Cosman-Smrek Host Ontario Based Workshop Training Program

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Two woodworking educators, Mike Smrek and Rob Cosman are teaming up for two, back to back week long woodworking training courses along the Welland River at Mikes family farm in Ontario near the outskirt’s of the Niagara Falls area.  Mike is a woodshop teacher in Niagara Falls and also played for the NBA Lakers for 4 years, then in Europe.  Mike takes care of the facilities and the meals during this instructional event and perhaps even some entertainment, playing his guitar!

12 spots are available in each of these two-week classes, but space is limited and you will need to reserve your spot ASAP!  In the past, both of these workshops have sold out quickly, so if you want to attend, book today!  You do not have to take both classes, however, the second class prerequisite is having some of Rob’s instruction on fundamentals.

The main attraction beyond the beautiful & rustic setting is planned for July 7th through the 11th, 2014 and July 14th through the 18th, 2014.  The first week, Rob teaches “Training the Hand” with these daily agendas:


Monday- 8am-8pm, “Essentials of Free Hand Sharpening”
-Stone preparation, flattening, truing and maintaining your stones
-Free-hand sharpening plane blades for smoothers, blocks, jointers, shoulder and scrub planes
-Free-hand sharpening of chisels including grinding primary bevels, back preparation and honing secondary and tertiary bevels
-Free-hand sharpening of dovetail saws

Tuesday- 8am-8pm, “Plane Basics”
-Squaring the edge using several planes, block, smoother and jointer
-Straightening a long edge using the jointer plane in preparation for a glue joint
-Truing end grain using the block plane and using a jack or foreplane on the shooting board
-Smoothing a wide board with a smoother, no plane tracks, ready for a finish

Wednesday- 8am-8pm, “Dimensioning Lumber”
-Rough stock to finished board using the scrub plane, winding sticks, jointer and smooth plane
-Marking gauges and planes the old way, learning to work in thousands of an inch with hand tools. Often wonder how they did it?, you are about to learn!
-Flat, smooth and square on all six surfaces

Thursday- 8am – 8pm “Hand cut dovetails”
-Saw-cut to saw-cut dovetails, no test fit, no paring!
-Thru dovetails straight from the saw, layout, stock preparation and sawing skills
-Half blind dovetails, more chisel work but just as satisfying
-Fancy hounds tooth or mitered edge dovetails, your choice

Friday- 8am – 8pm “Hand Cut Mortise and Tenon”
-Hand cutting the hidden M&T joint, the under-appreciated furniture work horse
-Hand cut thru-wedged tenons, the proper way, using the strength of an internal dovetail and a beautiful joint.

The second week of July 14-July 18, Rob will also teach the “Shaker Two Step”.  No, this is not a new dance step, but an advanced 5-day project workshop covering the item featured left with all the boards from rough, including sawing them by hand.  Rob suggests, “Come well rested and don’t be afraid to stay late an evening or all five, we’ll keep the lights on for you.”

Individual items in this build are:
-Start with rough 4/4 clear pine boards, random width, random length
-Hand saw them to length & width
-With a scrub, jointer, smooth plane and winding sticks we will dimension the pieces to final size.
-There are plenty of dovetails to cut featuring thru-wedged mortise and tenons
-Dovetail shaped half-lap joints
-Square and straight butt glue joints
-The finish will come straight from the plane and the dovetails will come straight from the saw.

Here is what you will need to bring:
Tools - 
-Sharpening gear, at least a coarse, a medium and a fine stone with some way of keeping them flat.
-A small steel rule.
-Hand planes, at least a block, a shoulder, a smoother and a jointer.
-Helpful to have a scrub plane as well.
-Saws: dovetailcrosscuttenon and a fret.
-Chisels, 1/8, ¼, , ½, 5/8 beveled edge and at least one mortise chisel, preferably 3/8.
-Mallet12 oz hammermarking gaugemortise gauge, panel gauge and winding sticks.
-6” combination square4” dividerspallet knifedovetail markermarking knife.

Rob will bring extras of a lot of these should you find your tool budget getting trimmed before you get everything on the list.

Additional Information:

Location - 848 Grassy Brook Rd, Port Robinson, Ontario (outskirts of Niagara Falls)
This is the family farm now owned by Mike Smrek. The several hundred acre property has been in the family as an active farm for three generations. The shop is located in the renovated main barn which sits on the edge of the Welland River. We are situated in farming country but also close to several hotels, restaurants, and major shopping centers. For those looking to fly in, we are about 1 ½ hours driving time from Toronto’s Pearson International airport.

Meals – Each night we will provide a delicious barbecued supper in an all you can eat fashion. Large picnic tables in the middle of the barn between the two big barn doors provide a relaxing setting for a hearty meal. We keep the cooler full of bottled water and sodas. Your own your own for lunch, we suggest packing one or taking advantage of the nearby sandwich shops.

Materials – There is a significant amount of materials needed for the 5 day workshops, we include that in the “Training the Hand” workshop however there is a material charge for the kit of wood needed for the “Shaker Two Step” workshop. TBA

Cost – We cut our teeth on the small scale workshops we taught this past summer, learned a lot, some of it the hard way.  The tuition for the week long classes is as follows;

Week One: Training the Hand, (60 plus hours) $1495.00, including 5 dinner meals. Wood package is $30.00, we use a combination of White Pine, Poplar and Black Walnut, this is milled in Rob’s shop in New Brunswick, flat and square!

Week Two: Shaker Two Step, (at least 60 hours) $1495.00, including 5 dinner meals. Wood package is $60.00, we are using clear Eastern White Pine, 4/4 rough.  Beautiful wood and great to work with hand tools.

To Register please contact Rob at or call toll free 1-877-967-5966. A deposit of $750.00 is required to hold your spot, this can be paid with PayPal, credit card or check.  Rob stated, “We try to make this as fair as possible to you and to us and to Mike.  We will offer a full refund on your deposit up to December 31, 2013, should a complication arise that prevents you from attending. After this date there are no refunds on the deposit. Tuition balance is due July 1, 2014. There is a lot of prep work that goes into an event like this and we have to be able to depend on a full class to make it all work.  We hope to see you there, your instructor and your host, Rob Cosman and Mike Smrek!

For an update to this class, please see the blog at this link : Rob Cosman Workshop Training Program Helps Woodcraft Product Development Manager

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