The Southwest School of Woodworking is the only comprehensive woodworking school in the southwest. Based in Phoenix, Arizona, we teach woodworking and craftsmanship to students at all skill levels.

With our hands-on classes and low student-to-teacher ratio, we offer a contemporary update to the Old World tradition of mentorship in craft education.

The core of our school is our world-class faculty, which is made up of regular and visiting teachers who are all professional woodworkers working at the highest levels of the craft. We are proud of our ability to attract leading instructors from Arizona and beyond, including many of the pre-eminent names in contemporary woodworking.

We emphasize personal instruction with eight or fewer students in most classes. This ensures that each student is able to learn effectively and to enjoy personal guidance from our skilled faculty.

Our comfortable school building includes separate and well-equipped rooms for bench work and power tools, as well as a dedicated turning studio with full-size floor lathes.

 

Curriculum


We offer a full and varied curriculum to engage woodworkers from novices to professionals, with many classes open to beginners.

At least three times a year we offer our three-part Fundamentals of Traditional Woodworking series, which provides a foundation for accomplishment and mastery. This series is designed to guide total beginners through the key skills of traditional woodworking as they complete progressively more complex projects.

We also offer regular classes in specialized topics such as design, finishing, inlay, veneering, turning, and tool care, as well as project classes and weekend workshops which allow students to practice their skills under the guidance of an experienced professional woodworker to produce a finished work.

At the highest level, we offer Master classes that allow more advanced woodworkers an opportunity to refine their skills and work with contemporary masters as they build complex furniture and other projects.

 

History

The Southwest School of Woodworking was founded in 2013, when Phoenix furniture-maker Raúl Ramírez recognized a need for high-quality woodworking education in the southwest.

Collaborating with other woodworkers from Arizona and beyond, Raúl began to sketch out the idea for a school that would provide a comprehensive woodworking curriculum and serve everyone from hobbyist to professional.

Starting with just a few classes per year taught in a borrowed room at the Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery in South Phoenix, the school grew quickly as it attracted eager students of all ages.

In 2015, the school moved to its own building on the campus of Rio Salado College in downtown Phoenix. With multiple classrooms, a fully-outfitted machine shop, a dedicated turning studio, and even a woodworking gallery, the school has expanded to serve hundreds of students annually with year-round classes in a wide array of disciplines.

Many of our students have found employment in cabinet shops and related businesses, some have started their own woodworking studios, and many others have developed a fulfilling creative outlet.

Meanwhile, we continue to seek new ways to serve our community through woodworking education.

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