Open Shop

Open Shop allows you to build your own project, while utilizing our extensive array of tools. You get access to tablesaws, jointers, planers, router tables, chop saws and band saws, and a variety of hand tools as well as storage space for your work-in-progress. You provide wood and hardware for your project. Check here for a few local sources for quality rough hardwoods. We provide screws, nails, sandpaper, biscuits and glue.

You also get access to an experienced instructor who can guide you through the process, as needed. However, we do expect that you can work independently and safely.

You are also welcome to use our lathes for turning. If you have no turning experience, we will require you to take one or more of our turning classes.

Open Shop hours are for hobbyists only, not for professional woodworkers. If you are a professional woodworker who requires the use of specialty equipment, please contact us for our professional rate.

Hours are purchased in groups and never expire:
3 Hour Trial Run – $45
20 hours – $240
50 hours – $500
75 hours – $675
100 hours – $800

Open Shop Hours:

Check out the calendar to the right for up-to-date open shop dates and times.

A Few Important Caveats

You must have completed Fine Woodworking Level I AND either Level II or Cabinetmaking OR can demonstrate to the instructor in advance that you know how to safely and confidently operate woodworking machinery. If you have extensive woodworking experience but have never or rarely milled rough lumber, you will be required to take our half-day Milling workshop. If you have completed the Basic Woodworking course, you may take Open Shop but are limited to the tools you learned in your course.

You will be required to check in/check out for each session on the shop computer. This is how we track the hours used.

You must already have a project idea and plans that include a cutlist. Sources for plans are listed below, if you don’t already have one. The instructor can provide guidance if you wish to modify an existing plan, but cannot be expected to walk you through the design and drawing process from scratch.

The project must also be of a reasonable size for storage on site and of reasonable complexity, as determined by the instructor or staff. NESAW reserves the right to reject or charge more for larger projects or ones that would cause undue wear and tear to our machinery.

A Few Sources for Project Plans:

American Woodworker
New Yankee Workshop
Fine Woodworking



Student Projects


Christmas Gifts – Rich

Rich took our Intro to Fine Woodworking – Level 1 class for the first time a couple of years ago.  For Christmas, he decided to make the same box for six of his family members.  To refresh his skills, he took Level 1 again, and signed up for open shop.  Each week, he dutifully went to class, then came to open shop the same week to apply his skills to the gift boxes.  To make it even more of a challenge, he used a curly maple, a difficult wood to work.  He’s glad he did; the boxes are stunning!  In addition to creating beautiful gifts, he felt that he improved his skills quite a bit due to the repetition each week.  Great job, Rich!