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Bill Houghton, Sebastopol, CA
Classes are good things, but there are lots of other ways to learn too; a lot depends on your range of learning styles.

You might repost this message on the main and hand tools boards - there are surely folks in your neighborhood.

You might google "woodworking club" or "woodworking guild" for your area too. Some of the clubs/guilds are heavily oriented to professionals and focus more on business matters than woodworking; but others are very educationally oriented, and you might find you could connect with "elders" who'd be happy to spend some time with you in their shops.

You will also find a friend at your nearest public library. The public lending library may have been one of Ben Franklin's greatest contributions to American life. They'll have books and videos that you can peruse. Get them all out; read/watch them all. Notice that they sometimes contradict each other, demonstrating that there are lots of ways to do things. Your head will spin; this is normal.

I did most of my adult learning about wood through reading books and trying things out (this was YEARS before VHS, even; to paraphrase a great line from a Garfield show, all we had was woodburning televisions). This resulted in some botched jobs and wasted wood, but I now see it as having been tuition (at the time, it was screaming frustration).

Like Todd O, I think you should start at the shallow end, and assemble a basic kit of hand tools and do some small projects. This will require you to have something to hold the wood still, and, while a lot of people say mean things about them, the Black and Decker Workmates are really pretty useful little benches. You'll eventually work up to a regular workbench, but you're likely to find your Workmate helpful even then.

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