Is There Woodworking At Hotchkiss School


Hotchkiss School has many fascinating stories to tell, but there’s one in particular that’s particularly inspiring”woodworking at Hotchkiss. The school has a storied history of fostering an environment ideal for bringing together artistic creativity with hands-on craftsmanship, and through its programs, provides students with the opportunity to hone their skills in this engaging form of expression. Former president George H.W. Bush encapsulated the Hotchkiss spirit when he said “The hot quiet enthusiasm behind the physical and technical skill needed for woodworking symbolizes what we at Hotchkiss are about.”

At Hotchkiss School, woodworking is taught as both an art and a science”students can build projects from scratch or refurbish vintage items such as furniture or musical instruments. Courses focus on using hand tools as well as power tools to shape everything from airplanes to cabinets, often employing sustainable materials for practical applications. Students also have access to professional quality machines like specialized saws and drills”allowing them to bring their ideas to life with precision and accuracy.

In addition to developing product designs, courses at Hotchkiss emphasize safety protocols such as wearing protective gear, proper sharpening techniques of blades, sanding techniques and more”teaching students how to work with materials in a way that minimizes errors while maximizing efficiency. Through practices such as these, the school continues its mission of preparing students for college by instilling values not just limited within the walls of classrooms but also extend into real world experiences.

Overview of Hotchkiss School

Hotchkiss School is a pre-eminent, co-ed boarding school located in Lakeville, Connecticut. Founded in 1891 by Maria Harrison and Bertram Hotchkiss, it has become one of the most well recognized private schools in the country and is known for its rigorous academics as well as its tight knit and vibrant community.

Over the years, Hotchkiss has established itself as an educational institution renowned for its unparalleled commitment to academic excellence, with students being offered a “liberal arts education” which emphasizes writing, critical thinking, scientific exploration and interdisciplinary research.

Activities such as woodworking are also offered at Hotchkiss School. Woodworking classes help foster creativity and problem solving skills while teaching basic craftsmanship techniques such as planing, sawing, drilling and sanding. Students can learn about different types of woods used for construction projects or honing their abilities to design custom furniture pieces or sculptures if desired. These classes teach practical skills that undergraduate students can take with them long into their adult lives wherever they choose to pursue their creative endeavors.

History of Woodworking at Hotchkiss School

Woodworking at Hotchkiss School dates back to the early 1920s when the first Woodcraft Vocational program was established in 1923. At the time, it trained students in basic woodworking techniques, industrial design, and cabinet making with an emphasis on craftsmanship. Throughout its history, woodworking at Hotchkiss has produced pieces of lasting value while offering students a chance to learn valuable shop skills.

Why Is Woodworking an Important Skill

In 1960, Hotchkiss began an advanced carving and joinery program which focused on producing beautiful work of a higher standard than typical projects found in vocational shops of that time. Students worked on intricate projects such as highboy furniture or grandfather clocks, learning about traditional joinery methods as well as advanced techniques.

Notable alumni who have come out of this program include master craftsman Richard Fogg, who designed and built recreations of classic 18th century furniture for some prominent individuals including President John F. Kennedy; Van LaBarre Perry Jr., whose love for crafting inspired him to found The Perry School of Traditional Woodworking; and mechanical engineer George Hersey Johnson III who founded Hotchkiss DesignWorks. These former students have gone on to become part of the top echelon in the field of woodworking today and are helping shape the future of this exciting field.

Current Woodworking Programs

Yes, there is woodworking at Hotchkiss School. Through the school’s specialized program of technical arts, students develop and refine their skills in carpentry, furniture making, and other related crafts. The classes are focused on teaching fundamental technique while challenging students to design, construct and complete advanced projects.

In addition to the technical arts classes, Hotchkiss also has a woodworking club where students can share ideas and learn from each other. During their time in the club, they build various items such as wood sculptures and cabinets for homes or bedrooms. Many competitions are held throughout the year for members of this club. Experienced staff members mentor these aspiring woodworkers and provide guidance as they work on more sophisticated projects. Those with seniority often help younger students to develop their carpentry skill set. Hotchkiss is also known for its “Build A Boat” competition that focuses on designing boats from recycled materials and sailing them down the Housatonic River. This event is widely attended by many alumni for an afternoon of fun and skill building!

Benefits of Woodworking At Hotchkiss School

Woodworking is an important part of any educational program and it plays a big role at Hotchkiss School. Not only does woodworking teach students technical skills, but it also has many emotional and social benefits as well.

Woodworking can help to develop problem-solving skills, attention to detail, concentration, and accuracy in a safe and calming environment. These are all important accomplishments that will help students think analytically and take initiative.

Starter Woodworking

Woodworking also gives Hotchkiss students an opportunity to express themselves creatively. Working with different raw materials allows them to think outside the box and use their imagination in ways that they may not be able to do in other academic settings. Plus, they get the satisfaction of creating something beautiful out of wood or another material that can be kept for years afterwards.

Finally, woodworking can bring students together because of its collaborative nature”they learn from each other by teaching one another new techniques or sharing ideas and strategies on how to improve designs. This can have positive effects on communication skills as well as social relationships within the school community.


Yes, there is woodworking at Hotchkiss School and it is a great way to build skills while learning valuable lessons that can be applied throughout your life. Woodworking classes at the school teach fundamental concepts of the craft and support students in developing their skills in areas such as carpentry, cabinetmaking, and furniture design. Skills acquired through the woodworking program are applicable in many professions and even when used on a purely recreational level they provide an outlet to express oneself creatively.

The importance of woodworking as an extracurricular activity can’t be overstated – it not only encourages manual dexterity but also provides insight into larger processes such as making measurements, troubleshooting techniques for assembly, honing problem solving abilities, and understanding how working with wood materials relates to larger objects or projects.

Hotchkiss School offers outstanding opportunities for budding woodworkers where students receive individual instruction from experienced specialists. The programming emphasizes safety and self-direction while allowing students to take ownership in creating their projects from inception to finish. With experts available to fine-tune student’s technique or discuss project direction, woodworking at Hotchkiss can noticeably advance any artisan’s skill for novice or advanced levels of experience.

For anyone considering enrolling in the woodworking programs offered by Hotchkiss School (or already attending!), we encourage you to explore the school website further! There you will find invaluable information about curricula related to more than just woodworking – painting, welding, even jewelry-making courses may captivate your interests!

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