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Charleston Woodworking School

Charleston, SC

CWS Class Session

The Charleston Wood­work­ing School (CWS) is an inde­pen­dent, educa­tional orga­ni­za­tion dedi­cated to the design, making and conser­va­tion of furni­ture. This program is unique to South Carolina and the region.

The aim of the school is to develop crafts­men and women with exper­tise and profes­sion­al­ism, who have a thor­ough prac­ti­cal knowl­edge, balanced with a sound theo­ret­i­cal and tech­ni­cal aware­ness. The course is devoted to ensur­ing that students have the skills and knowl­edge to estab­lish their own busi­ness or to secure posi­tions in profes­sional work­shops or the arts and museums.

The Charleston Wood­work­ing School is located in Historic Charleston, SC. The work­shop is conve­nient to desir­able housing, five-star Low Country cuisine, shop­ping, museums, and the coastal and regional vistas provid­ing unspoiled and unlim­ited outdoor opportunities.


Charleston Wood­work­ing School’s inau­gural year was 2013. Before this date, private wood­work­ing lessons were conducted to students begin­ning in 2012. It is dedi­cated to teach­ing the endur­ing skills involved in the design­ing and making of fine furni­ture as well as the time­less crafts­man­ship of antique restoration.

The course is full-time for 30 weeks and leads to the school’s certifi­cate of comple­tion in wood­work­ing. The aim is to provide students with a thor­ough ground­ing in theory and prac­tice as well as the ability to apply this in a commercial context.

The Founder and Admin­is­tra­tor oversee the general oper­a­tion of the school is Sam Sprouse. Sam is a master with antique restora­tion and is recog­nized for his orig­i­nal furni­ture designs, which provides the students unique oppor­tu­ni­ties to observe first-hand within the work­shop pieces which have been commis­sioned or which require exten­sive restora­tion. These oppor­tu­ni­ties are part of the practical curriculum.


The School is located in Historic Charleston which is the ideal for observ­ing and using the prac­tice of Old World Euro­pean furni­ture making tech­niques which are a requi­site in restor­ing the local 17th and 18th century antiques adorn­ing the fine homes of Charleston and regional museums.

The recre­ational oppor­tu­ni­ties of living on the beau­ti­ful SC coast are abun­dant. Many festi­vals with regional and inter­na­tional flavor are part of the cultural attrac­tion of the lowcoun­try of South Carolina.

Visits to regional forests, sawmills, and prop­er­ties provide prac­ti­cal expe­ri­ences with woods and resources for the wood­worker and crafts­men and women. Addi­tional tours of the regional plan­ta­tions enhance the under­stand­ing of fine work­man­ship and the high value of conserv­ing and prac­tic­ing these Euro­pean tech­niques. These are lost arts preserved and taught during the Charleston Wood­work­ing School course.

CWS Instruction


In these days of distance learn­ing and instruc­tional books and videos, why come to a wood­work­ing school? Working with wood in the school’s lab provides the students the real-life atmos­phere of a busy work­shop. Being in the situ­a­tion to provide profes­sional work that is expected in the commer­cial world bene­fits the student for his future career.

A book can teach the basics, but it will not show the student the amount of pres­sure to apply nor the manual dexter­ity to achieve a quality, professional product.


The course consists of three ten-week terms from the Septem­ber until the first Friday in June. Students receive a combi­na­tion of lectures and prac­ti­cal expe­ri­ence. Project work is care­fully struc­tured to meet the level of the individual’s ability. Students are encour­aged to work increas­ingly on their own initia­tive and to create their own designs. Their work will be exhib­ited at the Grad­u­a­tion Evening event. The average class size is ten students, but no more than 15


It is the aim and objec­tive of the CWS to give students the skills and confi­dence to succeed at their chosen career. From the person who wishes to special­ize in period restora­tion to someone who wants to design and make contem­po­rary furni­ture, the course ensures that grad­u­ates can demon­strate the commer­cial acumen neces­sary to turn an amateur inter­est into a satis­fy­ing profes­sional career. The School will assist students with any career devel­op­ment needs in the areas of any related licen­sure, regis­tra­tion or certi­fi­ca­tions. A certifi­cate from the Charleston Wood­work­ing School will be awarded upon the success­ful comple­tion of the instructional requirements.


The school is small and fosters a good sense of commu­nity spirit. All course-related matters are dealt with by the team of tutors who work closely with each student to bring his/​her skills to a profes­sional stan­dard. Indi­vid­ual tuto­ri­als to discuss course work are avail­able by appoint­ment. Help with prac­ti­cal arrange­ments and extra-curric­u­lar concerns are given by the school’s admin­is­tra­tor. The School is well respected within the surround­ing area and great effort is made by local people to assim­i­late students into local life.

To apply for the 2022 – 2023 Profes­sional Course, send for the Detailed Syllabus and Appli­ca­tion Form, found at the School’s website at www​.Charleston​Wood​work​ingSchool​.com. Completed forms should be sent to the school as soon as possi­ble, as appli­ca­tions are consid­ered on a first come, first served” basis. The maximum number of success­ful appli­cants is limited to 15 for 2022 – 2023. Personal inter­views will be conducted prior to the student’s accep­tance in the CWS for a better under­stand­ing of the student’s goals and objec­tive, level of expected skill, and for the student to learn more about the require­ments for success­fully partic­i­pat­ing in school activ­i­ties and academics. 

CWS Student Table with Drawers


Expe­ri­ence in wood­work­ing is not an absolute prereq­ui­site for entry into our full-time wood­work­ing classes. Students should have a desire to learn a new profes­sion or to enhance their current knowl­edge of wood­work­ing. Our courses are best suited for students ranging from high school grad­u­ates (or equiv­a­lents) to post-grad­u­ates, and from mid-career change to retirees. Wood­work­ing classes empha­size prac­ti­cal bench-time and class­room work, so detailed wood­work­ing expe­ri­ence is not essen­tial. Even students with a minimal amount of wood­work­ing expe­ri­ence soon acquire wood­work­ing skills needed to meet the demands of the course. Students must demon­strate a commit­ment to their future and the course by provid­ing evidence of grants, loans, or cash-on-hand of suffi­cient funds to support them­selves during the course, as well as pay the course fees. This also includes the same require­ments as detailed on our website, that all students must be at least 18 years of age and must have suffi­cient health insurance.

The Charleston Wood­work­ing School is licensed by the South Carolina Commis­sion on Higher Educa­tion and Veter­an’s admin­is­tra­tion bene­fits are accepted. 

Website: https://​www​.charleston​wood​work​ingschool​.com/

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