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Special Services by Charlie Plesums

Training in woodworking and furniture making

Small volume millwork

©2019 by Charles A. Plesums, Austin, Texas, USA


I am not a trained woodworker - unless you count public school shop class back in the mid-1950s. But I have been doing woodworking long before even that class (I won a blue ribbon in a hobby show for a stool with hand-cut dados back in the early 1950s.) And I have built and sold many pieces of furniture and the like, as you can see on this web site and reading about us. And I still have all my fingers (despite a chemistry lab explosion in 1960).

When I "retired" to full-time woodworking in January 2005, I got what was then the "top of the line" MiniMax combination machine - a fine European sliding/scoring saw, shaper, 16 inch jointer, planer, and slot mortiser with huge tables, super precision fences, and three 4.8 hp motors. I found the transition to the European style woodworking quite easy, even though many people said it would be hard. Several people who have seen me use the machine have commented that I am completely at ease with the machine, use it efficiently, and get great results (gee, thanks).

In addition to the MiniMax CU410 Elite combination machine, I have a MiniMax 24 inch 5 hp bandsaw (great for resawing) plus a 14 inch bandsaw, a separate 5 hp Shaper (think router table on steroids), a wood lathe, and countless hand tools with and without power cords.

Several people have asked me to teach them how to use their new power tools, especially European-style woodworking (which is quite different - and much safer - than with American tools). So far, I have just dismissed their request, since I am not a trained expert. But the requests keep coming.

Thus I have decided to occasionally give private lessons, working in your shop, not mine. (I will demonstrate in my shop, but don't want to get into any question about who is liable for sharp tools or adequate guards.) You have my warning that this is a dangerous hobby or business, and that I do not have any special credentials to teach "how to" use a machine or "how to" build a cabinet. If you are still interested, despite these warnings and disclaimer, lets talk. If you are out-of-town, I am thinking in terms of a daily rate of about $350 plus travel expenses. If you are local, lets discuss what you are trying to learn.


My love is building furniture, not just cutting, planing, or sanding isolated pieces. But I have had a number of people ask me to help them out... cut this piece to exactly.... or make three pieces just like this... you know. Rather than arguing why I don't want to do it, I have set a rate - $1.50 per minute of shop time and overhead (discussing your requirements, preparing the bill). If it takes me 10 minutes, it costs you $15 (plus the tax for the governor). No matter which machine or combination of machines I need to use in my shop. (This is up from my previous rate, but I find myself spending a lot of time putting tools away, cleaning up, and sharpening after the customer leaves.)

I don't really want to sell you my wood, especially since you will want my best piece, not the sapwood and knots that are part of most boards. Therefore I prefer that you bring your own lumber to mill. But I will consider using my wood, if you want to pay my price. That will be for an average board (not the great one I have been saving for years) and will be more per board foot than the lumber yard (to compensate for the knots and waste that are part of every wood purchase).

This service is offered as a favor to other woodworkers, or people who just need a piece for a special purpose (for example, I have cut a missing piece for someone's Adirondack chair.) I am not interested in taking on a production millwork job.

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©2006 by Charles A. Plesums, Austin, Texas USA. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.