Are you interested in woodworking but don’t have the tools or skills yet to really get started? Maybe you’d love to give handmade gifts this holiday season but need some instruction. Either way, newbies, take heart! Next month, your local Rockler store can help. All 34 retail locations will be offering “Make and Take” classes where you can create a unique wooden gift, from start to finish, in 2 to 3 hours. Stores will provide the necessary tools, supplies and know-how, plus the required hearing and eye protection. No woodworking experience is necessary.
Projects will include a fixed-blade hunting knife; an ice cream scoop, pizza cutter or bottle opener; a wooden beverage caddy; and a decorative wooden luminary.
October’s “Make and Take” program is a followup to an inaugural series of “Make and Take” classes that took place last April, as part of National Woodworking Month. “Our goal was to get new people into woodworking,” says Scott Ekman, Rockler’s vice president of marketing. “Those classes were so successful that we’ve decided to do it again this fall with a holiday gift theme.”
The ice cream scoop and knife projects were part of the spring curriculum, and Ekman says they were the most popular offerings, so they’re being reprised for October. “We’ve also seen a lot of luminaries and bottle caddies show up on Pinterest lately, so we thought they’d be of interest, too.”
Next month’s courses will be limited to three to six participants per class, in order to allow for lots of one-on-one help. A different class will be offered every week, and each class will focus on a single project type. Cost to attend the ice cream scoop/pizza cutter/bottle opener class is $25, plus the price of the specific metal hardware kit you choose. Tuition for the three other classes is $35, which includes all project materials.
Aside from taking a home a gift that’s ready for wrapping paper, “Make and Take” will also give you the chance to develop some core woodworking skills.
For instance, the focus of the ice cream scoop/pizza cutter/bottle opener class is on basic spindle-turning techniques to make the wooden handle. Woodturning is a growing interest area among woodworkers of all skills levels. Besides a lathe and a few basic turning tools, turning often doesn’t require other machinery or previous woodworking experience.
“Turning a handle for these kitchen gadgets is a pretty easy first project,” Ekman says. “It allows participants to be as creative as they want to be with the shape, and the threaded insert that comes with these three hardware kits makes them interchangeable.”
In the six-pack beverage caddy class, you’ll practice measuring and marking, curve-cutting and building dowel joints. The luminary class will help you gain confidence at the router table and scroll saw, making decorative cutouts and then assembling the project with lock-miter corner joints. Or, develop your sanding and shaping skills while you’re forming wooden scales for the knife project.
If you don’t live near a Rockler store, or just want to order the hardware kits and build the projects in your home shop instead, that’s an option too. Free plans and overview videos for October’s “Make and Take” offerings are also available online at rockler.com/makeandtake.
Classes are sure to fill quickly. Find out the course schedule for your local store, and sign up to reserve your spot, by clicking here.
“Giving or receiving a handmade gift can make the holidays extra special and memorable,” Ekman says. “With the holidays just around the corner, Rockler wants to give everyone the chance to do this — even if they don’t have the tools or skills.”