Woodworking Basics: Understanding Wood


Woodworking Basics: Understanding Wood

Learn how to choose the right wood for whatever woodworking project you have planned.

Meeting Times
  1. Wed, 4/3/2024 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Wed, 4/3/2024


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Class, No Prerequisite

Woodworking & Small Boatbuilding Studio

General Woodworking, Free at BARN


When you're planning a project, do you choose wood by color? By how hard it is? By its grain pattern? The right answer usually involves several factors, but it really depends on what you want to build.

This class starts with hands-on exploration of different wood types, then goes on to a discussion about how wood grows and how that influences the look and performance of lumber. Learn about moisture content and wood movement, and how that influences the wood you should choose for various projects. You'll also learn why the best option, in some cases, isn't natural lumber but a panel product, such as plywood or even particleboard.

This class is a component of BARN's Woodworking Basics Certificate program, which includes 14 classes and a mentored final project. Learn more »

You do not need to be a certificate student to take this class.


A $15 materials fee, included in the class fee, covers samples of different types of wood that you will work with to see how they vary.

Class Policies

  • Ages 14 and up are welcome.
  • You must wear safety glasses and closed-toe shoes, tie back long hair, and avoid loose-fitting clothing and jewelry. We recommend bringing your own safety glasses.

BARN Policies

Instructors or Guides

Ben Dykstra

Ben Dykstra has been a woodworker for almost 30 years and has expertise in custom furniture and high-end kitchen cabinetry. He has worked with youth for more than 10 years and currently teaches middle school woodshop and high school technical drawing and CAD.

Jeanne Huber

A founding member of BARN, Jeanne worked on her homes for years, then had a chance to become immersed in woodworking through the Preservation Carpentry program at North Bennet Street School in Boston. After working briefly as a carpenter in Cambridge, she was hired as an editor at This Old House magazine and went on to write for other magazines, Sunset Books and the Washington Post.

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