Charleston Woodworking School
Featured School: February 2022
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.
CWS Inlay Cabinet
CWS Student Chair Weaving
CWS Tool Instruction
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.
CWS Student Desk with Projects
CWS Student measuring
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.
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.
CWS Student Work Collab
PROFESSIONAL CAREER DEVELOPMENT
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.CharlestonWoodworkingSchool.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.
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.