Introduction to Woodworking

Our Winter Intro Course (February-April) is now in session and fully subscribed.
Applications for our Summer Intro Course (May–July) will open in April.
Please sign up for our mailing list here to be notified when the application period opens.

Course Objectives

Our 12-week course serves as an introduction to fine woodworking. You will learn to safely use standard woodworking machinery – the jointer, planer, table saw, bandsaw, drill press, and router–and some hand tools. Through a series of projects, you will become familiar with the material properties of wood, how to buy lumber, principles of joinery, and a range of finishing techniques. Students who complete the course are well-equipped to begin designing and building their own projects, and will have the option to take a safety test and join the shop as a monthly member.

Learning will be experiential and conveyed through several assigned projects. For those with limited prior experience, the course is an opportunity to brush up on skills and learn proper usage of our shop’s particular machines. Our approach incorporates a pride in workmanship, attention to detail, and knowledgeable construction.


The introductory course fee is $750 + $75 materials fee. The course fee is paid in three installments over three months. The first installment is $250 + $75 materials fee paid before the start of the class. The second and third installments are $250 paid monthly.


The course runs Thursdays from 6pm-10pm for twelve weeks.


Applications open roughly three weeks before the upcoming session. Please use your application as an opportunity to help us get to know you.

Because of our limited class size and high demand, we ask that students to commit to the course for its duration. If you know you will miss more than two classes, we ask that you instead enroll in a future session. A third absence is grounds for dismissal with no refund. This is out of fairness to others waiting to take the course, and to keep the flow of the class and attention of the instructor at an appropriate pace for the rest of the students.


Is this class for me?

Designed as an introductory course, this class is suitable for beginners to woodworking, or those desiring to freshen up rusty skills. The only prerequisites for this course are curiosity, enthusiasm, and the ability to follow instructions.

How big is the class?

We cap our class at 5 students to ensure plenty of time with instructors and reasonable wait times at the machines.

What will I learn?

Our goal is to give students confidence to continue woodworking independently after the class ends. Skills include:

  • Safe operation of essential power tools and hand tools
  • Basic properties of wood
  • Selecting and purchasing lumber
  • Planning and designing projects
  • Milling lumber
  • A variety of joinery techniques
Are the projects prescribed or will I design and make my own custom projects?

Our curriculum is designed to teach a specific set of skills through prescribed projects, which have been developed to ensure a common level of knowledge and skills for the whole class.

Can I use the shop outside of class hours?

No, for the duration of the class, your session hours are only class hours.

Can I come check out the space?

Please do! The best times to come are during regular sessions; please should check with us first to make sure someone will be there.

I submitted an application form but haven’t heard anything.  Do you have my application?  What’s my status?

Yes! If you submitted your application on our Google form and received the confirmation page we do have your application. We process all of our applications at one time to create our enrollment list and our wait list. When we have the lists completed, you will hear from us about your status.

Who teaches the course?

Phoebe Kuo began woodworking with John Sheridan in 2010. Since then, she has studied traditional wooden boatbuilding at the Apprenticeshop in Rockland, Maine, and earned a certificate in fine furniture-making from the College of the Redwoods in Fort Bragg, California, under Laura Mays. She currently builds furniture on commission. Outside of the shop, she teaches design research methods at Stanford University and consults as an ethnographic researcher. She holds a BS in Product Design from Stanford University.

Jodie Prud’homme is a mechanical engineer by day and a woodworking machine whisperer by night. She began studying with John Sheridan in 2009 and has been an integral part of the shop ever since. When she’s not making puns or fine-tuning jointer blades, you might find her tinkering in her Bayview studio.