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Know Your Wood

6 HRS         $100

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Class Description

Understanding wood characteristics and suitability for your project.  As your skills improve… the more you worry about the wood.  Your best creation starts to come undone, crack, warp, stain; the finish becomes blotchy, sticky… what?   Then there is toxicity; some are dangerous.   There’s so much to know about hardness, strength, weight, porosity, wood movement and drying, color changes, and figure.   How do you select, where do you buy, and what’s a fair price for hardwoods? What are its woodworking properties, its grain, rot resistance, pitch and other defects… and what are the best finishes for each?

2  DAYS/SESSIONS     3 Hrs. ea.       $100           8 – 10 Participants


  • Exhibits of tree structure and growth; VG and FG, sap and heart wood, growth rings, shrinkage: (cupping, twist, bow, crook)

  • Exhibits of Properties: Hardness, Strength, Color, Grain, Oil/Sap, Porosity

  • Hand Planing, Carving, Sawing, Nailing


  • Eye Loupe examination of Oaks , Hard Maple, and Madrone

  • Finishing: oily woods, color shift, luster

  • Suitability: structural, furniture, cabinets, doors, carving, boats, outdoors, artwork

  • Toxicity: review of problem woods, allergic reactions

About the Instructor
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Bruce Schwager is your guide: over 40 years’ experience with boat-building, custom doors, furniture, carving, cabinets, and architectural woodwork… is at your service.

How to Get Here & Where to Stay:

We’re in-town with many choices for lodging, stores, and restaurants, all within a 5 minute walk through our little Seaside Village.   There are airport shuttles, Lyft/Uber/Taxi, and a popular free bus system.  A car is unnecessary here.  Recommending a place to stay (there are plenty to choose from) is difficult as they range greatly in price and accommodations, from B&B, Motel, Inn, and Air B&B/VRBO.  Let Google be your guide.   

The Learning Lab’s Wood Shop is located behind Whidbey Island Center for the Arts (WICA), and behind the Children’s Theater, and behind the Island Dance Theater.  The address is 723 Camano Avenue in Langley WA (commonly known as the old Langley Middle School) and parking for the Wood Shop is best on the West side of the campus in what is now The South Whidbey Community Center.

Class Policies, Liability Waiver, & Cancellations:

When a class is reserved by you, you may CANCEL the class up to 10 business days prior to the day of the class for a full refund (minus a $25 fee that covers credit card processing fees and administrative work). Cancellations less than 10 business days prior will be given a refund (less $25) if we can find someone else to fill your place.  If we cancel a class for any reason, a full refund of any paid-in-advance funds will be returned to registrants.  Participants may be asked to sign a WAIVER of liability in which they take responsibility for their safety, represent they are not sensory impaired, have no medical conditions of which our Staff ought to be aware, are knowledgeable of and will abide by Shop SAFETY rules, and they are representing they can physically, knowledgeably, and safely operate the tools of the Shop.