Best Woodworking Classes in California (Reviewed)

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Anyone who knows anything about California knows that it is one of the most innovative places in the world. This do-anything attitude extends to the woodworking classes available all over the state.

California’s beautiful scenery also includes some incredibly unique native woods, such as their infamous redwoods and green pines. If you are interested in learning a new skill alongside motivated, talented people, you will really not be able to find a better place to do it than California!

Round-up of the Best Woodworking Classes in California

We have collected information on all the best woodworking classes in California, broken down by region. No matter where you live within the state, there is an awesome woodworking class for you!

​Best Woodworking Class in California:
William Ng School of Woodworking

​Basic Info

  • Location: 1340 North Dynamics Street, Unit J, Anaheim, California, 92806
  • Main Contact: William Ng
  • Phone Number: (714)-993-4215
  • E-mail: wnwoodworkingschool@gmail.com

PROS

  • Shop has exquisite, state of the art machinery and hand tools
  • Great for beginners and those with a solid amount of woodworking experience
  • Recommended by those with experience teaching woodworking classes as well
  • Instructors are willing to also answer questions on projects you are working on outside of class

Why Did This Class Make Our List?

We loved that this class teaches its attendees to mainly focus on using hand tools, which we have found helps woodworkers to visualize what their final product will look like, even when they move on to working with power tools.

We were also impressed at how small the class sizes are – they are limited to twelve spots, but many attendees report that the typical class is more like five people.

What Types of Programs Are Offered?

William Ng’s school offers classes both within their studios as well as online, although their online classes are not as fleshed out as their in person offerings.

They do not sort their classes by skill level, but rather by woodworking specification, including classes related to carving, finishing, joinery, wood turning, and more.

They do offer a fundamentals class which seems to be the option most geared towards beginning woodworkers. Payment is by class.

​Best Woodworking Class in the Bay Area:
​Humanmade

​Basic Info

  • Location: 150 Hooper Street, #400, San Francisco, CA 94107
  • Main Contact: Ryan Spurlock
  • Phone Number: (415)-484-1437
  • E-mail: info@humanmade.org

PROS

  • Technology is all up to date
  • ​Scheduling one on one time with ​staff is easy
  • Has excellent air filtration and sawdust collection systems
  • Uses top of the line machines, and most machines are completely new

Why Did This Class Make Our List?

The monthly rate to use the space and take the classes at Humanmade provides access to all kinds of different woodworking machines.

The cost of buying, storing, and maintaining your own machines would be significantly higher than the monthly charge, so Humanmade makes woodworking accessible to a lot of people who would not be able to afford it otherwise. Also, all of their machines are industrial level, professional strength!

What Types of Programs Are Offered?

Humanmade is less of a formalized class setting and more of a works pace, with access to all of the woodworking machines you would ever need, as well as experts who can help to answer your most complicated woodworking questions.

Classes are intended for those with more woodworking experience, who would feel comfortable working independently on machines, although they do also offer a variety of classes to get people to that level, including a Fundamental Safety and Operations class. Users pay on a monthly or annual basis to use the space.

​Best Woodworking Class in Los Angeles:
​Allied Woodshop

​Basic Info

  • Location: 407 E Pico Blvd, 10th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90015
  • Main Contact: Laura Zahn
  • Phone Number: None listed
  • E-mail: hello@alliedwoodshop.com

PROS

  • Studio is well lit with lots of comfortable benches
  • Provides a calm environment that fosters curiosity
  • Great way to meet new people with similar interests
  • Located near a lot of great restaurants for grabbing food during class breaks

Why Did This Class Make Our List?

We loved that this woodshop is one of the only options in the entire state that was founded exclusively by a woman (many of the other options on this list have a man and a woman as a co-founders, but Allied Woodshop is the only one founded by a woman alone!).

Classes are also housed in the building’s penthouse suite, so attendees have excellent views of the cityscape and the sunset.

What Types of Programs Are Offered?

Allied Woodshop offers a wide range of programs, including some specifically designed for beginners such as an Intro class and a Fundamentals class, and then a progression of classes focusing on making different kinds of wooden furniture.

They charge on a per class basis. They also have classes specific to certain projects, such as a dovetailed step stool or spoon carving. Additionally, they offer private instruction as well, for a higher price.

​Best Woodworking Class in San Diego
​San Diego Craft

​Basic Info

  • Location: 2590 Truxton Rd., Studio 106, San Diego, CA 92106
  • Main Contact: Steffanie Dotson
  • Phone Number: (619)-273-3235
  • E-mail: make@sandiegocraft.org

PROS

  • Clean workspace
  • Staff is very patient when working with children
  • Offers a woodworking class specifically for women
  • Great for people who are intimidated about working with wood

Why Did This Class Make Our List?

We were impressed at the caliber of instructor expertise available at San Diego Craft. Many of their instructors also teach woodworking classes at colleges around the area, so they are definitely reputable.

If that is not enough for you, one of their founder was actually a former president of the Furniture Society. Plus, they are super family oriented – attendees report that their kids were able to keep their tiny woodworking aprons after they took a kid’s class!

What Types of Programs Are Offered?

San Diego Craft offers classes not just for adults, but also for children, teenagers, and a special offering for parents and children to take classes together.

Their classes tend to focus more on the beginner level, with some focusing on more specific areas, such as making stools. They also offer a wide suite of options beyond just woodworking, such as weaving, making glass jewelry, and working with leather.

​Basic Info

  • Location: 173 Shipley St., SOMA District, San Francisco, CA 94103
  • Main Contact: Christopher and David Steinrueck
  • Phone Number: (415)-512-7040
  • E-mail: brian@woodthumb.com

PROS

  • Recommended for date nights
  • Space is well decorated and has excellent ambiance
  • Many customers reported coming back for more classes
  • Instructors are accommodating with any last minute changes to private events

Why Did This Class Make Our List?

We loved that this class serves beer! (We should clarify, they serve soda and snacks at the beginning of class, the beer is served at the end, after all the power tools have been put away.)

The class is also located in a repurposed old metal workshop from the early 1900’s, so it has a pretty cool atmosphere. The instructors give you a detailed overview, then allow you to work fairly independently, which we think is the best way to learn.

What Types of Programs Are Offered?

Wood Thumb breaks their classes down by levels – if a class is a “Level 2” class, it implies that you need a certain level of woodworking experience in order to thrive in that setting. But, most of their classes are focused on specific projects, such as deco shelves, cutting boards, and tables.

They also offer private events, which are billed as awesome team building opportunities for corporations and organizations. Payment is on a per class or per workshop basis.

​Best Woodworking Class in Sa​cramento:
​Hacker Lab

​Basic Info

  • Location: 2533 R Street, Suite 120, Sacramento
  • Main Contact: Gina Lujan
  • Phone Number: (916)-514-7044
  • E-mail: contact@hackerlab.org

PROS

  • Open twenty four hours a day
  • Offers tools such as a band saw and a lathe
  • Offers on site parking, though the lot is small
  • Specifically designed to be for both students and professionals

Why Did This Class Make Our List?

This maker space not only offers classes run by professionals, but also “community mentorship” classes. These classes are designed for members of the Hacker Lab community who have expertise in a certain specific area to help mentor others in that area.

This focus on community makes Hacker Lab an awesome place to meet other creative people to collaborate with. It doesn’t hurt that it has a totally fantastic location in Midtown Sacramento, too.

What Types of Programs Are Offered?

Hacker Lab offers both classes and a maker space where people can use the company’s machines to work on their own individual projects. Their classes include basic woodworking classes, as well as other focus areas such as laser cutting, working with 3D printing, and even starting your own small business.

Classes are paid for on a per class basis. The maker space is available to members, who have the option to buy a month long membership, a six month long membership, or a year long membership (with special prices for students).

​Basic Info

  • Location: 365-A Clinton Street, Costa Mesa, CA 92626
  • Main Contact: Steve Trindade
  • Phone Number: (949)-296-2153
  • E-mail: info@urbanworkshop.net

PROS

  • Has their own parking lot
  • Convenient central location
  • Also offers classes and summer camps for kids
  • High quality equipment, all professional grade (designed for daily heavy use)

Why Did This Class Make Our List?

The space in this place is unbelievable! It was one of the biggest “maker spaces” around.

Attendees of classes at the Urban Workshop report that it is a stimulating environment full of enthusiastic people, and that they are so satisfied they renew their membership year after year. Also, the owner himself is often on the premises and offers his own personal support on your woodworking projects. 

What Types of Programs Are Offered?

Urban Workshop is a 28,000 square foot working space with basically every tool imaginable, and classes to operate everything if you do not come in already equipped with the knowledge.

They have a wide range of classes, but their woodworking classes include several different “basics” options, some specifically focused options, and some options designated “advanced.” You pay on a per class basis, with members who also utilize their workspace receiving a discounted price.

​Best Woodworking Class in East Bay:
​Palo Alto Adult School

​Basic Info

  • Location: Palo Alto Adult School, Tower Building, 50 Embarcadero Road, Palo Alto, CA 94301
  • Main Contact: Dave Hoshiwara
  • Phone Number: (650)-329-3752
  • E-mail: adultschool@pausd.org

PROS

  • Teachers are knowledgeable and very patient
  • Instructors are great at mixing education with fun
  • Recommended by beginners who did not know anything about woodworking
  • Offers a variety of different registration options, online, over the phone, by mail, or in person

Why Did This Class Make Our List?

This is probably one of the best class options on this list for working adults. Because it is held through an adult education program, classes are always offered during the evening or on weekends, so they are super easy to fit around a normal professional work schedule.

Also, this workshop is conveniently located next to some pretty awesome restaurants for grabbing a bite to eat after class is over.

What Types of Programs Are Offered?

Because this organization is run like a school, classes follow a curriculum. The woodworking classes are offered at four different levels.

Level 1 teaches students fundamentals in making a basic table, Level 2 moves on to a floating top bench, Level 3 begins to incorporate power tools, and Level 4 is an open shop option for students to work on their own projects. Each class is limited to only fifteen minutes, and you pay on a per class basis.

​Best Woodworking Class in San Jose:
Santa Clara Adult Education

​Basic Info

  • Location: 1840 Benton Street, Santa Clara, CA, 95050
  • Main Contact: Rachael Peterson
  • Phone Number: 408-423-3525
  • E-mail: rpeterson@scusd.net

PROS

  • Offers free Wi-Fi
  • Staff give great advice
  • Very clean and well organized
  • Machines are well-maintained

Why Did This Class Make Our List?

This class is a standout option for older adults who want to pick up a new skill. Attendees report that the instructors are patient, thorough, attentive, and entertaining, and that even the woodworking classes that are more focused on specific projects are still an excellent option for beginning woodworkers. Their space is well designed and laid out to maximize safety and distance between students.

In addition to specialty classes, Santa Clara Adult Education offers a comprehensive 10 week class for beginner wood workers. Students can choose their own projects and then are assisted and coached by their professional woodworking instructors.

What Types of Programs Are Offered?

The woodworking classes offered by Santa Clara Adult Education are mostly focused on particular projects, such as building a step stool, a shelving rack, a keepsake box, a cutting board, etc.

They do offer a fundamentals class as well as Level 1 and Level 2 furniture design (their fundamentals and Level 1 classes are not just designed for beginners, but also those with experience who have not worked with wood in a long time and want a refresher). You pay on a per class basis.

​Best Woodworking Class in Oakland:
​The Crucible​​​

​Basic Info

  • Location: 1260 7th Street, Oakland, CA 94607
  • Main Contact: Alyssa Stone
  • Phone Number: (510)-444-0919
  • E-mail: info@thecrucible.org

PROS

  • Very kid friendly
  • Nonprofit organization
  • Excellent date night idea
  • Teachers are not just skilled at the craft, but skilled at actually teaching, and very professional

Why Did This Class Make Our List?

This workshop is a great option if you are not just seeking to learn more about woodworking, but also to connect with other people with similar woodworking interests.

After every class, the Crucible provides beer and wine, and the opportunity for a “social hour” with other class participants. It is an excellent way to begin building a woodworking community. Attendees say instructors also take time to build camaraderie during the classes themselves as well.

What Types of Programs Are Offered?

The Crucible offers classes both for adults and for kids, along with summer camp options for children. They have both woodworking and wood turning classes that follow a curriculum, with Level 1 reserved for beginners and Level 2 as a step up.

They also have a fundamentals class, and classes for specific projects, including wood pens, wooden toys, wooden benches, and more. Pay is on a per class basis, with a reduced price for members.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are an incredible amount of fantastic woodworking classes in California.

No matter where you live, you are going to be able to connect to a class that matches your skill level, and may give you some additional benefits, such as access to top quality tools or the opportunity to connect with other woodworkers in your area.