John Shaw classes

Our friend and woodworking guru John Shaw is back in August and September for four more classes covering all things fine woodworking. This is an excellent opportunity to develop your knowledge and woodworking skills with the guidance of a true expert in the field.

The dates for the final two classes have been postponed to September 28 and 29.

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About John Shaw

John Shaw has been teaching fine woodworking for thirty years. He studied in the UK at Rycotewood College and at the invitation of James Krenov in California at the College of the Redwoods. He taught craft design and visual arts at Nelson Polytechnic before setting up the Centre for Fine Woodworking in Nelson in 2006 and teaching the full-time programme until 2016.

He now teaches and mentors from his own workshop at Kanuka Rise, Wakapuaka, Nelson.

Find out more about John here.

Saturday 28 September 2019

half Day course

What woodworkers need to know about wood

(all levels of ability)

This class offers woodworkers a practical guide to understanding the material we use. Understanding the technical side of wood as a material is critical to creating work that functions as intended and lasts.

What you will learn:

  • The concept of a classic timber.

  • The general structure a tree establishes as it grows, and how this dictates the appearance and strength of the wood we use.

  • How the location of a growing tree effects the wood.

  • Hardwoods and softwoods and hard wood and soft wood and what’s the difference?

  • Sawing logs. Volume or figure?

  • Moisture in wood. What is green wood? What is dry wood? 

  • Why do woodworkers need dry wood, and how can we tell when is wood dry? 

  • Why does wood move? Growth stress and drying stress, and how to predict their presence.

  • Shrinkage, what’s going on?

  • Durability.

  • What is figure?

  • What grain is and how to predict it.

  • Woodworking best practice. How to work with your wood to avoid technical failure.

  • Ins and outs of individual timbers.

  • Q&A.



Saturday 28 September 2019

9am – 12pm for the morning course



Max 12 participants

Sunday 29 September 2019

One day course

Finishing Techniques

(all levels of ability)

Getting a subtle and understated finish on your work can be difficult, here’s your chance to get hands on with simple methods and finishes. Learn how to set up and use planes, scrapers, sandpaper, wax, shellac and oil to prepare and finish surfaces.

There are several ways of preparing surfaces prior to applying a finish, and the correct method is usually decided by the type and qualities of the wood being used. We will each work with a set of different woods, bringing each piece to a good finish by selecting and applying the best methods.

What you will learn:

  • How to use a sharp plane to plane a surface. 

  • How to sharpen and use scrapers, to finish difficult grained woods.

  • How to use sandpaper effectively by hand and power.

  • How to decide the best finishing process for different woods in different situations.

  • How to use shellac, wax and oils.

  • How to apply best workshop practice and work safely with these materials.



Sunday 29 September 2019
9am – 5pm with a one hour lunch break and short tea breaks.



Max 12 participants