Best Woodworking Classes in the San Francisco Bay Area (Reviewed)

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San Francisco may not be the first city that comes to mind when you think of a place that supports woodworking – with all of those tiny apartments, how could anyone have a wood shop? But there are actually tons of woodworking classes and spaces available in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Northern California is home to some of the most beautiful woods in the world, including their infamous redwoods, so it is a natural extension for woodworking classes in San Francisco to take advantage of that beauty. Check out some of the best woodworking classes in the area!

Round-up of the Best Woodworking Classes in the San Francisco Bay Area

We were able to compile an extensive list of all of the most awesome woodworking classes and spaces in the Bay Area. These include options for beginners, and even for kids!

​Best Woodworking Class in​ San Francisco:
​Wood Thumb

​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

  • ​Instructors often give personalized help to individual students
  • Workshop space itself has excellent ambiance with great decorations
  • If you are scheduling a private event, the instructors are ​flexible with changes/accommodations
  • Attendees ​have generally been so pleased with their experience they often report coming back for more classes

Why Did This Class Make Our List?

In true San Francisco style, this class serves beer! Obviously, the beverages are served at the end of the class, after all of the machinery has been turned off (they serve soda and snacks at the beginning of the class).

And if you are looking for a great atmosphere, this workshop has it – it is an old, repurposed metal workshop from the early 1900’s.

What Types of Programs Are Offered?

Wood Thumb offers both beginner and more advanced classes, which they break down by levels. Level 1 usually indicated a beginner class, while the Level 2 classes require a bit more experience.

The majority of their classes center around completing certain projects, such as cutting boards, tables, and shelves. Wood Thumb also offers excellent private events for corporations to bring their teams too as offsite team bonding. They charge on a per class basis.

​Best Kid-Friendly Woodworking Class in San Francisco:
​The Butterfly Joint

​Basic Info

  • Location: 4411 Cabrillo Street, San Francisco, CA 94121
  • Main Contact: Danny Montoya
  • Phone Number: (415)-894-2685
  • E-mail: make@thebutterflyjoint.com

PROS

  • Engaging for both kids and adults
  • Works with local​ woods (salvaged redwoods)
  • Teachers are great with educating students about safety
  • Does not require kids to have any previous woodworking experience
  • They are open to adults as well, one customer even booked her bachelorette party here!

Why Did This Class Make Our List?

This class is far and above the best option for children’s woodworking classes. The owner/instructor, Daniel, is excellent to work with, often going above and beyond, such as showing parents the space beforehand if they want to book it for their child’s birthday party.

In addition to woodworking, the classes also provide instruction on manners and social skills for the kids. Daniel is a former kindergarten teacher, so he definitely knows what he’s doing!

What Types of Programs Are Offered?

The Butterfly Joint provides woodworking classes for children two years and older. They offer camps for when children are out of school, including spring break and summer breaks, as well as after school and Saturday sessions throughout the year.

Classes are broken out by grade level (kindergarten through fifth grade, third grade through fifth grade, etc. Most classes are focused on specific projects, such as making doll beds or wall art.

​Best DIY Woodworking Class in San Francisco:
​Workshop SF

​Basic Info

  • Location: ​1798 McAllister St, San Francisco, CA
  • Main Contact: ​Kelly Malone and David Knight
  • Phone Number: ​(415)-874-9186
  • E-mail: ​info@workshopsf.org

PROS

  • ​Provides free Wi-Fi
  • ​Space is clean and bright
  • ​Great way to meet fun, creative people
  • ​Good option for those with little woodworking experience

Why Did This Class Make Our List?

Workshop SF’s slogan is “drink beer, make stuff.” They have an assortment of goodies in their vending machine and attendees are welcome to BYOB (and food!) as well.

Attendees report that the space has excellent decorations and overall great ambiance. Classes at Workshop SF are highly recommended specifically for date nights and for offsite corporate events, and their funny, informative instructors are always a good time.

What Types of Programs Are Offered?

Workshop SF’s focus is on teaching do it yourself classes using equipment that the average person could afford to buy and store in their home. They offer classes in sewing, home brewing beer, weaving, and, of course, woodworking.

Their woodworking class is a three part series designed for beginners and intermediate woodworkers, to teach folks fundamentals and also give them a finished piece (a three level shelf) to take home. Payment is on a per class basis.

​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: ​i​nfo@humanmade.org

PROS

  • ​In a safe location
  • ​Uses the latest machine technology
  • ​Scheduling one on one time with a staff member is​ pretty easy
  • ​Air filtration and sawdust collection systems keep the space very clean

Why Did This Class Make Our List?

The amount of machines available to those working the Humanmade space is staggering. When you factor in how expensive it would be for you to buy, store, and maintain all of these different machines, you can see that Humanmade’s monthly membership fee is a steal of a deal. And these are not your average machines either – all of them are designed for use on the industrial level.

What Types of Programs Are Offered?

Humanmade is intended to be a workspace for all types of creative people to come together and work on their personal projects. Their workshop has all the woodworking machines you can imagine, as well as access to experts who will be able to give advice on all of your woodworking needs.

They offer a Fundamental Safety and Operations class to get you up to speed, and then you can use the machines as you need. Memberships are charged on a monthly or annual basis.

Best Beginner Woodworking Class in the Bay Area:
Pleasant Hill Education Center (PHEC)

​Basic Info

  • Location: Lifelong Education Office, One Santa Barbara Rd., Pleasant Hill, CA 9452
  • Main Contact: ​​None listed
  • Phone Number: ​​(925)-937-1530
  • E-mail: ​​lifelonged@mdusd.org

PROS

  • ​The space feels very peaceful
  • ​Sessions are very well organized
  • ​Safety is a top priority for class attendees
  • ​Instructors are great at giving personalized help

Why Did This Class Make Our List?

This class is the best option for beginners mostly because of the high quality of the class instructors. They are exceptionally knowledgeable due to their years and years of woodworking experience, and they are also friendly, accessible, entertaining, and patient.

Pleasant Hill also uses only the highest quality tools, and attendees report they are on the ball when it comes to keeping their tools sharpened.

What Types of Programs Are Offered?

You can take classes on woodworking, wood turning, and wood carving all here at the Pleasant Hill Education Center.

They have by far the best offering of classes for beginner woodworkers, including a two part Intro to Woodworking class series, a two part Joinery class, and a class specifically dedicated to the use of hand tools. 

Once you progress beyond the beginner level, there are “Master Series” classes, as well as open shop time to work on your own independent projects. Payment is on a per class basis.

​Best ​​Wood-Turning Class in the Bay Area:
​Lower 48

​Basic Info

  • Location: West Oakland at 1212 19th street Oakland, CA
  • Main Contact:​ Jolie Karno
  • Phone Number: ​None listed
  • E-mail: ​​​hello@lower48.org

PROS

  • ​Has free Wi-Fi
  • ​Staff is welcoming and friendly
  • ​Has a high focus on attendee safety
  • ​Instructors are fun and helpful, and make sure to break down every step

Why Did This Class Make Our List?

This class is probably the top on our list for focusing on inclusiveness. Recognizing that many woodworking classes are cost prohibitive for a lot of people, they offer the option for attendees to work volunteer hours in their shop if they can’t afford to pay the rate.

With this, they have an open lab time so those who don't have access to a shop can come and use theirs. Of course, this is after the safety and skills training has been properly covered.  

Also, their class sizes are small enough to where instructors are able to make sure that every attendee feels comfortable before they move on to the next step.

What Types of Programs Are Offered?

Lower 48 specifically focuses on opening up their wood turning programs to members of marginalized communities who may not normally have access to woodworking and wood turning machines.

They offer classes for women, and encourage people of color and members of the LGBTQ community to join their programs. Their classes are designed for beginners and those with little woodworking experience, particularly those who may be intimidated by the concept. However, if you are looking for a more advanced environment, they have you covered there as well. 

Conclusion

As you can see, there is certainly no shortage of awesome woodworking classes available in the San Francisco Bay Area. If you are looking for a great workspace, a fun option for your kids to learn basic woodworking skills, a cute new idea for a date night, or a place to get serious about your woodworking hobby, San Francisco has got you covered.