Woodworking Certificate

Yestermorrow's 11-week Woodworking Certificate program is designed to give amateurs and aspiring professionals a solid grounding in woodworking and furniture- making techniques, led by Yestermorrow's talented and nationally recognized faculty.

Skills learned in the program include design and drafting, wood selection and preparation, joinery, traditional hand skills, sharpening, power tool techniques, and finishing. The curriculum has a strong focus on the integration of design in the woodworking process, part of Yestermorrow's core philosophy of design/build.

The Certificate begins with an analysis of trees and the wood they produce, an overview of felling and milling practices, and an introduction to the tactile essence of working with green wood. The program then moves into the realm of Cabinetry, in which students become oriented to the tools of the woodshop and basic principles of wood movement and layout. Additional program segments include Beginning Furnituremaking, Traditional Handtool Chairmaking, Joinery, Boxmaking, Care & Repair of Shop Machines, Small Scale Design/Build, Intermediate Furniture Techniques, and Wood Finishes. The program culminates in a two-week studio where each student will design and build a piece of his or her own choosing.

Classes are generally scheduled 9am-5pm Monday through Friday, with some occasional weekend shop days and evening lectures/shop time.

All experience levels are welcome; however we recommend that absolute beginners complete one of Yestermorrow’s introductory furniture classes (Intro to the Woodshop, Powertools for Women or Boxmaking) or an equivalent class or training program prior to enrolling.

Course Descriptions – exact dates and instructors subject to change


Welcome Day

Harvest and Mill Your Own Lumber
This course will provide an overview of methods and options for small scale sustainable harvesting and wood production. The bulk of the course will be live demonstrations with emphasis on the variety of considerations at every step of the process. Methods of felling, skidding, and sawmilling will be presented. Discussions will include everything from woodlot assessment and management, harvesting logs for lumber on a small scale, building with materials from one’s own woodlot, purchasing a sawmill, and building with fresh cut green lumber.

Traditional Hand Tool Chairmaking 1
In this segment, students will begin the process of making a two-slat ladderback chair from an oak log using centuries old tools and techniques. We will begin by splitting out rough parts using wedges and a froe and shaping the fresh green wood with a drawknife and shaving horse. We’ll return to this project later in the Certificate program, when we will complete the back posts, slats, and weave the seat.


Traditional Hand Tool Chairmaking II
Continuing on the work we began in Week 1, we will steam bend the back posts and slats and we’ll cut slat mortises with a hammer and chisel. Mortise and tenon joints will be carefully sized and kiln dried so as to create a virtually indestructible joint. Finally, we will weave the chair's seat using shaker tape.

Shop Safety


Joinery/Box Making/Sharpening

Whether you are crafting a picture frame, table or chair, you need to know how to join the pieces in a strong and durable way. This workshop will teach you how to hand-cut mortises, tenons, dovetails, miters, rabbets, dadoes, sliding dovetails, box joints and more, and to utilize those skills in the context of making a variety of boxes of your own design. We will use both hand tools and power tools and will discuss the merits of each. Focus will be on accurate layout and careful cutting to achieve a perfect fit. Students will also learn the basic steps of sharpening hand tools, with a focus on chisels and hand planes.

Beginning Furniture Making
Students will delve more deeply into the how's and why's of woodworking, the use of hand tools, and the concepts of joinery. Demonstrations and discussions will supplement hands-on learning as students each build their own one-drawer end table. Learn to edge, join, and glue boards; lay out joints; cut tapered legs; join rails to legs with mortise and tenon joinery; make breadboards; and fit, join, and make a drawer.


Veneer and Solid Wood Cabinetry

During this week, students will be introduced to the process of making cabinetry utilizing a combination of solid wood and veneer. Veneer offers a wide variety of available patterns, textures, figures and colors. Students will learn about the bandsaw and how to prepare it to resaw veneer from solid lumber, and how to use a veneer press and other strategies for pressing the panels that they create. Other topics covered will include miter joints with hidden finger-joined tenons, adjustable and fixed shelving, and hanging and trimming doors. Students will each build a small carcass with a frame and panel door, and veneered front and back panels.


Design/Build Practices
The process of design/build depends upon the relationship between desires and constraints, and the creative navigation of the tension between the two. This segment aims to immerse students in the design/build process by demanding the creation of a unique piece of furniture while grappling with a single, yet significant restraint; the use of one (and only one) sheet of Baltic Birch plywood. Through drawing, modelmaking and full-scale construction, each student in the class will develop a design of their choosing, taking it from concept to finished project. Along the way, we'll learn basic design techniques as well as a variety of conventional and not-so-conventional construction techniques, with the goal of developing a set of skills that can be applied to projects at any scale, and with any materials. We'll also explore the unique properties and unexpected possibilities of plywood as a material.


Advanced Woodworking

Through a series of demonstrations, lectures, and practice exercises, students will expand their skill sets and design/build repertoire as they learn a variety of advanced woodworking techniques. Topics will include lamination (regular, tapered, split, and free form), compression steam bending, lathe techniques including off-center turning, upholstery, tambour door construction, and more. We'll also dig deeper into the design/build process, exploring the importance of full scale drawings and template making, and the continued search for inspiration. During the week, students will design their projects for the upcoming Design/Build studio, doing material studies, joinery samples, research and development, models, mock-ups, and jig/form creation, ultimately presenting their design proposals to the group for feedback.


Design/Build Studio

In this two week “practicum,” students will design and build one or more pieces of furniture to completion, with ongoing instructor support. The Design/Build Studio provides an opportunity for students to bring together the skills they've learned to this point, and continue to push into new areas, as well. Numerous instructors will participate, adding the dynamism of varied viewpoints and areas of expertise.

Week 11

Boat Building: Group Project

The Woodworking Certificate culminates in the final week with a group boat building project. Students will work together in small teams to build a skin on frame style boat and learn about the joinery involved within the fabrication of wooden boats. Topics will include lofting boat plans, wood selection, scarf joinery, how to join compound curves, lashing with artificial sinew, stretching and shrinking skin, finishing, paddle/oar making, and much more!  

Last Day

Shop clean-up/Presentations/Graduation, (Friday)

To Apply
The Woodworking Certificate program is limited to 8 students to ensure a small student- to-teacher ratio. If there is still space in the program after the application deadline, applications are considered on a rolling basis. Applicants should expect to hear within 2 weeks of the application deadline or, if applying after the deadline, within 2 weeks of submitting their application.

The Woodworking Certificate is a comprehensive 11-week program and includes tuition for all the courses listed above, including 2 weeks of individual studio time to design and build a project. Tuition is $9,500 plus food and lodging. A $300 materials fee covers materials for all projects except those built in Small Scale Design/Build and the Final Design/Build Studio. Material costs in these two classes are dependent upon the individual project designs of each student, but it can be expected that additional material costs will total between $300 and $800.

What to Bring
Students in the Certificate Program must bring the following tools and items. If you have questions about brands or details, the Program Director will be happy to confer with you in advance of the program.
•        6” combo square
•        6” flexible rule
•        4-6 quality chisels
•        12’ small tape measure
•        block plane
•        marking knife
•        Japanese saw
•        combo sharpening stone
•        eye protection
•        ear protection
•        comfortable, closed-toe shoes to wear in the shop
•        notepad/notebook
•        water bottle
•        camera (recommended)

Life at Yestermorrow
Yestermorrow Design/Build School is a vibrant, creative environment nestled in the rural heart of the Mad River Valley. Our campus is surrounded by a multitude of recreational opportunities. We are also a half hour drive from Montpelier and one hour from Burlington.

Waitsfield and Warren are fully equipped with grocery stores, banks, a pharmacy, a local movie theater and a selection of restaurants and watering holes / local music venues.

We encourage you to contribute to life at Yestermorrow by bringing along reading material, musical instruments, games, and other hobbies or forms of entertainment that you would like to share.

Program Withdrawal Policy
A 20% deposit will secure your place in the program. The remainder will be due 3 weeks prior to the start date of the program. If you cancel your enrollment at least one month prior to the class start date, your deposit will be forfeited, and any other payments will be refunded. If you cancel your enrollment within one month of the start of class, your deposit will be forfeited, and the remainder of the class fee will be held as a credit to be used on a future class. If you cancel your enrollment within 48 hours of the beginning of class, all fees will be forfeited.

Financial Aid

You can learn more about financial aid options at yestermorrow.org/financialaid

Contact Us
If you have further questions about the Woodworking Certificate, please contact: Rachel Wylie, Student Services Coordinator

 802-496-5545 ext 19, rachel@yestermorrow.org

7865 Main Street, Waitsfield VT 05673 ᐧ info@yestermorrow.org ᐧ 802-496-5545