2022 Summer Program


Class #41

A Woodcraft Sampler: Turning, Carving & Fine Woodworking

Mike Stapleton, Don Johnston & Erik Rinkleff

June 26 - July 2, 2022

instructor imageThis is your chance to spend a week working with wood and take home some wonderful, handmade items. The class is geared toward beginners, but those with some experience with any or all of the three wood crafts are welcome.

On Monday and Tuesday, Mike Stapleton will introduce you to the safe use of power tools, including the table saw, jointer, drill press and planer. You will make some straightforward, small projects, such as a multi-wood cutting board and cribbage board, or a simple project of your choice, if approved by Mike. (Mike will be in contact with students six weeks before class.)

On Wednesday, Erik Rinkleff will introduce you to the basics of wood carving. You’ll learn about the tools used for wood carving, sharpening techniques and carving styles, and you’ll complete two projects.

On Thursday and Friday, Don Johnston will introduce you to the exciting world of wood turning. The format will include demonstration, exercises and projects intended to get you off on the right foot with basic spindle turning tools—spindle gouge, roughing gouge, parting tool and skew. All tools and materials will be furnished.

Mike Stapleton is a retired construction project manager and log home builder. On his clients’ log home projects, Mike provided finish carpentry, including trim-out, custom wood countertops, stairs, railings, beds, mantels, hearths and other custom finish projects, always with a touch of rusticity. When building railings, he began experimenting with, implementing and eventually patenting a method of woodworking joinery involving a threaded steel tenon. Mike continues to woodwork and is frequently seen letting sawdust fly via cordless saws out the back of his RV in some remote corner of a National Park campground. As passionate as Mike is about woodworking, he is even more passionate about teaching others to woodwork.

Erik Rinkleff learned to carve at The Clearing in 1998. He now enjoys carving a variety of subjects, including Santas, snowmen, country characters, gnomes and wood spirits. He also designs and builds rustic wood furniture. Erik is the Assistant Director of The Clearing and also owns and operates his own woodworking business, Rustic Road Studio. He has been teaching wood carving and rustic furniture classes for 20 years.

Don Johnston has been a “serious” woodturner for 21 years. He has shown at art and craft shows in Illinois and Wisconsin, with items ranging from large platters to Christmas ornaments. In addition, he has produced a variety of work for architectural restoration and furniture elements. Don’s association memberships include the American Association of Woodturners, the Chicago Woodturners and the Windy City Woodturners. He has taken classes from a number of internationally known woodturners and has taught workshops at Woodcraft and The Clearing.

Don and Mike will contact students prior to class.

Level: Beginner/Intermediate
Materials Fee: $40 to $60 ($10 for turning supplies and $10 for carving supplies, both payable at registration, and $20 to $40, depending on materials used, for fine woodworking, payable to Mike during class)
Shop Fee: $20

Pricing (per person):
$1180 Dorm Room Package*
$1280 Two-Person Room Package*
$1920 Single-Person Room Package* (limited availability)
$675 Commuter Package** (limited availability)

*package includes tuition, lodging & 16 meals
**package includes tuition & 7 meals


NEW IN 2022! In order to register online, you will need to sign into a Clearing User Account. Complete user account info and "How To's" can be found on our Clearing User Account Page.