News & Politics

Have More Fun: Woodworking

Slow Down and Carve Something Out of Wood

“In today’s society, people don’t see the results of their work very quickly,” says Bob McHenry, an instructor at Woodcraft, a woodworking store in Leesburg and Springfield. “You may work on a proposal for a year and not see any return. With woodworking, there is instant gratification.”

Many beginners want to make furniture for their home or simply do something with their hands. They might walk away with anything from bookcases to a fishing net.

Says Nick Suttora, owner of the Woodworkers Club in Rockville: “People who’ve never tried it before always say,‘I didn’t know it was that simple.’ ”

The Woodworkers Club (4950 Wyaconda Rd., Rockville; 301-984-9033; offers about 20 classes, from cabinetmaking fundamentals to carving. Prices range from about $75 to $475.

Woodcraft (6123 Backlick Rd., Springfield; 703-912-6727; has more than 50 classes, from learning to use tools to burning images. Most are appropriate for beginners, but the store also caters to advanced woodworkers as well as kids. Most classes range from $100 to $150.

Arlington Adult Education (703-228-7200; offers two woodworking courses beginning in September. They are $209 for Arlington residents, $271 for nonresidents.

Capital Area Woodturners ( teaches classes through the Fairfax County Public School system (703-227-2206; . Most are six three-hour sessions and cost $150. Some are shorter (a three-hour penmaking class, $30), and advanced classes are longer (42 hours, $339). Classes are held at Alexandria’s Groveton-Bryant Adult Education Center (2709 Popkins La.).

Thomas Jefferson Community Center (3501 S. Second St., Arlington; 703-228-5920; hosts a Mission-style-mirror class ($202 residents, $212 nonresidents) and a chairmaking class ($252 residents, $262 nonresidents) in the fall.

Northern Virginia Carvers (12016 Rosiers Branch Dr., Herndon; 703-437-9565; holds open workshops at Woodcraft on the first, second, and fourth Thursdays of the month from 3 to 9 pm. These aren’t formal classes, but members can show newbies the ropes.