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 our woodworking school hands-on experience and wood technology are combined in 5 and 6-day courses built around the making of carefully selected projects. We offer woodworking classes in making ladderback (post-and-rung) chairs, rustic Windsor chairs, carving bowls and spoons (sloyd craft), basic furniture making (Japanese woodworking and 17th century joinery), coopering and willow basketry.
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, steamed wood bending, carving and hewing. Japanese woodworking is another course that we have offered since 1983. Use of our high-quality specialty tools is included in the tuition for most of our woodworking courses. We typically provide each student with a shaving horse, drawknife, Windsor chair inshave, Windsor chair adze, bowl adze, sloyd knife, travisher, splitting froe and other tools as needed for each project. We sell many of these tools through the Country Workshops Store.
In a Country Workshops green woodworking class, instruction often begins by using a froe to rive project materials from a freshly felled hardwood log. 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 the traditional ladderback chair class (also called a "post-and-rung chair"), a post-and-rung rocking chair course, and our rustic Windsor chair class. (These folk art chairs are also known as "Welsh stick chairs.") Carving classes include Carving Bowls and Spoons, and the decorative carving utilized in our special course in 17th century joinery. We also offer classes in Coopering, the traditional craft of making cylindrical staved containers with interlocked wooden hooping.
Courses in the summer woodworking school are taught by guest instructors and Drew Langsner. Our 2011 instructors will be Carl Swensson (teaching both Japanese Woodworking and Coopering), Peter Follansbee (Make a 17th Century Carved Box), and Tom Donahey (Post-and-Rung Rocking Chair.) Drew Langsner will be teaching Ladderback Chairmaking and Carving Bowls and Spoons. Tuition for these courses includes materials, our rather famous meals, lodging and use of specialty tools. There's no need to invest hundreds of dollars in tools before taking our classes. Exception - Japanese Woodworking, where tool preparation is an integral part of the course. Summer courses average 6-8 students.
Fall and winter woodworking classes - which we call "tutorials" - are taught by Drew Langsner. These woodworking seminars are limited to 4 students. Tuition includes materials, all meals, your private room, and use of the specialty tools for each class.
We also offer a series of spring weekend courses. Drew Langsner teaches Bowl Carving and Make a Windsor Stool. Louise Langsner is the instructor for Willow Basketry. As with our other classes, tuition includes materials, your room and meals, and use of specialty tools.
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 a cooper's hollowing knife. Windsor chair tools include our Windsor chairmaker's inshave, and a Windsor chair adze, both designed by Drew Langsner and made by Hans Karlsson in Sweden. Ladderback chair makers 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 famous for being tough and holding a keen edge. These include a range of heavy duty, double hooped gouges, fine paring gouges and our very special dog leg gouges. We also offer hewing axes, from Svante Djarve and Gransfors Bruks.
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 a new edition of John Brown's book Welsh Stick Chairs. Our DVD selection includes Country Workshops productions - Swiss Cooperage and Carved Swedish Bowls. We also stock John Alexander's video Make a Chair From a Tree and Jögge Sundqvist's Carving Swedish Woodenware. (This 1988 Taunton Press classic was originally recorded at Country Workshops.) Our selection of wood working project plans includes: a detailed 12-page packet on making Tom Donahey's innovative shaving horse (which we call a "shaving mule") and full size plans for Drew Langsnerís chair designs - a low- or high-back Rustic Windsor, Drew's Hearth Chair, and a new rustic Windsor settee.
To receive a printed bulletin, contact us by phone (828 656 2280) or e-mail Drew Langsner.
You can also download a printable version of our latest catalog.