Where traditional tools and techniques, meet modern sensibilities and design.
The opportunity to develop a foundation in the fine art of cabinet making.
Semester 1 - Artisan:October 10th, 2017 to December 15th, 2017 - January 2nd, 2017 to March 10th, 2017 - April 3rd, 2017 to June 9th, 2017.
Semester 2 - Maker: January 2nd, 2017 to March 10th, 2017.
Semester 3 - Designer: April 3rd, 2017 to June 9th, 2017.
My ten weeks with the UW Artisan Program have been an extremely enjoyable and enriching experience; definitely one of the very best of my life and one that I will treasure forever. I am usually a self-learner, but what a difference this course made for me! I would never have thought we would be able to produce pieces of such quality and complexity in such a short 10 weeks; but Tom masterfully broke everything down into small parts and under his and Justin's supervision and encouragement they made us believe we could do it...and we did it. I really loved the people at the school; the students' wildly different backgrounds and common passion for woodworking resulted in a wonderfully fun, creative and supportive team dynamics; the teachers' generosity, experience, and enthusiasm skillfully lead us through a thorough, fully hands-on, tour of all important aspects and techniques of traditional woodworking and left us confident we can tackle any project we may chose to do next. My many thanks and gratitude go to everyone at UW Toronto for gifting me with such a rewarding and memorable experience; I will sorely miss you.
From the historic methods described by André Jacob Roubo in the 1700’s, you’ll study tools and techniques used centuries ago. We’ll then fast forward three hundred years, and find inspiration and motivation from the impractical teachings of James Krenov.
You'll begin your journey with the Artisan Program and we're now offering entry points at three different times of the year.
For students who may want to do multiple Programs consecutively, we offer an October entry. You can then proceed into the Maker and Designer Programs from there.
For students who wish to only attend the Artisan Program, you can also join us in October, or one of our two other entry times in January and/or April.
The Artisan Program is intensive, 9-5 Monday to Friday, with Thursday nights and Saturday afternoon shop times delegated for self guided learning.
During these first 10 weeks, you’ll discover the tools, materials, methods and techniques we use here at The Unplugged Woodshop. The fundamental skills involved in furniture making, using only hand tools, will be yours to discover, practice and develop. Through a deliberate and methodical approach to working wood with your hands, you’ll gain valuable insight into the process and techniques used in the fine art of cabinetmaking.
Well, what can I say about these past ten weeks at the Unplugged Woodshop?
I started the Artisan Program as a total beginner: I had never used a jack plane (nor any other plane) before and I barely knew how to spell the word "chisel" and what dovetails look like. After completing the program, I quite feel I got acquainted with the basics of "unplugged" woodworking and definitely gained a lot of practical skills and knowledge (...but the spelling, maybe :-P).
I liked a lot the way the course was organized, covering all the sequential steps from sharpening theory (followed of course by a lot of daily practice!) and the making of our own hand-tools equipment, all the way to build a complete cabinet with coopered door, parquetry back panel, shelves and drawers, wax and shellac finishing, etc.
It's been interesting and precious to work alongside the other students, each experimenting possible variations and solutions and ending up with a very unique piece of furniture ultimately different from all the others.
The course has been intensive and sometimes very demanding; the ambiance at the workshop is cool and friendly and relaxed, while the projects are challenging as week by week they always involve different and new skills, tools and techniques. Unexpected troubles and mistakes happened often, but that's the way you learn and I felt both Tom and Justin have always been there to offer sound advice with amazing patience and helpfulness.
I can say that for everyone who feels like working his ass off getting involved in a day to day hands-on learning and sharing process, the programs at the UW may be the right opportunity to learn (and actually make) a lot.
Semester 2: Maker
Developing your skills through the fine art of cabinet making using only hand tools. We’ll be working again, using many of the tools and techniques we introduced in our first semester. This time round, you’ll be working on a bookshelf, based on the “Where the Good Books Go” design featured in, Made by Hand.
Ten weeks in the Artisan Program was a remarkable life experience. To learn, grow and create in the Unplugged Woodshop was to live a lifelong dream. The learning and development were cumulative and exponential. I love woodworking and it was a pleasure to take the craft to the next level. It was not an easy course: physically, mentally or spiritually because it challenges the limits of the individual's abilities and capacity. I pushed way beyond the level I started at and greatly expanded all my skills and resources. It was not a freebie - the results came with work and effort. Lots of it - but this was the place to do it. The space was fantastic. The people were fantastic. The environment is motivational and inspirational. The neighbourhood is livable, alive and fun. Toronto is an inviting, accessible and friendly city. This is a great place to come and indulge a passion. I put my heart into the program and I’m so happy I made the investment. These skills will be the foundation of all the work I do from here out. I feel prepared, motivated, inspired and confident to pursue the craft I love and want to be involved with for the rest of my life. I spent ten weeks working wood six days a week by hand. Now that I’m home I want to work wood more than ever. The queue of projects in my minds eye continues to grow. That is a great thing - a thing that makes me happy. Tom, Justin and Richard are the best. They cheerfully meet you wherever you are and give whatever it takes to help you learn and develop with your project. I loved the experience I had at the Unplugged Woodshop and strongly recommend this to anyone who loves to work with wood.
Semester 3: Designer
You are at the point when it’s time to tap into your creative mind and design your own cabinet. Developing a form and style all your own, you’ll learn about options, choices, decisions, challenges, failures and rewards as you create a unique project. We’ll be there to guide and assist you, but rest assured, this is going to be a project you can truly call your own.