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Training woodworking's next generation

Here's an unranked list of post-secondary schools that are preparing students for careers in the wood products industry


Location: San Marcos, Calif.

Programs offered: Two-year

Degrees available: Associate of Arts in Furniture Making, Cabinet and Furniture Design, Cabinetmaking and Millwork

Enrollment: 2,000

Classes offered: More than 50 in the Cabinet and Furniture Technology program

Facilities: Three lecture rooms, three machine rooms, three bench rooms, finish room, storage, sawmill, kiln and library learning resource center

Faculty: Four full-time and 16 part-time instructors

Related program offered: Urban forestry

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Location: Tempe, Ariz.

Program offered: Graduate only

Degree available: M.F.A. in Wood

Area of emphasis: This graduate program develops imaginative, innovative and highly skilled artists in wood. The graduate years are seen as a time for searching and experimenting, as well as for developing a high degree of professionalism in creative work. Wood is part of the sculpture program at the undergraduate level, but no bachelor's degree is offered.

Facility: Herberger College of the Arts offers a well-equipped fine woodworking shop. It includes equipment for laminating, carving, turning and fabricating.

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Location: Lancaster, Pa.

Programs offered: Two-year

Degree available: Associate of Arts in Cabinetmaking and Wood Technology

Enrollment: 41 (open only to Pennsylvania residents)

Program emphasis: Furniture, architectural millwork, case goods

Facilities: 6,000-sq.-ft. shop

Job placement rate: 95 percent

Also available: Program in Carpentry Technology (80 students)

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Location: Portland, Ore.

Programs offered: Four-year

Degrees Offered: B.F.A. in Wood

Other degrees: Students can pursue a B.F.A. degree, Certificate in Crafts, post-baccalaureate Certificate in Crafts

Emphasis: The wood department offers a furniture-based program focusing on the design and fabrication of fine, hand-built pieces with an emphasis on solid wood construction.

Program objective: To give students the skills to produce any piece of furniture, while encouraging innovation and the development of an individual voice through their work.



Location: Blacksburg, Va.

Enrollment: more than 25,000

Programs offered: Four-year and graduate studies

Degrees offered: B.S. in Wood Science and Forest Products

Options within major: Adhesion science, manufacturing systems, forest products marketing and management, non-timber forest products, packaging science, wood structures and materials. The Department of Wood Science and Forest Products offers degree programs at the master's and doctoral levels in a variety of specialized subject areas.

Forestry: The forestry major has four options: forest resource management, industrial forestry operations, environmental resource management and urban forestry. Forest resource management is the basic professional forestry option. The course work provides the background necessary for making sound decisions concerning the sustainable management of forested land.

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Location: Norwalk, Calif.

Programs offered: Two-year

Degrees available: Associate of Arts in Woodworking Manufacturing Technology

Areas of emphasis: Cabinetmaking, furniture making, comprehensive option

Instructors: 20

College enrollment: More than 20,000

Facility: 27,000-sq.-ft shop

Program philosophy: Directed at hands-on training and real-world experience; all classes are project-focused.

Curriculum: More than 40 courses offered on furniture making, face-frame and frameless cabinet construction, architectural millwork, table and case-good construction, solid surface fabrication, hand tools, wood turning and veneering

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Location: Wentworth, N.C.

Programs offered: Two-year

Degree available: Associate's in Applied Science, Fine and Creative Woodworking

Areas of emphasis: The Fine and Creative Woodworking curriculum prepares individuals to design and build high-quality furniture and accessories. Students may choose to work in either period styles, creative work or both. Program concentrates on preparing graduates to establish businesses of their own. In addition, graduates may find employment opportunities in high-end custom furniture shops or the furniture manufacturing industry.

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Location: Boone, N.C

Enrollment: 15,871

Program offered: Four-year

Degree available: B.S. in Industrial Design, concentration in product design or furniture design

Program emphasis: The development of knowledge, skills, and concepts essential to the practice of a professional designer.

Curriculum: In addition to studio classes, foundation courses include product design, computer-assisted drafting, design drawing, and technology and material courses in wood, metals, ceramics and advanced CAD.

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Location: San Francisco, Oakland, Calif.

School founded: In 1907 as School of the California Guild of Arts and Crafts in Berkeley, Calif.

Degree available: B.F.A. in Furniture

Program description: The Furniture Program focuses on studio furniture and "a fertile intersection of the disciplines of furniture design, industrial design, sculpture, architecture, and fashion." The program emphasizes skills (woodworking, metalworking, upholstery and industrial fabrication), drawing and computer-based design, and a theoretical investigation of furniture as both object and cultural agent. Students will develop a conceptually sophisticated and professional body of work suitable for small-scale production runs or gallery exhibition.

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Location: Minneapolis, Minn.

Program: Two years

Degree offered: Associate in Cabinetmaking

Program goal: To prepare students to work with a variety of hardwoods and wood products to produce quality cabinets and furniture that will stand the test of time.

Equipment: The program combines classic craftsmanship with state-of-the-art technology. The school also has an extensive wood laboratory.

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Location: Smithville, Tenn.

Program: B.F.A. with a concentration in wood.

Wood program enrollment: 20

Wood studio: The center is an 87,000-sq.-ft. craft education facility located on more than 500 wooded acres. It features a 4,500-sq.-ft. machine room and 2,000-sq.-ft. bench room.

Teacher/student ratio: 1:15

Area of emphasis: The school prepares students for professional careers in wood, as well as clay, fibers, glass and metals. Students become proficient in the materials, processes and techniques used by professional craft artists, and develop confidence in the use of tools and equipment in a studio environment.



Location: Harrisburg, Pa.

New program: In the fall, the HACC will offer a new cabinetmaking and architectural millwork program with an A.A.S degree.

Program emphasis: Students will receive theory and hands-on training in hand and power tools, joinery, construction and finishing techniques related to cabinetry, millwork and furniture. Design concepts and CNC production methods are also part of the curriculum.

Career opportunities: Graduates find employment in entry level and intermediate-level positions in a variety of cabinet, millwork, finishing and furniture businesses.



Location: Indianapolis, Ind.

Program: As part of Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, the program offers both B.F.A. and M.F.A. degrees in furniture design. Herron enrolls nearly 900 undergraduate students, in which there are currently 22 furniture design majors with two teachers in the department. Students are challenged to develop their technical skills and forge a personal design aesthetic. Classes are augmented with visiting artists, field trips and design competitions and shows.

Facility: The bench room has 14 benches and some light-duty tooling including drill presses, scroll saws and mortising equipment. It also has a two-station computer lab as a design resource, a drafting station and a vacuum pressing station for advanced laminating and veneer techniques.



Location: Madison, Wis.

Degree offered: One-year program with technical diploma in cabinetmaking and millwork.

Enrollment: Accommodates 16 students a year, mostly from the local area. The program has a large waiting list, which excludes about 30 students annually.

Facility: 6,500-sq.-ft. shop with CNC machining center.

Uniqueness: Self-directed program that students can complete at their own pace. Theory and how-to instruction provided online, while the workplace safety courses are held at school.

Opportunities: Most graduates enter the architectural millwork industry, usually as shop-level employees. The school also produces CNC operators and programmers.

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Location: Rio Grande, Ohio

Enrollment: 18-26

Facility: 10,000-sq.-ft. shop.

Area of emphasis: Prior to entering the program, students must have completed an Associate of Applied Science degree in Fine Woodworking from a regionally accredited university, college, community college, or technical college. The goal of the school's industrial technology program is to produce a graduate with skills and knowledge needed for technical and management positions in industry.

Other options: The fine woodworking program is a "hands-on" experience, and most of the students' time is spent in the shop building fine furniture. Rio Grande also offers a one-year certificate in fine woodworking, which includes all of the woodworking courses in the two-year program. Graduates of either program will have the skills and knowledge to be productive in custom furniture shops and architectural/ cabinet shops.



Location: Atlanta

Program: The Advanced Wood Products Laboratory is a research and training center within the College of Architecture. For students within the industrial design and furniture programs, studio furniture courses and independent study courses are available. Industry professionals can choose from 20 CAD/CAM-based CNC training classes. Furniture courses offered within the College of Architecture as part of the industrial design program.

Degrees: No degrees are offered in furniture, but students can work toward B.S., M.S. or Ph.D. degrees in industrial design or architecture.

Enrollment: 30 students in furniture courses.

Facility: 13,000-sq.-ft. shop, along with two classrooms/computer labs that seat 10 or 14 people. The shop is fully equipped with at least one 3-axis CNC machine, panel saw, wide belt sander, sliding table saw, and edgebander.



Location: Raleigh, N.C.

Program: Department of Wood and Paper Science offers B.S,. M.S, and Ph.D. degrees in wood products

Enrollment: 40

Faculty: 4

Uniqueness: Students are able to draw upon a large university that has a wide range of other specialties that may match the student's interests, such as engineering, business, forestry, etc. A large wood products lab where students can develop a project in the area of wood utilization. Five $2,000 scholarships for new students are offered each year. There are lots of job opportunities in the North Carolina area for graduates.

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Location: Vancouver, B.C.

Program: Wood Products Processing

Description: Program offers a B.S. degree that includes content from science, engineering and business. It is more of an industrial engineering-type program, directed toward the wood products manufacturing sector. Graduates tend to enter supervisory and management track positions.

Enrollment: 110

Faculty: 15

Facility: Finishing laboratory and a general shop space of more than 10,000 sq. ft.

Uniqueness: This was the first North American program to move from a traditional wood science focus to a more manufacturing focus. The program was started in 1995.



Location: Grand Rapids, Mich.

Degrees offered: B.F.A. in Furniture Design; B.F.A in Sculpture and Functional Arts; B.F.A. with a concentration in woodworking.

Enrollment: 55

Facility: 1,300-sq.-ft. bench room and 2,600-sq.-ft. shop.

Uniqueness: Emphasizes designing for working artists and with four instructors between the two departments, has a small ratio between faculty and students. A private school of a major university. The college was founded on furniture design, and is now in its 80th year.

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Location: West Lafayette, Ind.

Program: Wood Products Manufacturing Technology

Degree offered: B.S.

Program description: Prepares students for management positions in wood products manufacturing, particularly for the hardwood cabinet and furniture industries. It features knowledge in wood and wood products and industrial engineering technology. The Department of Forestry and Natural Resources and the College of Technology jointly administer the program.

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Other programs to check out:

Editors note: Many state universities have woodworking programs and there are too many to list here. For information on craft-oriented schools, please visit our Calendar section.

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