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Woodworking Classes



The following class topics are meant as a guide line for beginners.
If there’s something specific you’d like to learn about, and you don’t see it listed here,

Don’t hesitate to ask ~
I’d be happy to customize a class for you !




 I’m currently working on plans to open a wood working school in Toronto, Canada.

The Unplugged Woodshop, Toronto

A brick & mortar school of hand crafts.

Coming in the winter of 2015/16

Stay tuned for more details.

TOM FIDGEN, July 2015.


I sought out Tom because I wanted a VERY introductory introduction to woodworking. I am a visual artist but had absolutely no experience with wood. Tom prepared and executed a very informative and clear two hour session that catered to exactly what I needed. He pre-empted any questions by giving full explanations and even talking about local suppliers and appropriate tools for a brand new woodworker. I was worried I wouldn’t ask the right questions but Tom guided the session perfectly and there was never a lull or wasted moment. The time flew by and was hands on and informative. 
Thank you again, Tom!


An Introduction to the ‘Hand Tool Only’ Woodshop – 2 hours.  $100.

This class is designed with the curious beginner in mind.

Are you interested in wood working with hand tools?
Maybe you’ve purchased or inherited a hand plane or hand saw only to find that it sits and gathers dust on a shelf somewhere instead of in your hands, making shavings.
If you’d like to learn more about working wood using only your hands, your heart and your mind, then this is two hours well spent.

Come into my work shop and learn not only how, but why, I use ‘only hand tools’ to create fine furniture.
Learn how a ‘hand tool only’ work shop can be set up in a small urban space where real estate may be a premium.
Discover the tools used and the material choices available.

Take the first  steps along the journey of wood craft and discover for yourself if the hand tool only wood shop if for you.



An Introduction to Hand Planes – 2 hours. $100.

“… my simple message is that if you’re going to approach woodworking with sensitivity and maybe refinement, planes are a good way to begin.” – James Krenov

Find out what hand planes you’ll need and how to work with them.
What’s the first plane you should have?
What plane is best suited for each application?
Should you build or buy your first hand plane?

In this introduction to hand planes, you’ll get an extensive overview of hand planes and how to use them.
You’ll walk away with a better understanding of how they work and how to use them- how to set them up and how to maintain them on a day to day basis.


A Beginners Guide to Sharpening – 2 hours. $100.

The best hand tools in the world are useless in the hands of the wood worker who doesn’t know how to sharpen them.
If you’re new to wood working or have been struggling with hand tools but aren’t sure why, the answer may be sharpening.
Sharpening hand tools is probably the biggest hurdle wood workers face and although there has been much written on the subject, it can be a frustrating skill to learn and master.

Join me in my work shop where I’ll teach you how to easily and effectively sharpen your hand tools and how to maintain them.
I’ll show you the tools you’ll need and the techniques I use.
Learn the difference between water stones, oil stones, diamond stones, what honing guides are best and what to avoid.
There are so many jigs and ‘tricks’ out there that the entire process can seem intimidating to the beginner.
We’ll change that in this two hour class and you’ll walk away with a better understanding of what a sharp hand tool can do.


Hand cut Dovetails – 2 hours. $100.

Dovetail joinery has become ‘the hallmark’ of fine furniture making and in this class we’ll cover all of the steps needed to make a through dovetail joint.
We’ll look at the tools required, the choices in design and I’ll teach you how to lay out and saw this age-old joint using only hand tools.



If you already have experience with hand tools and wood working, but would like to take your skills to the next level, then these classes and topics may be of interest to you.
Custom topics and class times are also available- please don’t hesitate to ask!


Advanced Hand cut Dovetails – 3 hours. $150.

In this class we’ll take the art of hand cut dovetails to the next level. You’ll learn how to lay-out and execute half blind dovetails and I’ll teach you how to incorporate them into your work.
From carcase construction to traditional drawer making this is one of the most used joints in furniture making.
You’ll leave this class with the knowledge and confidence to execute these fine joinery techniques in your own work and the tools you’ll need along the way.


Mortise and Tenon Joinery – 3 hours. $150.

From classic timber frame construction to cabinet making, mortise and tenon joinery is used throughout.
Learn the variations of the classic form of joinery.
From the basics to through-mortise and tenons to wedged-mortise and tenons you’ll learn which one to use where and why !
There are many options when designing and executing this joint and I’ll show you how to implement these techniques into your own projects.
I’ll teach you how to lay out and execute this joint using only hand tools and share some tips to make the process a little easier and accurate.
This class is a must for anyone who would like to build furniture using only hand tools.


Advanced Joinery Techniques – 3 hours. $150.

Successful furniture making starts with dependable joinery.
In this class you’ll learn about the options we have when designing furniture; what joinery works where and which one is best for certain applications.
You’ll discover the difference between a rabbet and a dado. See how simple bridle joints and half-laps can simplify construction.
Learn how joinery can become decorative elements in your furniture designs.



I’m available for longer class times with advanced topics, projects and/or techniques.
If you’d like to set up an ongoing weekly class schedule with me or if you’d like to spend a FULL DAY with me in my wood shop then please inquire- I’m open to your suggestions.
Let me know what you’d like to learn and we can make it happen!

Working along side me here in the Unplugged Woodshop for longer periods of time will give you a sense of what it’s like to design and build custom furniture in a ‘hand tool only’ work shop.
Advanced topics such as tool making, veneering, curved and round furniture elements, resawing by hand and furniture design are all possible in the hand tool only wood shop.
I welcome you to contact me to discuss any questions and ideas you may have.
Thank you.






“Hi Tom-

Thanks so much for a great day yesterday.  I learned a lot about how to flatten a board and it was great to practice instead of just watching a video.  I hope to book some more time with you in the future. ”


“Tom, Saturday was an incredible experience for me- I learned more in four hours then I did in four years of trial and error! Thanks again for the invaluable insight and allowing me to come into your ‘unplugged woodshop’. I can’t wait for my next class.”

Dave from Burlington

“Tom, thank you for all of your help on Saturday. What you showed and taught me in a few hours would have taken me weeks – if ever – to discover on my own. I was particularly pleased with your pragmatic approach, how you focused on my needs and most of all your patience when I couldn’t get it quite right. I will be in touch to book another session.”

Paul Charlton, Toronto

I took a ‘class’ with Tom this past weekend and really had a blast. After several previous discussions through e-mail, it was decided that I would spend a few hours on a Saturday in Tom’s basement, learning some of the finer points in the use of hand-planing and dovetailing. To say I picked up a few pointers would be an understatement!

We went through some of the techniques behind quickly dimensioning and flattening boards using a scrub plane and a jointer (okay, now I need to buy more tools ), and then carried forward to making a sample dovetail.  Tom gave me some very valuable insights into how he works, and what he does to ensure success.  All in all, it was money well spent. Getting one-on-one instruction from a seasoned woodworker, and an all-around great guy is something that is really invaluable.

Byron Peterson, Toronto