Dale built four student workbenches for the Barnard Woodworking School’s shop in southern Indiana after another school that had hired him as an instructor went defunct. “I found out through teaching that I really have a lot to teach,” he said.
As both an instructor and a professional woodworker, his niche is Arts & Crafts-style furniture and built-ins, particularly Greene and Greene. “My view is that you can’t improve on perfection,” he says of their style. He offers an advanced kitchen cabinets class in the Greene and Greene-style, as well as project classes on a Greene and Greene clock, blanket chest and barstool.
A course on a Maloof-style rocking chair inspired a separate class on making jigs — students who took the project home realized they couldn’t build more without the roughly 30 jigs used at the school.
Dale begins most classes demonstrating two or three techniques, then lets students get to work, with his assistance as needed. “They’re not waiting in line, or three people watch one guy work,” he said. Students leave with completed projects. “If it’s a chair, they’ll be sitting in it. If it’s a rocker, they’ll be rocking in it. If it’s a table, it’ll be complete and put together.”
Classes vary in length and take place in a 30′ x 60′ two-story shop with a wood floor. Equipment includes SawStop and Powermatic 66 table saws, a 16″ jointer, 14″ and 20″ band saws, wide belt and edge sanders, lathes, routers and a hollow-chisel mortising machine.
Dale and Mary, the school’s administrator, provide all materials, including wood. “We’ll use nice wood so the people are more engaged. You use real cheap wood and you’re not too worried about making mistakes, but if you’re using some nice wood, you’re going to be more careful,” Dale said.
Located near the Hoosier National Forest, the Barnard Woodworking School is an hour away from Louisville, Kentucky. For more information, visit: the-cabinetmaker.com/wood-working-school or call or text 502-551-8889.