For Vic Tesolin, traveling to take a woodworking class is a fantastic way to expand his woodworking skills
I recently did a teaching gig down in Australia at an event called Wood Dust. If you’ve never heard of it I think you need to check it out. I taught a three-day class on Practical Furniture Design to a group of students and we had a blast. It’s great being able to travel to teach because I get to see all kinds of cool places and meet woodworkers from around the world.
So why don’t more people travel outside of their home country to take woodworking courses? Traveling to take a woodworking class is a fantastic way to expand your woodworking skills. I’ve had a chance to learn from a Japanese hand-tool woodworker while in Asia. I’ve learned spoon-carving techniques from an incredible spoon carver in Sweden and I’ve picked up some cool steam-bending tricks from a couple of mates in Australia. Every woodworker does things a bit differently and it’s those little nuggets that are pure gold.
Traveling to different parts of the world to take woodworking courses also exposes you to different types of wood. Timbers from down under like Aussie black wood, Huon pine, and gum are incredible woods to work with. On one of my first trips to Australia, I went to the Wood Works Gallery in Bungendore where I was dazzled by a completely different color pallet for furniture—hues that I had never seen in person. Then to get a chance to work with them is fantastic. I don’t think you’ve lived until you’ve put a sharp plane through a bit of Huon pine.
By day, you can take your class, and in the evening you can explore the night life. You can try out new foods and new beers from all over the world. You also get to hang out with a different breed of woodworkers. I’ve found that regardless of where I am, I make woodworking pals quickly because we have so much in common. I once spoke with a Japanese woodworker for two hours despite him having about 30 English words and me knowing the names of different types of sushi. There was a lot of gesticulating and nodding but we had a great time and we learned a lot from each other.
This last trip to Australia was made even easier because I brought my partner with me. She explored Melbourne while I taught through the day then we met up at night for dinner. We even extended our trip for a week to go check out parts of the north island of New Zealand. Taking a vacation with your partner/spouse is a great way to get some cool woodworking experiences and time away with that special someone.
So update that passport, and head somewhere new for a woodworking class. Explore different woodworking cultures, meet new people, and learn skills that you might not be exposed to otherwise. Life is too short to never leave The Shire.
In order to understand, you must do. – V
If you’d like a great chance to try out “Destination Woodworking,” sign up for Vic’s “Make a Japanese Toolbox” at Fine Woodworking Hands On in San Diego. In the class, Vic will take you through the layout and joinery for putting together a solid toolbox. You will also learn how to use your toolbox as a workholding solution for using hand tools. If you come prepared with a list of tools and sizes of those tools, you can even customize the box for your specific needs. As time allows, Vic will also show you how to add tool wells, dividers, or sliding tills to make your box even more useful.