We like to think we offer something different in our class but rather than read what I have to say about it I will let one of our students tell you in his own words. This is what Jim had to say after taking several of our classes.
I have been serious woodworker and furniture maker for over 30 years. I have studied with many of the well-known teachers in our industry: Peter Korn, Michaël Fortune, Silas Kopf, Daryll Keil, Darrell Pert, Steven Proctor, Marc Adams, Phillip Lowe and others.
I have enjoyed each of the experiences in so many ways. Each of these instructors helped me improve my work and helped me become a better craftsman. I invite you to Google each of these names and you’ll see what a remarkable group of artisans they are and how lucky I am to have studied with them.
That said however, I’ve never had a better experience than with Dugan Essick and the Essick Woodworking school. In 2023 I have just scheduled my 4th class with Dugan. In my case, I save my pennies and schedule a “private class”. The first two years were one week. In 2022 and 2023 two weeks.
My wife and I drove from our home in Bonny Doon California to the schools open house. (3.5 hrs) I wanted her to meet Dugan, Janet, and the 4 legged companions Willie and Annie. I wanted her to see where I was spending all this time and why I was so very excited to continue.
So, what is so different about the experience at the Essick School? It’s all about learning, accomplishing, and moving to the next level. At your pace and on your projects. Dugan works at your level and works hard to make certain his instruction is appropriate for you personally. Most of all he wants to ensure your time at his school is rewarding to you.
In my case, I learn from observing and by doing, so Dugan molds his teaching style to my individual needs as a student. He also works on the project that most interests you. You can bring your own wood and your own ideas.
When you schedule, he will work with you and help set your expectations about how much of the project you will finish at the school. The goal is most often to select a project that you can build at the school with final finishing done later. It might be best for your skill level to select one of the projects from the class gallery.
The first year, I spent a lot of time selecting Quartered Oak for a Morris chair and it turned out spectacular. The second year, we designed and I built an end table and ottoman to match the Morris chair. Both are one-of-a-kind pieces. I’ll sit in the chair with my coffee on the table and my feet on the Ottoman for the rest of my life. With the satisfaction of having built them myself.
But then the third class. A two-week private class with just Dugan and me.
Here’s the story:
In 1994 I was in Hawaii with the family on vacation. I went to Aloha Woods in Kailua-Kona HI. I purchased about 75 BF of 8/4 Koa and had it shipped home. This beautiful wood sat in my shop for 28 years waiting on the right project. When I saw the Sam Maloff style rocker at Dugan’s I knew that was it. I hope Dugan will post this rocker some where on his website.
I sit in my Morris chair and look at the rocker. The chair is sculpted not cut. The wood is polished. I notice when people sit in it they touch the wood, caresses it really, and marvel at the natural beauty of the wood. It looks as if it is lighted from within.
I never knew I had this in me. Never knew I could sculpt wood. Never knew I could create something so amazing. The feeling of accomplishment is beyond description. It’s Dugan’s teaching style that made it possible. I hope it’s on his website somewhere.
Enough about me, it’s time for you to be all you can be with your craft. Let Dugan help you create something amazing!