Woodworking Unplugged

View Syllabus

Immerse yourself in the tactile joy of woodworking with traditional hand tools as you connect your own creativity to solid materials, your own woodworking knowledge to non-electric tools, and your desire to make with the environment where you do your making. Learn how to choose, sharpen, and use time-honored tools, including the axe, adze, froe, bruz, mallet, drawknife, spokeshave, plane, glut, chisel, spring-pole, and bow lathe—as you carve, turn, shave, mortise, tenon, bore, rive, and hew to create a project of your own design. You'll learn how to complete woodworking projects with minimal environmental impact and work off-grid when possible.

 All of the tools are provided, but we’ll also take a field trip to find affordable and usable hand tools that will allow you to begin to build (or further outfit) your own unplugged shop. Demonstrations and skill development are the focus for the first half of the workshop, and then we’ll turn our attention to completing projects for the second half. There will also be an evening screening of a film or two that will further inspire participants to make the unplugged way their own.

Whether you leave the class with a stool, table, mallet, herb drying rack, plant dibber, cutting board, whisk, or whatever you decide to make (maybe multiple things), you will know it better than anything you could ever buy, and you will likely know it more than anything made with power tools. This is because every detail of the tool, the maker, and the wood must fit together to actually produce a well made item. Plus, what you make will have a cool story of how you made it that you will be excited to share.

Click here to see a slideshow of student work from this course


"Rod brought a great type of vested interest to Yestermorrow. He has a zeal that is infectious!"

"Yestermorrow was unforgettable, a week I will never forget, and experiences I could never get elsewhere. It was like a therapeutic retreat, great food, awesome location, and learned so much about woodworking with hand tools."

"I loved that we each had our own tool box and Rod had a huge collection of other tools for us to try or to become familiar with.  I liked all the side projects like wood burning, sharpening, and tool care. They were not only useful but created natural stopping and resting points. There was a 'can do' vibe and 'what can I do to help you' feeling that started with the instructors."

"This course offered a nice balance of instruction and individual exploration. Much of the time was spent exploring whichever tool or technique we were most interested in. This flexibility really made the course “customized” to our individual needs."


Woodworking and Craft


Beginner, Intermediate


  • Sterling College: 2 Continuing Education Units ($260 additional)

Related Courses