding / limiting my creativity sooner.
Date published: 2016-10-25
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Woodworking 101: Techniques and Everyday Projects this 8 DVD set was not up to the normal standards of the "Great Courses" products. the last DVD has a set of PDF files, but they only link to the Woodworkers Guild web site. For the most part, the links are not worth much and in some cases are not complete. The lessons have times of one to two hours, but most of that time is spent watching the teacher cut wood one stroke at a time. They should have faded out more often and back in as he completed the cut etc. While I will keep the set, it cost way too much for the content.
Date published: 2016-10-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from For Beginning and Experienced Woodworkers This course begins with use of the table saw--the fundamental tool in a woodworking shop. Mr. Vondriska emphasizes safe use of the table saw, table saw selection, and finally, a number of ways to use the table saw to maximize its capabilities. Next, the emphasis is on portable power tools. Again, he emphasizes selection of tools and the multiple uses of each tool. For me, the surprise was the use of the biscuit joiner--a tool I own, but one that I have never used as I did not know how to use it. Now I know how, and when to use it. He progresses on through the band saw, router, and sharpening skills. From this introduction and demonstration of the many uses of these tools, Mr. Vondriska presents methods for gluing and clamping, making jigs to facilitate special cuts or repetitive cuts, and methods for storage of tools and materials. At this point in the course, he applies these lessons to making projects. I will not enumerate the specific projects, but only write that each project reinforces prior lessons on the selection and use of tools, clamping, gluing, and making jigs when appropriate. Most of these projects I will never make. However, each project contains lessons--both specific and subtle. With some projects, I wanted to fast-forward the DVD to skip the details of construction. I resisted this temptation to my betterment as watching Mr. Vondriska demonstrating manual skills, I was able to learn subtle lessons about hand placement, drilling techniques, stabilizing large pieces of material, and using special tools in unusual situations. I found it quaint that Mr. Vondriska uses a carpenter's folding rule for many measurements. However, I saw quickly that the folding rule can be used more easily than a retractable rule and can be used as a straight-edge and a square. I am going to use his technique in my shop. I was impressed that Mr. Vondriska did not advocate any particular brand of tool. He used affordable tools that can be purchased at a home store, and high-end tools that can only be purchased at specialty woodworking stores. I was surprised when he introduced a inexpensive bench planer for planer demonstration, rather than a stationary planer. (Later in a demonstration, he used a stationary planer.) Bottom line: Despite one's budget, one can find tools that do the job. It will be unfortunate if other experienced, but arrogant, woodworkers write negative reviews of this course. Mr. Vondriska is more than a nice guy; he is an excellent teacher who enjoys presenting information. He is articulate with a subtle humor and sublet grin. You get to see his mistakes (we all make them) and he has a wry response. Because an experienced woodworker does not use a specific tool--for example, the scroll saw, it seems inappropriate to me to downgrade the course for this reason. Finally, I agree with other reviewers that the organization of the course is not up to Great Courses standards. I understand that is difficult to constrain some of the lessons to a 30-45 minute format. However, lessons that exceed two hours are unwieldy. Since this is a course to which I will return for specific information, it would be helpful if TTC would produce an index of the various topics covered to make it easy to find those lessons. If that happens, I would like to receive a copy post-purchase. This is an excellent course for beginning woodworkers and experiences woodworkers alike. There are many lessons to be learned despite one's' skill level. This course is outstanding!
Date published: 2016-10-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A couple of suggestions! Great course and great instructor. The reason I gave it 4 stars and not 5 is that the format (lessons last over an hour and 20 minutes) is not as convenient (each topic is too broad) for me as the standard 30 minute time frame used in all the other Great Courses. Also, I wish the course came with a book, which would help to identify specific sections in the course for future reference when doing projects. Definitely would recommend.
Date published: 2016-10-17
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Disappointed My perspective is probably skewed because I have been working with wood for some time and I realize the content of the course may be useful for an absolute beginner but I couldn’t make it through the first dvd and found myself searching for a topic that did look promising. Not much luck. While there were no glaring issues with the production overall for me, I think it was a combination of things that caused me to lose interest. For starters, the presenter, while he seems like a really nice guy, became annoying at times and I’m not quite sure why. Then there were some technical woodworking things going on that I wanted to question. For instance there was his obsession with the folding ruler and the use of it to set up a table saw. A folding ruler is fine where you only need to be accurate to maybe a 16th of an inch but surely a table saw cut needs to be more accurate than that. Another example of a technical woodworking snafu was when he was building the chessboard. After the glue up when he was cutting the bigger board into strips, the first cut should have been to trim one side even. He went straight to cutting strips. I realize he probably did do this but this important step was omitted from the production. Then, for me there is the issue of the content overall. Instead of being engaged in what he was doing I found myself thinking yeah, yeah, yeah and fast forwarding, etc. There was the droning on about the jig saw, which I hardly ever use, to segments on spreading glue. A foam brush and a hacksaw blade, really? The roll around storage cabinet was just an overall marginal idea for a project. What’s the point of the melamine on this cabinet? Over time the plastic bins, hanging from their edges will pull through, especially if any weight are in them. Why not just put them on shelves? The casters should have been placed as close to the outside edge as possible as the contraption looked as though the tools would fall off and may even tip over if rolled across crack or joint in the floor. And why not introduce newbies to Spax screws or some other torx bit type wood screw. Any time I see someone stripping a traditional phillips head screw with Festool drill, I think they have more money than common sense. I was left feeling like a lot of the content was contrived by committee to create video minutes to sell as opposed having a seasoned woodworking share his craft. Having shared all of that there were some good points. For instance the explanation of the different glue types was educational. I have seen and heard of hide glue but was not aware of it’s use. I would give the glue segment an A- as I would have included a blurb about slow set wood glue. And back to the cabinet, the reference to cumulative error when laying out work was spot on. I will eventually make my way through all of the dvds and may change my overall opinion. Right now however I would say overall the series may be a good collection for a beginning ‘around the house handy man’ but there are much better ‘woodworking’ videos on the market.
Date published: 2016-10-13
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