CHAMPAIGN — A new woodworking school will open in Champaign this month, and several celebrity woodworkers will be on hand to help launch it.
The CU Woodshop School of Woodworking will operate from the former HL Precision Machining building at 1302 Parkland Court, C.
A grand opening is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 22 in the 8,000-square-foot instructional facility.
The open house will include appearances by three celebrity woodworkers:
— Tim Yoder, host of the "Woodturning Workshop" TV show.
— George Vondriska, managing editor for the WoodWorkers Guild of America.
— Donna Menke, a well-known woodcarver and author from Texas.
During the open house, area residents will have the chance to meet the trio, tour the school, meet instructors, enjoy refreshments, register for prizes and sign up for classes.
Plus, in the days leading up to the open house — Sept. 19 to Sept. 21 — the school will host six celebrity-taught woodworking classes. Each celebrity woodworker will teach two classes.
CU Woodshop Supply, a retail woodworking store, opened at 1401 Parkland Court, C, in 2009 and began offering woodworking classes in 2010 in partnership with Parkland College.
As demand for classes increased, so did the need for additional teaching space.
Dennis Coleman, president of CU Woodshop Supply, said he bought the building at 1302 Parkland Court, C, last fall, and HL Precision Machining moved to its new location on Round Barn Road soon afterward.
"We spent over six months remodeling it," Coleman said of the building. "Half of it is being used for the school."
Another 4,000 square feet is being used as warehouse space for the retail store, and the remaining 4,000 square feet may end up being leased out, he said.
Coleman said the building was "an excellent place to set up a workshop designed specifically for teaching classes."
The workshop has been outfitted with professional-grade equipment, including table saws, band saws, miter saws, planers, router tables, drill presses, a spindle sander, belt-disk sander, edge sander, molder and shaper, among other pieces of equipment.
The school will continue to offer classes in partnership with Parkland and will also host its own classes.
Many of the courses are aimed at hobbyists, but some classes will teach techniques that will benefit professional woodworkers.
Most classes will be hands-on and limited to six to eight students, with each student having his or her own workbench and a 4-by-8-foot assembly table.
Some classes sponsored by Parkland are already meeting in the building, Coleman said.
One impetus for opening the school, Coleman said, was that CU Woodshop Supply had hired a new employee, Mike Van Pelt, who had operated his own woodworking school in Cloverdale, Ind., and was eager to teach again.
The woodworking school is expected to have a website up and running soon, Coleman said. In the meantime, CU Woodshop Supply's website, http://www.cuwoodshop.com , has a list of the fall classes and will eventually have a link to the school website.
Celebrity-taught classes coming up this month include:
— "Introduction to Woodturning," taught by Yoder, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 19 or Sept. 21 (a one-day class offered twice).
— "Turned Christmas Ornament," taught by Yoder, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 20.
— "Cabinetmaking I," taught by Vondriska, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 19 and Sept. 20 (a two-day class).
— "Introduction to Woodworking," taught by Vondriska, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 21.
— "Woodcarving Peeking Mouse," taught by Menke, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 19 and Sept. 20 (a two-day class).
— "Painting for Carvers, Understanding Color," taught by Menke, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 21.
For more information on the classes, contact John Williams at CU Woodshop Supply, 355-1244, or email@example.com .