Customized Workshops

Learn Fine Woodworking in My Shop at Your Own Pace -- one-on-one or in a small group.

I teach fine woodworking much like I was taught by my mentor James Krenov. The approach emphasizes the refined use of hand-tools and a keen awareness and appreciation for the expressive qualities found in wood. My shop is located in the beautifully pastoral mountain area of Valle Crucis, NC just outside of Boone. We are replete with charming bed and breakfast inns, hotels, fine dining, antiquing, and other shopping opportunities. Golfing, skiing, zip-lines, tubing, hiking, rock climbing, fishing, and whitewater opportunities abound.

Private Instruction

I am happy to teach you one-on-one in my shop as our schedules permit. The advantages are customized offerings, hands-on work, and my undiluted attention. A typical 7-1/2 hour day involves 2-4 hours of lecture and demonstration. The remainder of the day is hands-on work for the student, while I resume my own work. You are encouraged to interact with me as needed for coaching. The most popular arrangement has been two days of plane making instruction. Other topics have included dovetailing, dovetailed box with a frame and panel lid, tools and techniques, wall cabinet with glass or coopered door, and project development. What is your particular interest? 

Cost is $200/day. Bring a friend and save $25 a day each; bring two friends and save $50 a day each. Start at 8:30 AM and end at 5:00 PM each day. Lunch is provided.

You will be required to sign a liability waiver to participate in any workshop.


Note: deposit of $200 mailed to contact address at page bottom or sent via PayPal is required to schedule workshop. Full refund if request is made at least 7 days prior to start of workshop.

"…Thank you for another excellent workshop. As usual the students left on a real high. Your patience and willingness to share together with your knowledge and talent make you a nearly unbeatable instructor…"
Tim Pyles
Crafts Coordinator, Cedar Lakes Craft Center
Ripley, WV
"…I feel deeply privileged to have had the opportunity to work with someone of the stature of David Finck. He is a great person, a talented artist, a skilled craftsman and an excellent teacher. I am still reeling from the amount that I learned in such a short time. I have been able to put many of these ideas to work for me in my own hobby shop and it is increasing my enjoyment of woodworking tremendously…"
Workshop participant
Peters Valley Craft Center
Layton, NJ


Here's what I bring to the bench as a woodworking instructor. In 1984 I began two years of intensive (six days a week, eight to ten hours a day) study at the College of the Redwoods Fine Woodworking Program under the direction of master craftsman James Krenov. I was schooled in the techniques of traditional furniture making as well as an effective method of designing. Since that time I have run my own studio designing and building furnishings, lighting, accessories and acoustic guitars. I have been a full-time violin maker since 2012. View more info on that here:  I've enjoyed sharing my experience with others since the start of my career. I've taught a variety of technique oriented workshops at craft centers, schools and guilds on both coasts, the mid-West, North and South for as little as four to as many as sixteen participants at a go. I invite you to browse my web site for a complete picture of what I do.

Some Past Offerings...

Making and Mastering Wood Planes

Romance and results? Wood planes deliver both. What could be better than using tools you made yourself, especially ones that match or exceed the performance of the finest available? I think you will be impressed at both the ease of construction and phenomenal capabilities of these wooden planes. We'll start with efficient and effective sharpening and what makes any type of plane tick. Then, you will watch me build the plane start to finish. That’s followed by demonstrations of seamlessly edge joining boards, then flattening, truing, and polishing surfaces to gleaming perfection. We'll cover use of shooting boards for squaring and trimming, and also using planes for profiling edges. A close look at preparing and using cabinet scrapers concludes the day. The workshop is suitable for those at any skill level and is geared to woodworkers seeking exceptional tools and the ability to use them skillfully. My book Making and Mastering Wood Planes, Newly published by Hickory Ridge Press and now in its 3rd printing, is the perfect complement to the workshop.

Stable Surfaces of Wood:
The Frame and Panel, and Veneering with Bandsawn Veneers

Two classic approaches to wood movement in one workshop. A frame surrounds a floating panel to create a surface with a constant perimeter -- a truly elegant and classic solution to the problem of wood movement. We’ll discuss design considerations, joinery options and wood selection. Then, I’ll demonstrate the process from start to finish. Veneering offers important benefits: stable, unmoving surfaces and exciting opportunities for stretching harmonious grain patterns around a piece of furniture. But micro-thin commercially available veneers, while pretty, are both fragile and fussy to work with. Bandsawn veneers are another story. Cut on your own saw, they are sufficiently thick -- just shy of 1/8" -- to be worked like solid wood, with durability to match. We will cover wood and core selection, aspects of design, joining veneers, use of edge gluings, adhesive selection, options for pressing (especially vacuum pressing), and all aspects of tuning up a bandsaw for this demanding work.

Elements of Fine Cabinetry

We will explore many features and subtleties of fine-cabinetry as exemplified by my mentor James Krenov and bolstered by my own 25 years of experience with fine cabinetmaking. We’ll start with design pointers, move to a method of doweling that results in highly reliable corner joints, then add the details: installing knife hinges, making wooden latches, shelf supports and handles, creating edge profiles, and methods of hanging a wall-mounted cabinet. We’ll discuss options for doors and back panels including, frame and panel, veneered, glass, and solid wood. Students can expect to leave with a solid understanding of the entire process.

A Dovetailed Box

Explore a refined approach to creating hand-cut dovetail joinery. The goal is to build a small box with through dovetails that are strong,  well-proportioned, and well-crafted.  A sliding lid of quarter-sawn material will complete the box. We will also encounter many nuances of hand tool preparation and use. Given sufficient time I will also demonstrate half-blind dovetailing and applications for drawer construction. A hinged frame and panel lid can be substituted for a longer and more advanced experience.