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Elevating my ability - on-line courses? Rob Cosman?

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AJB Temple

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I am taking a sabbatical from most of my business activities, mainly to give me a mental break and to allow me to finish renovating my house, which is taking far too long.

Most of my woodwork in the last 5 years has been oak timber framing, making oak doors and frames, laying oak floors, making a few windows: that kind of thing. However, I would like to elevate my ability to produce high quality pieces. I used to make guitars (acoustic and electric) - but I know the weaknesses in my so called "fine" work and the bodges I used to overcome errors and slips. So, I am not a novice but I am not an expert by any means.

I could go on a furniture or box making course and bring my own tools I suppose.

I have also been contemplating the Rob Cosman on-line courses which are $35 a month for the full package. These seem the most compressive on line resource available.

Does anyone have any recommendations that I could check out?

Thanks, AJ
 

samhay

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Devil's advocate:
Do you need educating, or would practice suffice - when did you last put some time aside to build a box or piece of furniture?
 

Droogs

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When you say high quality pieces, do you mean fine furniture such as Beidemeyer, Louis XIV, Jugenstihl or Roentegen or Greene and Greene type of stuff? Is it going to be plain or carved, have lots of inlay or veneering, marquetry etc. I supposed I'm asking is it the actual construction side of the furniture or the decorative side that you are looking for? ie any of these:
 

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Droogs

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I ask as there are courses for covering all these types of things, such as Mary may for carving and Paul Schurch for marquetry to name a few
 

AJB Temple

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Fair questions.

I could practice more - but don't know what I don't know, and I want to avoid practicing my mistakes.

I am not interested in marquetry (I know how to cut and lay abalone and inlays for guitar tops and necks but do not plan to do any more such work - I think I've made my last guitar).

I would like to learn how to veneer to a high standard.

I would like to be able to make boxes and small pieces of useful furniture to the highest standard - ie really precision work with no visible mistakes. However, I like simple, elegant designs, not overly ornate.

Had not thought about carving. Open minded about that. I did a course in Cremona for a couple of weeks a few years ago, which taught the basics of violin making (it was not a novice course - you had to have some idea to start with). During that we had to set out and carve scrolls. I did about 4. That is the sum total of my carving, ever.
 

Cheshirechappie

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There's an awful lot available for free on YouTube. There's also The English Woodworker, Paul Sellers, Matt Estlea, Shannon Rogers and quite a few others with free web content and paid courses. Have a rummage around the free stuff before committing money to online courses.

Another possibility is a week or so 'improver' course with one of the established designer-makers such as Waters and Acland, Marc Fish, the aforementioned David Charlesworth, Peter Sefton, Chris Tribe, John Lloyd and probably several others.

Enough googling for a long, dark evening there, methinks!
 

woodbloke66

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Cheshirechappie":1etzjkck said:
There's an awful lot available for free on YouTube. There's also The English Woodworker, Paul Sellers, Matt Estlea, Shannon Rogers and quite a few others with free web content and paid courses. Have a rummage around the free stuff before committing money to online courses.

Another possibility is a week or so 'improver' course with one of the established designer-makers such as Waters and Acland, Marc Fish, the aforementioned David Charlesworth, Peter Sefton, Chris Tribe, John Lloyd and probably several others.

Enough googling for a long, dark evening there, methinks!
UToob is a good source, but there's a lot of mediocre stuff on there and some of it's downright dangerous, as recent threads have indicated. Nothing in my view beats a decent one on one course though some I fancy are a lot more expensive than others....worth checking out. Chris Tribe of this parish is retiring soon so his courses will no doubt cease to run very shortly - Rob
 

thetyreman

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to me it sounds like you're probably a lot better than you think, guitar making is definitely advanced level stuff, especially acoustic guitars, I am surprised you feel like you still need to know more, the box making course by andrew crawford looks like a good choice, probably the best in the UK, I'd like to go myself at some point.
 

Cheshirechappie

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woodbloke66":kwrx1dgy said:
UToob is a good source, but there's a lot of mediocre stuff on there and some of it's downright dangerous, as recent threads have indicated. Nothing in my view beats a decent one on one course though some I fancy are a lot more expensive than others....worth checking out. Chris Tribe of this parish is retiring soon so his courses will no doubt cease to run very shortly - Rob
I agree wholeheartedly, Rob. The OP has been posting on the forum for some time, and clearly has more than enough nous to tell the difference between sound techniques demonstrated by good craftsmen, and entertainment content posted by career YouTubers. (I try to avoid the latter as much as I can - life's too short!)
 

CHJ

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AJB Temple":6wop9yt5 said:
…….
I could practice more - but don't know what I don't know, and I want to avoid practicing my mistakes.
....
As mentioned by others; given your existing abilities and work standard I would say attending a resident short course of instruction with a professional would be most likely to highlight any 'what you don't know' aspects and point you more directly into improved or alternate methods.

Perhaps as you are in the south east; incorporating it into a family break elsewhere in the UK.

I only have first hand observation of the standards achieved by students in one (reasonably local to me) such establishment, and for me and I believe to most wood workers they are beyond critique.
 

AJB Temple

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Thanks for the suggestions. Since I've got flu at the moment, I have ample time for You Tubing, which is how I came across Too Cosman, who is quite no nonsense and clear.

My problem (as I see it) is I am a bit of a jack of all trades. I've had no professional training (in woodwork. I can do quite good work, but I am slow and sometimes make stupid mistakes. Today for example I watched a video on how to set out and cut dovetails by hand. Now, I've cut plenty of dovetails, tapered dt's and so on (as used in setting some guitar components), but I had never seen the technique of setting out that allows for the thickness of the saw kerf. So that was one of the things I didn't know that I didn't know. And boy, was he quicker than me.

I did look at the Chris Tribe courses before Christmas, but he is retiring at the end of February, and I would like some continuity. I also have to fit this in around getting my house finished. And I need to do a bench refurb (my main bench is pretty rough now after years of abuse) and make some new jigs, shooting boards etc.
 

AJB Temple

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Thanks Chas. I am prepared to set some time aside for a short course or two, but most of the stuff I have found so far is on the basic side - the good ones are 12 weeks or upwards and I don't have that kind of time at a stretch. Also, it is only for me: I am not interested in selling my work or doing it professionally. Any suggestions?
 

woodbloke66

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AJB Temple":2rgjsu3f said:
Thanks Chas. I am prepared to set some time aside for a short course or two, but most of the stuff I have found so far is on the basic side - the good ones are 12 weeks or upwards and I don't have that kind of time at a stretch. Also, it is only for me: I am not interested in selling my work or doing it professionally. Any suggestions?
If you're within striking distance of Andover, my pal David Stephenson (who recently joined UKW) does a very good weekend course using solid timber. No affiliation or remuneration of any sort coming my way btw for a recommendation. See below - Rob

http://www.stephenson-furniture.co.uk/courses.html
 
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