About the Layman’s Institute


I guess the main reason people access a page like this is to ascertain whether the author has any idea what he or she is talking about. That makes sense, so here is a little about who I am, and why I think I can teach the subjects I will offer.

I began teaching more than 45 years ago, and have taught professionally in a couple of Community Colleges, as well as teaching for over 30 years in the Steel Fabrication Industry.

Steel Fabrication:

I hold the following AWS national certifications in that field:

  • CWI (Certified Welding Inspector)
  • CWS (Certified Welding Supervisor) and
  • CWE (Certified Welding Educator)

Possibly more importantly: I have trained hundreds of other workers in those same skills, so that they received similar certification (Which necessitates rigorous (and expensive) testing, in order to certify.)

Among the classes I taught through the Community Colleges were a welding theory course, a print reading course, and a “CWI prep Class” geared to enable people to pass a national exam for certified welding inspectors. In the Industry, I taught those same classes, but also taught a “CWS prep Class”,  remedial math, metallurgy for welders, and shop safety.  Training for CWS and CWI personnel became an industry specialty for me: they needed certified welding supervisors and certified welding inspectors.

The CWS class taught management systems, efficiency, and value-stream mapping. it also re-taught the intricacies of welding in four different processes. It also taught “trouble-shooting” in those four processes, and how to accurately bid the welding portion of any steel fabrication job.  The CWI class taught the intricacies of weld-quality, the root causes of weld discontinuities and weld failure, as well as how to correctly inspect welds. We taught how to inspect welds using visual inspection, and several other nondestructive examination methods. We taught hundreds of employees, and our employees were in great demand throughout the area because the reputation of our training programs had spread to many other shops.


I have been building violin-family instruments for the last 20 years, including violins, violas, cellos, double basses, and five-string variants of each of those categories. (See them here, and here.)

I have written books about the processes involved in building and repairing those instruments, and (possibly most important) I have personally taught others to build those instruments, which they successfully completed.

On my own (and just because I want to) I have consistently taught whatever I knew in lutherie (stringed instrument making and repair) to anyone willing to learn.

Other Training:

Theology and Ministry

In other training, I have six years of post-secondary schooling, but four years of it was in Bible and Ministry training. In keeping with that, I have taught Bible classes to adults for the last 45 years, without charge, and I currently pastor a small church, also without charge. So… most theology teaching offered here (even downloadable books and commentaries) will be offered free of charge or at the lowest fee Amazon will allow, if they are published there. (They allow a certain number of free downloads, and I will make use of them.) I hope to never charge money for what was freely given to us all. It is just my personal preference: I have no problem with “the laborer being worthy of his hire.” And, if a physical (hard-copy) book is offered, it will probably not be free: They cost money to print and ship. Sorry. That’s just a reality of life. But I will try to always make the teaching available electronically without charge.

Other Projects

I have a long history of building tools and other projects. Buildings, boats, hand planes, gouges, and other items are among the random list. A fireplace bellows might interest one person, while a pair of outriggers to stabilize a sailing canoe might be what captures another person’s attention. Fruit-tree grafting may prove to be someone else’s interest.

We will see where the website takes us.

Thanks for looking.

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