About The School of Woodworking
It wasn’t so very long ago that the essentials of education, including homestead crafts and skills, were taught to children by their parents in the context of the home and local community. A father, whose craft made provision for his family, imparted his abilities to his children, and so knowledge and skill was handed down from father to son and generation to generation. Likewise, master craftsmen trained apprentices in every aspect of fine workmanship, and so craftsmanship would then benefit the entire community by passing on the skills indispensable to family and community living.
For the past 15 years The Ploughshare’s School of Woodworking has taught over 3500 students, from all walks of life and from around the world, the joy and simplicity of working wood with hand tools. Located approximately 80 miles south of Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, near Elm Mott, the School of Woodworking is situated within the context of Homestead Heritage at Brazos de Dios, a 510-acre working farm cultivated by traditional, sustainable agricultural practices. The school’s workshop is a part of the Homestead Heritage Traditional Crafts Village, which includes a visitors’ center, deli and bakery, a working gristmill (circa 1750), a fiber-arts workshop for spinning and weaving, a blacksmith shop, organic herb and vegetable gardens, a pottery shop and a two-story barn which provides retail space for an array of fine gifts, handmade housewares and fine furniture handcrafted by our craftsmen. Several of these shops are located in eighteenth-century buildings restored by Heritage Restorations.
The instructors in the School of Woodworking are award-winning craftsmen with a combined total of nearly a half-century of experience. These craftsmen, in addition to teaching, continue to design and build beautiful, hand-crafted heirloom furniture and musical instruments. Our workshops are specifically designed to encourage hands-on instruction with an emphasis on skill building. Unless otherwise noted (as in the case of a large group seminar), each workshop will be “project” oriented and will introduce the student to simple and proven methods of hand-tool woodworking. The facility which houses our woodworking school includes a large teaching area designed and equipped for hand-tool woodworking and the student work stations are complete with a joiner’s workbench and vise, as well as a wide variety of hand tools for students to use to complete their projects. Our series of workshops starts at a beginning level that assumes no prior hand-tool woodworking experience, and takes students through a complete course which, once completed, will provide them with the skills necessary to build their own heirloom-quality furniture.