Want to learn some new skills, meet other woodworkers and go home with a custom project you’ve made yourself? If this sounds like a fun way to spend a few hours of free time, Rockler is currently offering four different project-focused “Make and Take” classes through its retail stores. But you need to act fast: most stores are offering Make and Take classes through April, only.
The four project options include a hunting knife, wooden beverage caddy, a turned pen or a turned bowl. Each Make and Take class lasts two to three hours and focuses on a single project.
“April is National Woodworking Month — the perfect time to learn new woodworking skills,” says Scott Ekman, Rockler’s vice president of marketing. “These classes offer a unique opportunity for anyone interested in woodworking to learn basic techniques, get some hands-on experience and meet other people interested in the craft.”
Make and Take classes are limited to only three to six participants per class, in order to enable instructors to offer lots of one-on-one time. So, no previous woodworking experience is necessary. You will be taught everything you need to know, and supplied with all of the necessary tools, safety gear and materials, to complete the course project.
Rockler store associates are the course instructors. Many have been woodworking for years and love to teach, Ekman says. “It’s the highlight of their day to lead these classes.”
The Make and Take program started in April 2016, and then was repeated last fall as a precursor to the holiday gift-giving season. Ekman says these small group classes are continuing to gain momentum across Rockler’s network of 36 retail stores. So much so that some classes fill up well in advance, and some stores are now even providing Make and Classes throughout the year — not just seasonally.
Here’s a quick overview of the projects and skills this time. In the knife-making class, participants will mount, shape and finish the wooden “scales” that comprise the handle of a fixed-blade Sarge hunting knife. For the beverage caddy class, students build a handled carrier with spots for six bottles and a bottle opener on the side. Techniques include forming matching shapes, curve-cutting and making dowel joints. In the pen-turning class, participants will turn and finish a wooden pen body on the lathe and assemble it with a Manhattan-style hardware kit. Those choosing the bowl-turning class will turn a wooden blank into a finished bowl, using a bowl gouge and other basic lathe tools.
The cost of the knife-making class is $45. It’s been done in previous Make and Take seasons, and Ekman says it’s also ranked as the customer favorite. “We try to offer new projects on a regular basis, but keep the most popular ones,” he adds.
Bottle caddy and bowl-turning courses cost $35 each, and turning a pen is $25. Previously, Rockler offered courses on turning the handles of pizza cutters and ice cream scoops. The classes were enthusiastically received, which has prompted Rockler to offer bowl- and pen-turning options this time.
“The newly added turning classes will be exciting — it’s really fun to give folks the chance to experience woodworking on a lathe,” Ekman says. “Our bowl-turning class has quickly sold out in several stores.”
To learn more details and register for classes at your closest Rockler store, click here. And if you happen to miss this month’s Make and Take sessions, Ekman says Rockler plans to offer more gift-making classes this fall.
This same link also will direct you to the free plans and videos related to Make and Take projects, if you’d like to build the projects from your home shop instead of attend a class. “We encourage all experienced woodworkers to use these resources to pass along their love for woodworking to someone new,” Ekman says.
If you’ve considering getting into woodworking but have hesitated, due to lack of tools or experience, this could be your month to take the plunge and go home with something useful and beautiful you’ve made. “This is the first woodworking experience for a lot of the people signing up,” Ekman says. “We find these classes make a good introduction to basic woodworking, and they’ll help build your confidence.”