The VWA School of Woodcraft has been teaching students for over 20 years from our well equipped workshop training facilities at the historic Meat Market building in North Melbourne.
Each student chooses their own project to work on and is provided with expert guidance from our experienced master woodworkers. We cater to all skill levels from novices who want to learn basic techniques to professionals who are seeking to refine their craft.
Our classes have been designed to cater for students with varied levels of woodwork skills. There are no formal qualifications to qualify for enrolment.
The classes centre around projects chosen by the student. They are then carefully curated by our teachers and designed in a way that helps students walk away with a set of skills as well as a finished piece of fine woodwork. Some projects may take more than one term.
In either case, students should bring an illustrative (plan, photo or drawing) and short textual description of their project, with measurements to enable specification of a timber cutting list.
Some students stay only as long as it takes to complete one specific project. Others set themselves a series of projects so their woodwork skills increase over time.
We also have a Fixed Project Class featuring a beautifully designed night stand which gives students an opportunity to learn a variety of skills from traditional hand cut joinery to more modern woodworking techniques. The joinery on the night stand involves the use of hand tools such as chisels and hand planes whilst at the same time introducing students to more modern approaches to curved detail work. Students also learn about a variety of finishes that can be used.
The tutors assist students at all stages from project design, choice of timber, construction, finishing, safe work practices and, when required, machine operation.
Class numbers are limited to ensure tutors can provide each student with guidance. There is no predetermined date for completion of projects and enrolment is on a term by term basis. Support will be tailored to suit the requirements of each project and the competence of each student.
Note, however, that tutors are a shared resource to the whole class and you are expected to operate with a degree of independence after being shown how to perform a task.
Timber and Equipment
Students are responsible for purchasing their own timber and organising for it to be transported to the workshop. The suitability of the timber and fittings will be discussed with the tutor to ensure they are appropriate for the chosen project. Students will then be responsible for purchasing their own timber and organising for it to be transported to the workshop.
Tools and equipment are provided. The school also supplies consumables such as glue, sandpaper, timber filler, screws, finish, masks and protective equipment. The student may also supply their own finish – oil or lacquer.
Clothing and footwear should be suitable for a workshop environment (but not heavy industrial), providing protection against wood chips, dropped objects, and spills or splashes of varnishes and glues, while hair should be restrained or covered to avoid entanglement with machinery. Open toed shoes are never acceptable and students will not be permitted entry to the workshop if these are worn.
Note – Fees are inclusive of insurance, supervision of, and induction in, OHS practices for machine operation.
The VWA has produced a number of videos about workshop safety and safe use of machinery.