Building A Woodworking School from Scratch
I talked with Mark Luna from Sound Foundation Woodworking Academy in Davenport, Ia. The idea of SFWA started when Mark went to a hand tool show in Amana, Iowa called Handworks. He'd been following along in social media many of the vendors from all across the world that go to that show and wanted to experience it.
I had just built my first and only woodworking project and was interested in doing more. While in line for a book I didn't know anything about, but noticed there was a long line for, a guy walked up and asked if I wanted a book, which I replied yes of course. He asked what I did for woodworking and I explained I hadn't done much I'd only built a guitar. He got wide eyed and jaw opened and said the first thing you did was build a guitar??
He had just met Christopher Schwarz, the author of the book he was holding. It ended up bing his work helped inspire Mark's desire to build a school.
Mark's foray into woodworking began when whe started playing guitar. Jonny Lang was one of his favorites and Mark loved one of his favorite signature guitars. So he took a class to learn to build it. In that process Jonny learned about it and before it was complete they made plans for him to see it. Mark took it backstage during a meet and greet.
Jonny was so so gracious about it. He played it, commented on how much it looked a like and was even lighter. He then handed me his guitar, the one I've emulated and dreamed about, to show me mine in fact was even lighter than his. Dream come true.
Talking with others in the Quad Cities, Mark learned there hadn't been much education in the area around woodworking. A friend's son needed to build a pine wood derby car but his didn't have the know how or the tools.
Schools have taken away a large percentage of the vocational programs as well. Building, creating, sharing are all things I'm very passionate about and love the idea of bringing that to others. The school has provided that so far. We've had all types of people, different gender, generations and so forth come in. Some to finally get to experience what they've wanted to try but didn't know how, some to take existing skills and expound on them, and some to come in to build something special for themselves or loved ones. We've had scouts come in to build their projects. We've had Davenport school woodworking students come in to see next level craftsmanship and learn how they can be involved in woodworking for a career and beyond. We've had people come in and build a passion they didn't know they had.
We're very fortunate to have instructors in the area with a great desire to help others and be involved. They're doing their best now by building projects for people to keep the school afloat till they can open up. They're selling hardwood lumber and doing curbside and delivery.
Right now They're building a lot of home gym equipment like Plyo boxes and will be making classes for people to learn to build their own home gym equipment.
Sound Foundation Woodworking Academy
5000 Tremont Ave Suite 105 Davenport.