Country Workshops' ladderback chair making school begins by splitting out posts and rungs from a freshly cut red oak log (below). The seating material is traditional Shaker tape.
COUNTRY WORKSHOPS ...The woodworking school that focuses on traditional craftsmanship with hand tools. Started in 1978 by Drew Langsner.
Learn Green Woodworking
at Country Workshops
At Country Workshops hands-on experience, tradition and wood science are combined into 5 and 6-day courses built around the making of carefully selected projects. We currently offer woodworking classes in Ladderback (post-and-rung) Chairmaking, Rustic Windsor Chairmaking, and Carving Bowls and Spoons. The small classes that we prefer to teach -- which we call tutorials -- are limited to 4 registered students, plus our summer intern. Country Workshops tuition includes course materials, your private room, farm fresh meals prepared by Louise Langsner, and use of specialty tools for each course. There's no need to spend hundreds of dollars for special tools before taking our classes. (We sell many of these tools through the Country Workshops Store.)
In a Country Workshops green woodworking tutorial, instruction often begins by using a froe to rive project materials from a freshly felled hardwood log. Project work is often done with a drawknife and spokeshave while seated at a shaving horse. Our woodworking seminars also teach the skills of wood turning, carving and hewing with a carving axe. In other courses, air-dried lumber is used when appropriate. We only use locally grown, native woods -- both hard and soft.
Our well-known chair school includes our classic Ladderback Chairmaking course (also called a ìpost-and-rung chairî), and our tutorial in Rustic Windsor chairmaking . (These folk art chairs are sometimes known as "Welsh stick chairs.") The focus for Carving Bowls and Spoons is knife, axe and gouge techniques for making kitchen treen and serving wares, all with hand tools.
2016 classes will be co-taught by Drew Langsner and Kenneth Kortemeier. Drew and Louise Langsner started Country Workshops in 1978. His books include The Chairmaker's Workshop, Country Woodcraft, Handmade, A Logbuilder's Handbook and Green Woodworking. He has also taught woodworking classes in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Japan.
Kenneth Kortemeier joins our teaching staff this year. Ken was our summer intern in 1995. Two years later he apprenticed with chairmaker John Brown in Wales. From 1996-2002 Ken was a staff instructor at Outward Bound, Hurricane Island, Maine. Ken taught chairmaking, carving woodenware, and traditional wooden boatbuilding at The Carpenter's Boatshop (in Pemaquid, Maine) from 2003 - 2013.
The Country Workshops Store - Specialty hand tools for the traditional woodworker. This is where you can purchase a high-quality riving froe, our Swedish steel drawknife, and even a cooper's hollowing knife. Windsor chair tools include our Windsor chairmaker's inshave, and a Windsor chair adze, both designed by Drew Langsner.
We are the North American distributors for two small and very special family run toolmaking shops in Sweden -- H. Karlsson Klensmide AB and S. Djärv Hantverk AB. (We have represented Hans Karlsson since 1991, and Svante Djärv beginning 1995.) Chairmakers will appreciate our straight and flat drawknife and the new 5mm
(3/16") chairmker's mortise chisel. For carvers we offer a range of gouges for sculptors, bowl carving tools and spoon carving tools, including several versions of a straight blade sloyd knife, and spoon carver's hook knives.
Our gouges from Hans Karlsson are made of Swedish ball bearing steel, which is noteworthy for being extremely tough and holding a keen edge. These include a range of heavy duty, double hooped gouges, fine paring gouges, and our crank-shaft dog leg gouges.
We offer hewing axes from Svante Djärv, Hans Karlsson and Gransfors Bruks. We also feature the Langsner designed froe, with 12-inch blade for chairmakers and general work, and a smaller 8-inch fersion for basket makers. These are now produced by Lie-Nielsen Toolworks. We sell two versions of a contemporary shaving horse -- we call them "shaving mules" -- that combine many innovative features; a fully adjustable work support for height and slope angle, sliding upholstered seating, a comfort driven foot treadle (makes work much easier!) and many other refinements. The mules are made by chairmaker Tom Donahey. Plans for our shaving mule are now available for no charge, as a pdf link. We can ship a mule to you by UPS. Assembly takes about 10 minutes.
Country Workshops project plans, books and videos are related to the courses that we offer. These include Drew Langsner's author's reprint edition of The Chairmaker's Workshop and Drew's well regarded book Green Woodworking.
CountryWorkshops' documentary videos featuring great master craftsmen are now available to view for free on our You Tube channel. These are Swiss Cooperage (with Ruedi Kohler) and Carved Swedish Bowls (with Bengt Lidstrom.) DVD's currently available from the CW Store: Make a Chair From a Tree (J. Alexander), Carving Swedish Woodenware
(Jögge Sundqvist), and two with Peter Follansbee -- 17th Century New England Carving and Carving Wooden Spoons.
You can download a printable version of our latest catalog.