Casual Conversations with Bob Van Dyke

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Bob Van Dyke (Fig. 1), owner of the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking (CVSW), traveled a woodworking career path unlike most others. He began his work life as a chef, but after 18 years, 15 of which were enjoyable, he found himself gravitating toward woodworking. After working part time at a local architectural woodworking shop that also dealt in hardwoods, Bob was approached by the business owner with an offer to start a woodworking school. At first Bob declined the offer. A short time later, however, he accepted and his career moved into woodworking.

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(Fig. 1) Bob Van Dyke is the man behind the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. He is always in teaching mode and is happy to pass along woodworking tips and techniques to all who inquire.

Sometime during 1998, a student who Bob taught woodworking to on a regular basis convince Bob to partner-up to open a  school in conjunction with a Woodcraft store – at the time Woodcraft had only a couple of franchise stores in existence. A third partner was added and the combination school/store was hatched. About six years later Bob sold his interest in the store but not the school.

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3 thoughts on “Casual Conversations with Bob Van Dyke

  1. I have taken 3 classes at Bob’s school. It was great! As a beginning woodworker he took the time to help me understand the tools, process, safety needs and fun of creating pieces of furniture. He’s a great teacher, he takes the time, listens to your questions and shows you how to do it safely, correctly and with quality. The same can be said of the artists he brings in like Steve Latta, Will Neptune and other craftsmen.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Kenneth. As I hope you’re aware, you are not the only woodworker (and member of 360 WoodWorking too) to say that about Bob Van Dyke. He uses the same teaching process with anyone who goes to CVSW. And yes, I’ve heard good things about those other names you mentioned, too.

  2. I have taken the five week intensive course mentioned in the ‘Casual Conversation’ and would recommend it to any woodworking enthousiast who wants to develop superior woodworking habits and skills. Since taking the course, my shop has been modified to improve the accuracy of my work and eliminate safety hazards that have been overlooked for too many years. The format of this course, extending through five weeks, allowed many technical skills associated with woodworking to be incorporated into both cerebral and muscle memory. The ‘intensive’ nature of the course was very effective.

    The course length has now been increased to six weeks. Instead of it being 20% more valuable, I suspect that the extra week provides 30%-40% more educational value.

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