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Greetings!

I'm very new to the forum, currently active duty and soon to retire.  Hoping to leverage my G.I. Bill to build some additional skills before tackling some interior joinery projects on our little 40-year old sailboat.

I'm wondering if anyone has any recommendations on schools and courses that aren't just money mills looking to milk my G.I. Bill but will really provide some worthwhile instruction?

 

Thank you for the help!

Mike

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Hey Mike, welcome aboard, here is our list of educational institutions for woodworking, arts and the trades, perhaps you'll find some great institutions here?

I do know, that North Bennett Street School has a wonderful veterans and active duty programs, and it's a top notch trades and arts college.

 

Our page of links

 

North Bennett Street School

 

 

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Welcome aboard @MikeCG, glad to have you here.  Thanks for your service, we all appreciate it.

As to the school you want to find, a couple of questions first...

1.  Any particular location or area you would like to look in?

2.  What is your current skill set in regards to wood working?

3.  Where do you want to go with the schooling?  Home building vs finish carpentry vs furniture design & building would be different recommendations.

 

@lew has already chimed in, this might be an excellent topic for @4DThinker to join also.

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My educational background came from a furniture course series based in an Architectural Design college.  Focus on furniture was not to produce furniture designers, but to provide a thorough/complete design process from sketches to working finished prototypes.   Interior Architecture was the degree, with most graduates finding jobs in Architecture firms designing/specifying the interiors of commercial buildings.   The side effect though used to be a thorough education in woodworking and product design along the way.  I retired when the college dean decided to dumb down the course series by forcing a new hire with no experience to create a curriculum with focus on the metal/welding side of the shop.  Since that happened the students have failed to be accepted into any national design competitions which historically we had won more awards that any other college in.   So for now I'd stay away from Kansas State University's College or Architecture and Product Design. 

4D    

Edited by 4DThinker
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Wow!  Thank you everyone for the quick and thoughtful replies, I really appreciate it. 

 

To answer some of the great questions:

1. I'm definitely a beginner.  I've taken a beginner woodworking class (basically woodshop 101) at the local community college and am now in the advanced class (which is really just free use of the shop).  The project I'm working on right now is a small Hepplewhite table with a drawer so I can develop some skill making mortise and tenon joints and dovetails.  I've done some more in depth projects, but that's really been as an apprentice/helper with my mother's husband who has some real skill.

 

2. I'm not looking for a degree or anything, but something more than just the weekend or one week courses you can find around.  My goal is to do the work on the interior joinery myself, but I want to be sure it doesn't look homebuilt!  So definitely towards the fine woodworking side and less towards the house building side.  An area I think I really need some help (and I think in-person instruction can be a huge advantage) is with some finer hand tool work- chisels, planes, etc.

 

3. Location is a bit flexible.  We're in Northern Virginia, and if the school was 6 months+ then it sure would be nice if it was local.  But if it's only a few weeks or even a few months and the GI Bill helps with BAH, then it can be anywhere.  After all, my wife is used to me being gone at sea for months at a time, so we can make something work.  Lew: The Sam Beauford shop looks perfect...except that I think it might be a stretch to be away from home for that long.  The shorter classes look interesting, but a little too short; I almost need something in-between.  However, I might reach out and see if there's a schedule that could string a few of the shorter ones together.  I would also need to confirm that they take the GI Bill for the short ones.

 

Thank you again for all of the help!!

Cheers,

Mike

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I graduated and now work for the Sam Beauford Woodworking Institute and I can tell you that we do in fact accept VA benefits for our Wood Design: Furniture Making course. about 75% of our students move to Michigan to take this course. The other 25% is able to commute. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact me. 

 

Thanks,

Steve

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10 hours ago, Steve Mc said:

I graduated and now work for the Sam Beauford Woodworking Institute and I can tell you that we do in fact accept VA benefits for our Wood Design: Furniture Making course. about 75% of our students move to Michigan to take this course. The other 25% is able to commute. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact me. 

 

Thanks,

Steve

Steve, I was going through your website, and found that the tuition for a complete trade education is incredibly reasonable as well. Thanks for sharing!

Just to help Mike out I'm posting a link to your GI Bill page. Thanks again Steve!

 

WWW.SAMBEAUFORDWOODSHOP.COM

Use your GI Bill to become a furniture maker, woodworker, cabinet maker, or artist. SBWI offers a full-time college program. Veteran...

 

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Thanks so much guys!  I reached out and emailed with Dena at Sam Beauford, she was very nice but said they only take the GI Bill for the full 40 week course, not any of the shorter courses. 

 

It would be ideal if they had a schedule laid out that accommodated several back-to-back shorter courses that together would make a logical mid-length course progression, and was approved by the GI Bill.

 

Anyone know of any others?

Cheers,

Mike

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I just realized somehow I missed John Morris' suggestion on the North Bennet Street School.  I spent some time looking at the website and it seems they DO accept the GI Bill for their 3-month intensive. 

 

https://nbss.edu/community-education/three-month-furniture-making-intensive/

 

That really sounds like a nice fit.  I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with the program to provide some thoughts/opinions?

 

Thanks again!

Mike

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43 minutes ago, MikeCG said:

I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with the program to provide some thoughts/opinions?

I do not have any hands on experience Mike, but they have been around a loooong time, and they are featured in many of our woodworking venues, spoken highly of in woodworking circles, and promoted by many of our woodworking folks we trust such as the legendary Roy Underhill, the fine folks at Mortise and Tenon Magazine, and many more. They have been such a staple in our trade/crafts, I've never seen nor heard bad of them, they just seem that they have always been there and in a good positive way.

 

There is another school that is pretty far from you. College of the Redwoods in Northern California. They have a class that was started by the legendary James Krenov, and College of the Redwoods does seem friendly to the GI Bill.

 

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