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Practise versus Theory

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Vince03/01/2009 23:17:00
11 forum posts

Thank you to everybody for making this a useful and informative forum.

 I made a decision to try to 'learn' carpentry about four months ago. My first call was to contact the colleges and after reading and listening about their courses I concluded a significant amount of my time at college would be spent sitting with a pen and paper listening to lectures on a subject I only desire to learn the very prcactical basics.

 The reason I decided to pursue carpentry is I want  to fit architaves, hang doors and fit door-casings. However, after doing a lot of research into many courses on offer in colleges I could see at once I would have to endure the mandatory theortical study of carpentry.

I have spent many years studying in the realm of Academia ...I do have an Honours degree in Philosophy ... and what I do know from my undergraduate years is many subjects are needlessly packed with theoretical study in order to spin out the course for, say, a year. This way funding is pumped back into the education provider over 12 months whereas, in reality, a two possibly three month hands-on course would equip the student with enough practical exerience to reap the benefits of feeling confidnet enough to fullfillhis humble ambitions.

Of course theory may have it's place but my intuition is already telling me most woodwork courses cram the cirriculum with needless not to mention boring theortical lectures.

If anybody could give me a hint as to how I can fullfill my modest goals without having to 

fall into the trap of sigining up for a state-run course I would be truly grateful.

To be able to make a bird box or a simply, no-frills table would for me be so fullfilling.

 But time is so precious for all of us and I know from my experience in education how many colleges hook people in with glossy, misleading information and once they have you 'signed up' they then have 'bums on seats' that justifies them applying to their LEA for more funding.

Is there any good, 'intense' courses anyone could recommend whereby theory is non-existent or kept at least to a bare minimum ?

Many thanks:

Vince     

Sparky03/01/2009 23:58:00
7631 forum posts
22 photos

Hi Vince

Welcome to this site.

If you fill in your profile, someone who may live close to you could have details that you need for courses.

Marc

Woodworker04/01/2009 00:36:00
1745 forum posts
1 photos
74 articles
Hi Vince and welcome to the forum.

This is a tricky one. From a personal perspective I've spent a total of six years in full time education studying how to make and design furniture; three years on a City & Guilds 555 course which was very hands on ~ approximately an 80:20 split of workshop to theory. Then, after another three year spell as a furniture designer/maker, I upped sticks to do a BA Hons in furniture and product design followed by another long stint as a designer in the furniture industry. Looking back I don't regret any of the time I spent in education ~ In fact I would love to go and do it all again. I certainly don't feel like the courses were padded out with theory. Perhaps I got lucky as I'm sure there are courses as you describe out there.

If a full time course isn't for you there are still a good number of options you could explore:
1. Find a local college that does an evening course. These types of courses tend to be very hands on in my experience and usually take up about 3 to 4 hours a week.
2. Sign up for an intensive short course with a well known furniture maker. This way you'll learn a lot in a short period of time ~ the down side is these types of courses are usually pricey.
3. Keep posting questions here! It's a great way to learn and you'll find it a gold mine of information. Upload pics to the gallery for even more feedback.
4. Read as many magazine articles and books as you can find that interest you. This way you get to cherry pick the best bits.

Marc makes a good point too, it can't do any harm to fill in your profile.

Hope this helps in some way.

Cheers,
Ben
Oddjob04/01/2009 10:10:00
avatar
1635 forum posts
79 photos

Vince

If all you want to do in the field of carpentry is "to fit architaves, hang doors and fit door-casings" then all you need is DIY instruction from a decent book.

Don't get me wrong, there is significant skill and mastery of tools required to do as you wish perfectly and quickly.  However, a few hours practice with a plane and saw on scrap wood together with method instructions will soon get you to an adequate level to fit and hang a pre-fabricated door.

Richard   

Olly Parry-Jones04/01/2009 10:10:00
avatar
2776 forum posts
636 photos

Hi Vince, welcome to the forum.

Depending on where you are in the country, there are professional furniture and cabinet makers around who run 'intensive' courses on various aspects of "woodworking". Whether you'll find one that covers second-fix carpentry though, I'm not sure.

Like Ben, I myself have already spend three-years on a Carpentry & Joinery course at college and currently well in to the second-year of my Cabinet Making course. I've really enjoyed both courses and, particularly with my current course, it's great to meet others with a similar interest in working wood.

We did cover our fair share of theory work in the Carpentry course, you're right there. Ben's estimate of 80/20 is probably about right (I certainly couldn't suggest it was any more than 70/30). Most college courses will only run two days a week (or, if you get on to an apprenticeship, you may only be expected to turn up once a week). In the second year of my current course, we've done very little theory at all - the plan was to get most of it out of the way in year one to concentrate on practical skills and making in year two.

If you look around, you're bound to find something that suits what you're looking for.

How long ago did you finish your degree? I'm still amazed by the number of people I've met who've spent three years at uni and then decided they'd rather get in to woodwork!

Vince04/01/2009 17:47:00
11 forum posts

Thanks everybody for the encouragement. Your words have given me so much inspiration ...one being to begin shopping for basic tools. 

There is a room here in my house that has just had a new carpet fitted. Now each time I open the door to this room I have to use a significant amount of force to open it. In other words, the door needs 're-fitting' ? . This is a mammoth operation for me but perhaps with continued learning from this site and aquiring those tools who knows ?

Thanks Richard for your wondeful, practical, encouragement. So good to read your post. If you ever want to play the piano do let me know !!!! There is no need to read and study all of the theory of music if you ever want to learn. It's just practical, hands-on, playing with an ever-so tiny amount of encouragement from somebody who is further up the path than you are. However, if you want to get money telling other people how to play the piano you will probably need a degree !!! Strange world !

Opj, Ben and Marc thank you too for your words of knowledge.  I shall contimue to look for a course . I am prepared to pay for the tuition providing the course 'provider' hasn't been too badly bitten by the theoretical bug !!!

Opj I completed my degree over three years . Did a fair bit of post-grad stuff too.

I suppose if my degree would have been in engineering then I would have been pinned down to living out my life in engineering. Philosophy, on the other hand, is 'transferable'. For example, philosophy can help people think for themselves regardless of what they have been led to beleive after reading  the 'standard', rule book.

 A lot of what I do at the moment is listening and talking to alcohol and drug dependent people. These poor people already know from their own experience they are suffering and the last thing they need is somebody to reinforce their anguish by selling them 'bum' information on addiction. Half the time people just need the truth. And the truth is suffering is a gift once we come out of it the other side for it is our experience that then equips us with sound knowlege to give to others' ...free of charge !!

 Anyhow, I hope to begin doing some shopping for tools and if anybody has any good knowledge of what tools to steer clear of and what is a must for a begginer to buy I would be really grateful.

Thanks all for your words of wisdom.

Vince 

Vince03/01/2009 23:17:00
11 forum posts

Thank you to everybody for making this a useful and informative forum.

 I made a decision to try to 'learn' carpentry about four months ago. My first call was to contact the colleges and after reading and listening about their courses I concluded a significant amount of my time at college would be spent sitting with a pen and paper listening to lectures on a subject I only desire to learn the very prcactical basics.

 The reason I decided to pursue carpentry is I want  to fit architaves, hang doors and fit door-casings. However, after doing a lot of research into many courses on offer in colleges I could see at once I would have to endure the mandatory theortical study of carpentry.

I have spent many years studying in the realm of Academia ...I do have an Honours degree in Philosophy ... and what I do know from my undergraduate years is many subjects are needlessly packed with theoretical study in order to spin out the course for, say, a year. This way funding is pumped back into the education provider over 12 months whereas, in reality, a two possibly three month hands-on course would equip the student with enough practical exerience to reap the benefits of feeling confidnet enough to fullfillhis humble ambitions.

Of course theory may have it's place but my intuition is already telling me most woodwork courses cram the cirriculum with needless not to mention boring theortical lectures.

If anybody could give me a hint as to how I can fullfill my modest goals without having to 

fall into the trap of sigining up for a state-run course I would be truly grateful.

To be able to make a bird box or a simply, no-frills table would for me be so fullfilling.

 But time is so precious for all of us and I know from my experience in education how many colleges hook people in with glossy, misleading information and once they have you 'signed up' they then have 'bums on seats' that justifies them applying to their LEA for more funding.

Is there any good, 'intense' courses anyone could recommend whereby theory is non-existent or kept at least to a bare minimum ?

Many thanks:

Vince     

Sparky03/01/2009 23:58:00
7631 forum posts
22 photos

Hi Vince

Welcome to this site.

If you fill in your profile, someone who may live close to you could have details that you need for courses.

Marc

Woodworker04/01/2009 00:36:00
1745 forum posts
1 photos
74 articles
Hi Vince and welcome to the forum.

This is a tricky one. From a personal perspective I've spent a total of six years in full time education studying how to make and design furniture; three years on a City & Guilds 555 course which was very hands on ~ approximately an 80:20 split of workshop to theory. Then, after another three year spell as a furniture designer/maker, I upped sticks to do a BA Hons in furniture and product design followed by another long stint as a designer in the furniture industry. Looking back I don't regret any of the time I spent in education ~ In fact I would love to go and do it all again. I certainly don't feel like the courses were padded out with theory. Perhaps I got lucky as I'm sure there are courses as you describe out there.

If a full time course isn't for you there are still a good number of options you could explore:
1. Find a local college that does an evening course. These types of courses tend to be very hands on in my experience and usually take up about 3 to 4 hours a week.
2. Sign up for an intensive short course with a well known furniture maker. This way you'll learn a lot in a short period of time ~ the down side is these types of courses are usually pricey.
3. Keep posting questions here! It's a great way to learn and you'll find it a gold mine of information. Upload pics to the gallery for even more feedback.
4. Read as many magazine articles and books as you can find that interest you. This way you get to cherry pick the best bits.

Marc makes a good point too, it can't do any harm to fill in your profile.

Hope this helps in some way.

Cheers,
Ben
Oddjob04/01/2009 10:10:00
avatar
1635 forum posts
79 photos

Vince

If all you want to do in the field of carpentry is "to fit architaves, hang doors and fit door-casings" then all you need is DIY instruction from a decent book.

Don't get me wrong, there is significant skill and mastery of tools required to do as you wish perfectly and quickly.  However, a few hours practice with a plane and saw on scrap wood together with method instructions will soon get you to an adequate level to fit and hang a pre-fabricated door.

Richard   

Olly Parry-Jones04/01/2009 10:10:00
avatar
2776 forum posts
636 photos

Hi Vince, welcome to the forum.

Depending on where you are in the country, there are professional furniture and cabinet makers around who run 'intensive' courses on various aspects of "woodworking". Whether you'll find one that covers second-fix carpentry though, I'm not sure.

Like Ben, I myself have already spend three-years on a Carpentry & Joinery course at college and currently well in to the second-year of my Cabinet Making course. I've really enjoyed both courses and, particularly with my current course, it's great to meet others with a similar interest in working wood.

We did cover our fair share of theory work in the Carpentry course, you're right there. Ben's estimate of 80/20 is probably about right (I certainly couldn't suggest it was any more than 70/30). Most college courses will only run two days a week (or, if you get on to an apprenticeship, you may only be expected to turn up once a week). In the second year of my current course, we've done very little theory at all - the plan was to get most of it out of the way in year one to concentrate on practical skills and making in year two.

If you look around, you're bound to find something that suits what you're looking for.

How long ago did you finish your degree? I'm still amazed by the number of people I've met who've spent three years at uni and then decided they'd rather get in to woodwork!

Vince04/01/2009 17:47:00
11 forum posts

Thanks everybody for the encouragement. Your words have given me so much inspiration ...one being to begin shopping for basic tools. 

There is a room here in my house that has just had a new carpet fitted. Now each time I open the door to this room I have to use a significant amount of force to open it. In other words, the door needs 're-fitting' ? . This is a mammoth operation for me but perhaps with continued learning from this site and aquiring those tools who knows ?

Thanks Richard for your wondeful, practical, encouragement. So good to read your post. If you ever want to play the piano do let me know !!!! There is no need to read and study all of the theory of music if you ever want to learn. It's just practical, hands-on, playing with an ever-so tiny amount of encouragement from somebody who is further up the path than you are. However, if you want to get money telling other people how to play the piano you will probably need a degree !!! Strange world !

Opj, Ben and Marc thank you too for your words of knowledge.  I shall contimue to look for a course . I am prepared to pay for the tuition providing the course 'provider' hasn't been too badly bitten by the theoretical bug !!!

Opj I completed my degree over three years . Did a fair bit of post-grad stuff too.

I suppose if my degree would have been in engineering then I would have been pinned down to living out my life in engineering. Philosophy, on the other hand, is 'transferable'. For example, philosophy can help people think for themselves regardless of what they have been led to beleive after reading  the 'standard', rule book.

 A lot of what I do at the moment is listening and talking to alcohol and drug dependent people. These poor people already know from their own experience they are suffering and the last thing they need is somebody to reinforce their anguish by selling them 'bum' information on addiction. Half the time people just need the truth. And the truth is suffering is a gift once we come out of it the other side for it is our experience that then equips us with sound knowlege to give to others' ...free of charge !!

 Anyhow, I hope to begin doing some shopping for tools and if anybody has any good knowledge of what tools to steer clear of and what is a must for a begginer to buy I would be really grateful.

Thanks all for your words of wisdom.

Vince 

will spencer25/01/2009 18:54:16
21 forum posts
bottom line vince get a job.
sorry it's so blunt.you'll learn more quickly if you're on site daily with a day release or evening shift at college.
remember most colleges tell you the perfect scenario-in reality they're few and far between.every door you replace will be different from now until you call it a day.as benand oddjob are saying keep it up and practice and keep asking
will spencer25/01/2009 19:08:17
21 forum posts
sorry it's from another site but have a look at this.
 

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