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View Full Version : Gregory Paolini Woodworking Class review



Gonzalo Fernandez
10-21-2014, 5:19 PM
Two years ago I took a woodworking class here in NC with Gregory Paolini and built a bow arm Morris chair (see attached picture). Although there were a few bumps along the way, the main one being he was short an instructor and we all went home with unfinished pieces, it was still a great time and the 6 of us learned a ton of useful woodworking knowledge. Greg was also readily available via phone and email with the many questions I had after the class ended regarding getting my project completed. He has even used a picture of my chair as the example piece on his website for the class, which was pretty cool.

About 6 months later, I tried to get Greg, who advertised private classes in his shop or yours, to come to Cary for a private class for myself and another local woodworker. Long story short, after initially coming up with a tentative date and agreeing to come, he did not return emails or voice mails over the next several months regarding the project we were supposed to be doing or finalizing a date. When he did finally get in touch a few days before we were supposed to start, I told him that since he never got back to us, we had made other plans. To his credit, he did apologize .


Fast forward to this spring when I signed up to do a Maloof style rocking chair at his shop. My only issue was that as a small business owner it is really hard for me, from a financial and time perspective, to take a full week off of work (the class went from Monday to Saturday). I called and emailed Greg, explained the situation, and was glad to hear he was amendable to me coming up earlier to do the first day of the course sometime in the July-October range, then join the scheduled class on Tuesday for the rest of the week. This would have allowed me to work that Monday and take the rest of the week off.

After talking with Greg in June, confirming I was enrolled in the class, and being promised a list of dates, I never heard back from him again. I sent multiple emails every 3-4 weeks and left voice mails with no response. That's 5 months without hearing back from him.

Why am I writing this? I am disappointed as to how it was handled and honestly, just want to vent. I was really looking forward to the class. I've also now burned 4 vacation days this week. It may not seem like much, but I rarely take off 4 days in a row due to work. The last time I took a full week off was over two years ago to take the Morris chair class. Greg is a nice guy and a good instructor, but he really dropped the ball. Again. Hope the folks taking the class enjoy it, that rocking chair looks really cool.

Thanks for reading, I feel better getting it off my chest. Now I need to go find something to do this week. I've got a honey do list a mile long I'm trying to avoid!

David Weaver
10-21-2014, 5:48 PM
Guys giving classes are a dime a dozen. Maybe not locally for you, but in general, it's easier to find guys giving classes than it is to find guys who just make furniture and who don't.

We're all cogs in the wheel, and the same is true for instructors. Just pick another one.

your post reminds me of something, two things actually:
1) when someone shows that they can't be bothered to tell you something, even if it's that they're not available, that's a one time deal. We're done doing business
2) Most people don't handle "custom" wants very well. I don't make special demands for anything from anyone because they often feel like they're bending over backwards for you because they have to remember or arrange something different. It's easier just to avoid the trouble and find something were you don't have a one-off or customized want

Jim Matthews
10-21-2014, 8:23 PM
Would you consider a course with Brian Boggs associate, Jeff Lefkowitz in Strasburg, Virginia?

http://www.brianboggschairmakers.com/chairmaking-classes/

Gonzalo Fernandez
10-22-2014, 11:22 AM
Would you consider a course with Brian Boggs associate, Jeff Lefkowitz in Strasburg, Virginia?

http://www.brianboggschairmakers.com/chairmaking-classes/

Jim, thanks for the suggestion. I'll take a look at his website.

Gonzalo Fernandez
10-22-2014, 11:23 AM
David,
I agree, and if he had not been able to do that, I would have understood and moved on. But he agreed to it. Oh well, live and learn!

David Weaver
10-22-2014, 11:33 AM
For some reason, a lot of people feel less guilty telling you they can do something and then not following through than they would if they just said "no, I don't do that". I guess people don't like to say no.

Pat Barry
10-22-2014, 11:39 AM
Hey Gonzalo, that chair of yours really turned out nicely. Nice job.

Here is my personal opinion - if you can build that chair you really don't need any woodworking classes. Anything you want to learn about building a Maloof style rocker or virtually anything else can be had for free with a bit of searching on this or other websites. I may be oversimplifying this but the special facets of the Maloof style rocker are the sculpted joints and I know Prashun and others here at SMC have experience in this and can provide lots of good information to you.

Gonzalo Fernandez
10-22-2014, 6:55 PM
Thanks Pat, I appreciate the compliment!

Bill Orbine
10-22-2014, 9:32 PM
Gregory Paolini may have been biting off more than he can chew running both the woodworking business and the tutoring sessions. The business too often takes precedence over tutoring or anything else. Especially with something you wanted to accomplish learning during the middle of the work week! Maybe you could work it out for weekends only. Or find a tutor who is not actively running woodshop business if weekends doesn't work. There's quite a few seminars at well known establishment like Highland Woodworking or Lie-Nielson Studios.

I once took lessons at a well known master cabinetmaker's shop. Only the tutor was someone else using the shop to teach carving to a class of 8-10 people on weekends for 8 weeks on Saturday mornings. Even the master cabinetmaker was a student. That worked well and we all had a good time. It would have been a disaster if this thing happened during middle of week.

Gonzalo Fernandez
02-04-2015, 4:20 PM
I wanted to update everyone on my original post. Greg called me a few months ago, apologized, explained what happened and made everything right. He went out of his way to accommodate me for a 1 on 1 class to build the sculpted rocker. He was a great instructor and wonderful to work with. I left a happy camper and plan on taking another class soon.

I've posted a brief review and pictures here:

http://www.ncwoodworker.net/forums/showthread.php?t=55209

Don Orr
02-04-2015, 5:00 PM
Really glad to hear things worked out well and you are happy with your class. I checked out the photos in the link and you sure did a great job.

Thanks for the update. Looking forward to the finished piece.

Prashun Patel
02-04-2015, 5:06 PM
Great pix! Congratulations.

I have a question about your sculpted arms. It looks like they were coved on a machine. Did you cove them at the table saw or on a shaper?

Ken Fitzgerald
02-04-2015, 8:44 PM
Gonzalo, Glad to hear that the instructor made things right for you!

I really like the progress you are making on the rocker! It's going to be a stunner!

Frederick Skelly
02-04-2015, 9:05 PM
I wanted to update everyone on my original post. Greg called me a few months ago, apologized, explained what happened and made everything right. He went out of his way to accommodate me for a 1 on 1 class to build the sculpted rocker. He was a great instructor and wonderful to work with. I left a happy camper and plan on taking another class soon.

Thanks very much for following up with us. I think thats hugely important in a case like this, because when I saw the title all I could recall was that someone reported a poor experience with the gentleman. Your update let me "reset my warning bit". I really appreciate you setting the record straight for us!

Fred

Ric Altman
10-30-2016, 10:16 PM
I have recently taken two classes with Greg Paolini and couldn't be happier. I'm hoping to take more. I have made flat arm Morris chairs that turned out very nice but took the Morris chair class just the same. The personal attention from Greg and David were exceptional. Greg's cabinet business is in the same building, a large building divided equally between the cabinet business and the classrooms. Greg seems to prefer the instruction as the cabinet business runs with only his oversight. I learned a lot, dozens of tricks and procedures that improved my work immensely.
346690

Frederick Skelly
10-31-2016, 7:20 AM
Sounds good Ric! Thanks for the report.
Fred

Marty Schlosser
10-31-2016, 8:23 AM
How could anyone make "everything right" after screwing you around like that?! Yeah, sure, he called you up, did some explaining to convince you to do a class with you and all that. But let's not forget his twice-demonstrated inadequate communication skills. I expect more from a professional. A lot more.

As has been stated in this thread by others, there are plenty of excellent schools and individual craftspersons to choose from... who, apparently unlike Mr. Paolini, can be relied upon to consistently deliver what they state they can offer. Can't understand why you even gave him a third chance.


I wanted to update everyone on my original post. Greg called me a few months ago, apologized, explained what happened and made everything right. He went out of his way to accommodate me for a 1 on 1 class to build the sculpted rocker. He was a great instructor and wonderful to work with. I left a happy camper and plan on taking another class soon.

I've posted a brief review and pictures here:

http://www.ncwoodworker.net/forums/showthread.php?t=55209