student working
student working
student working
student working
View Gallery View Gallery View Gallery

Major emphasis allows the student to work toward acquiring control of the physical and visual constructs of a given concept such that the desired content is communicated.

Apply to NMUART Apply to NMUART Apply to NMUART

The Woodworking and Furniture
Design Major at NMU

The School of Art and Design offers four-year B.S., B.A. and B.F.A. degrees in Woodworking and Furniture Design. Major emphasis allows the student to work toward acquiring control of the physical and visual constructs of a given concept such that the desired content is communicated. Ideations are developed through drawings and/or models, and then progress to full-size working pieces. If one is interested in production work, the necessary jigs, fixtures, etc., are also designed and built. Woodworking and furniture design majors usually concentrate on the woodworking process, although students are encouraged to become familiar with the adjacent foundry and smithing facilities. The product design major requires a broad background of classes including Sculpture, Ceramics, Metals, and Woodworking.

Physical information concerning media and tools is presented in such a way that the student is encouraged to solve a particular problem in a creative, inventive manner as opposed to being limited by a finite group of accepted techniques.

The beginning classes for woodworking and furniture design majors are AD 124 Woodworking: Joinery and Greenwood (fall semester), and AD 224 Woodworking: Turning and Bending (winter semester). Product design majors may start with a number of 100 level studio courses. Advance placement is possible depending on past experience.

Woodworking/Furniture Design Promo Video

click to collapse window

Woodworkers/Furniture Designers Solve Problems with Invention and Technique

Click to Learn More

Woodworking and Furniture Design Studio

The Art & Design Design facility provides contemporary tools and equipment for the areas of ceramics, furniture design, jewelry, metalsmithing, blacksmithing, product design, sculpture, and woodworking. A well equipped wood shop, spray booth area, wood turning area, and extensive dust collection system highlight the woodworking studio. Production of large work is better facilitated by convenient ground floor access. The woodworking studio certainly ranks as one of the finest facilities in the country.

studio image
Design Studio
studio image
Computer Controlled Router
click to collapse window

The Woodworking Studio Currently Ranks as One of the Best in the Country

Click to Learn More

Woodworking/Furniture Design Faculty

click to open/close

click to collapse window

Woodworking/Furniture Design Courses

click to open/close

AD 124 Woodworking: Foundations

Offered: Fall, Winter
4 credit hours

Introduction to both traditional hand tool joinery and contemporary joinery practices. Students are introduced to wood as a material, the history of woodworking, and contemporary theory in the field.

AD 224 Woodworking: Turning and Bending

Offered: Winter
4 credit hours

Introduction to wood turning and bending through the production of social goods and the identification of a personal mode of practice.

AD 324 Woodworking: Seminar

4 credit hours
Offered: Fall
Prerequisites: AD 124 or AD 224 or instructor permission.
Note: May be repeated for up to 8 credits.

Development of a professional portfolio through the production of new works in the studio. Emphasis is placed on understanding the various parameters of design, aesthetics, and relevance to contemporary standards in the field. Use of wood as a primary media is emphasized though the use of alternate materials is also discussed as appropriate.

AD 424 Woodworking: Seminar

4 credit hours
Prerequisite: AD 303 or concurrent enrollment, AD 324, or instructor permission.
Note: May be repeated for up to 8 credits.

Continued development of a professional portfolio. Emphasis is placed on the application of ideology and theory while maintaining a close attention to process, design and concept.

AD 463 Furniture Design: B.F.A. Seminar

4 credit hours
Prerequisites: AD 303 and AD 426

Continued development of ideological and theoretical concerns. Emphasis is placed on preparing a selection of work as a professional portfolio and writing a paper supporting the activity.

click to collapse window

Woodworking/Furniture Design FAQ

click to open/close
What degree should I pursue?

The majority of Woodworking and Furniture Design majors pursue the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree often referred to as the BFA degree. This degree provides for more studio credit hours than does a BA or BS degree. However, students wishing to pursue a major/minor should look at the BA or BS degree. If you are confused about degrees please discuss this with your advisor. Once you declare a major or your pursued degree you may change- so don’t feel as if you are locked in- you’re not.

What do I need in terms of tools?

A hand tool kit is provided for each student for the first two semesters. (AD 124 Woodworking: Joinery and Greenwood and AD 224 Woodworking: Turning and Bending) Woodworking and Furniture Design majors in the higher-level studio classes are expected to acquire their own hand tools. All students must have their own safety glasses and a lock to secure their tools.

Will I need to submit a portfolio for admission?

No portfolio review is required. For general requirements for admission into the University you should check with the Admissions Office.

What emphasis will I find in the Woodworking and Furniture Design programs?

The emphasis in the first two semesters is on the physical aspects of woodworking. AD 124 starts with traditional green wood techniques to acquaint the student with issues of strength and grain direction as well as wood movement. We also work with dry lumber and mill it in preparation for hand tool joinery exercises. After the joinery exercises the student designs and creates work that utilizes the skills learned. We also employ carving techniques utilizing both power and hand tools. In the AD 224 class we work primarily with turning and bending techniques. On the lathe I teach cutting technique in addition to scraping. I present spindle work including multi axis as well as faceplate techniques. With bending we include linear laminate, steam, and planer vacuum bag techniques. After basic skills are practiced students design and build work that utilizes those skills. Basic information on drawing and designing three dimensionally is also presented as well as numerous examples of historic and contemporary work. In the upper level classes, third semester and beyond, my emphasis is on design methodology. Here we examine ways to expand our thinking on how to approach a problem. In addition to recognizing traditional approaches we look for as many alternatives as possible to expand our options before finalizing a design plan. I promote group brainstorming discussions and team thinking to challenge the status quo and access ideas that the individual working alone may not realize. Ultimately I work to promote the students understanding that they are creating themselves as well as their own future as they create their work.

Do most of your majors find employment?

Since not all graduates keep in contact it would be difficult to answer that question. However, many of our graduates who keep in contact have found related employment after graduation. Our program provides the needed educational experience and foundation for seeking professional employment as well as graduate studies. Several graduates are successful as independent designer/makers doing custom and limited production work with the help of several employees. Typically these businesses market their work through galleries and craft fairs.

May I enroll in other Art and Design classes?

Yes- there is elective Art and Design credits designed into the curriculum. You should consult with your advisor for specific details. Any 100 level Art and Design studio class has no pre-requisites.

What if I have problems enrolling in the AD 124 or AD 224 wood classes?

All of our lower level studio classes fill quickly. If the class is closed I recommend that you come to the first scheduled class meeting to see if anyone has dropped the class. Sometimes there are some drops in enrollment before the semester begins so check again.

Are there scholarships for incoming Art and Design majors at the freshman level?

The school offers the High School Freshman Scholarship (four $1000 awards) that is available each year with applications due in April.

See the web for details
Scholarship Information

More Questions?
click to collapse window
Donate to NMUART Donate to NMUART Donate to NMUART
Facebook Instagram Facebook Instagram