Individuals who graduate from this program are prepared to work in custom furniture or cabinetmaking shops designing, drawing, estimating materials, constructing and finishing furniture using hand tools and power equipment to perform joinery and ornamentation appropriate for the pieces.
In addition to the Full-Time program, we offer a number of woodworking courses through our Continuing Education Department. View all CE courses here.
Students draw 20 woodworking joints and eight full-size working drawings of pieces of period furniture to accurately show construction details and provide stock lists for estimating costs of materials.
II. BENCHWORK FUNDAMENTALS
Students learn to demonstrate proficiency in the use and maintenance of hand tools to an acceptable standard for the trade. They complete benchwork exercises to demonstrate understanding of layout and execution of fundamental joints.
Observing all safety procedures presented in class, students learn to operate stationary power equipment and their attachments with the proficiency necessary to be employed in the trade. The drawing and construction of a Shaker style nightstand with a drawer serves as the teaching model for sections II and III.
III. INTRODUCTION TO STATIONARY POWER TOOL PROCEDURE
- Introduction to safe procedures using woodworking machinery: In the various stages of the milling of lumber for the Shaker nightstand, students are introduced to various saws, jointers, planers and drill presses.
- Stages of construction – The projects in this section serve as a model for organizing the process of making a piece of furniture from picking materials at the lumber yard through milling, layout, joinery, fitting, assembly, gluing up and clamping.
I. TOOL CHEST
Students construct a tool chest based on a drawing made during the drafting section.
II. PROFICIENCY TEST
After completing the tool chest, students make a dovetailed candlebox according to the blueprint provided, using appropriate millwork and joinery procedures. This is considered a day’s work. The test is timed and evaluated for quality and efficiency.
III. INDIVIDUAL REVIEW
Following the proficiency test, students meet with instructors to review their work up to that point.
I. PROJECT ASSIGNMENTS FOR GRADUATION
After completing the tool chest, each student constructs at least one example of a table, a casework piece and chair. With the guidance of the instructors, students design and draw pieces of furniture within stated guidelines. Students are expected to develop a procedures and materials list and a schedule for the projects. To the extent possible, each piece involves joinery, ornamentation and finishes not previously used.
II. ADVANCED BENCHWORK
Concurrent with project assignments, students participate in workshops and lectures on various topics.
III. MACHINE LUBRICATION AND MAINTENANCE
Students learn to lubricate and maintain all major power equipment used in a small woodworking shop to keep shop in proper and safe running order. On-going maintenance of equipment is demonstrated to students and subsequently performed by them throughout the course.
The curriculum each year includes guest speakers who provide hands-on lectures and demonstrations, as well as occasional offsite field trips. Past speakers and trips have included:
- Windsor chair making with Peter Galbert
- Marquetry with Paula Garbarino CA '80, CF '88
- Banding making and furniture repair with Michael Wheeler CF ’77
- Furniture history & finishing with Sean Fisher CF ’94
- Guest review for graduating students
- Participation in CraftBoston trade show
- Participation in Fine Furnishings Shows, a trade show in Providence, RI
- Trip to Winterthur Museum (every other year)
- Trip to Historic New England collections facility in Haverhill, MA
- Trips to the Old State House in Boston to study replica furniture created by NBSS faculty and alumni
- Trips to Skinner Auctions
- Self guided tours at the MFA with instructor(s)
- Trip to lumber yards and lumber mills
- Trips to visit professional furniture makers' shops, such as Mark Richey Woodworking