Attending a furniture design school provides a student with an opportunity to discover their craft, learn and develop design methods and techniques, master technical advancements in areas such as sustainability, and ultimately determine the trajectory of their career. Hands on experience is a vital element of the learning process, as is comprehensive knowledge of materials and their properties. The graduate leaves school with a portfolio showcasing their unique talents and abilities.
Training Length & Times: Each professional training session (Fall, Winter, Spring) is 12 weeks in length and may include students at the Basic, Intermediate, or Master level. Our entire program takes 9 months to complete and so we recommend that students enroll in 3 consecutive sessions in order to complete the full curriculum. Students attend small-group lectures, receive individualized instruction, and complete specific projects that are designed for their experience level. Class instruction is available Mondays-Fridays from 9:00am-4:30pm with a 1-hour break for lunch. The shop remains available for independent student work from 4:30pm to at least 8:00pm on most days. The school is closed on holidays and there is a break between sessions and over part of the summer. See our current schedule for specific session dates.
Craft projects that don’t require you to go out to the craft store and purchase a lot of supplies can be difficult to find, which puts a crimp in crafting plans when you don’t have a lot of money to spend. Although most of these projects do require you have materials on hand, most are things the average person has around the house (scraps from previous projects, old clothing, salt, soda bottles) or are things you can easily obtain for free (leaves, rocks, twigs, shells).
Although refrigerators long ago rendered them obsolete, antique oak ice boxes remain popular with collectors, even though they’re expensive and hard to find. This do-it-yourself version is neither: it’s both inexpensive and easy to build. An authentic reproduction of an original, the project is especially popular when used as a bar, but it has many
Professional Series Completion: To fully complete MSF’s 9-month Professional Training program, students will need to attend all three levels of training: Basic, Intermediate, and Master-Level which collectively equal 36 weeks / 9 months of classes, and satisfy all class requirements for each level. Students may enroll in 3 consecutive sessions (Fall, Winter, and Spring – in any order), and complete the entire professional training within 9 months – 1 calendar year. Alternatively, students may space their training sessions out over a longer period. For example, they may attend 1 session per year (Fall, Winter, or Spring – in any order), in which case completion of all training levels may take 3 years. Students enroll in each level/session independently of all others and are not required to commit to / take all three levels of training, though completion of the entire series is highly recommended. There are significant tuition discounts for students who, at the start of their training, enroll in multiple, consecutive 12-week sessions.
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Finishing: It’s important to know how to select the right finish for the job and wood. We train students in surface and material preparation, and in hand applied finishes such as oil, shellac, and varnishes. Classes include selecting color and applying stains. Specialty finishes such as French polishing are also covered along with training in how to use tools for finishing work and the proper use of fillers.
We do the busy work — Instead of standing in line to use one of our planers, Lonnie and his assistant plane the lumber for the Woodworking Essentials project before your class begins. This is an important difference between our school and the others: because we plane the boards you’ll spend more of your valuable time learning the enjoyable and important stuff—such as cutting dovetails, learning to sharpen and use hand tools effectively, bandsawing and carving a leg or precisely fitting a drawer.
It might not be the easiest project in this list, but if you already have some experience with wood cutting and joinery, it won’t be any hassle at all. Thanks to the extremely detailed instructions it shouldn’t really be a problem even if you’re not very familiar with woodworking. This could actually be a great project for refining your woodworking skills as a beginner!
Students enrolled in the Furniture and Cabinet Maker Career Diploma Program are eligible for discounted rates for the Woodworkers Guild of America premium online how-to videos. This video resource site can serve as a supplement to your furniture and cabinetry program, but is not required to complete your coursework. Learn more about this offer here.