Ashland, Ohio is the home of Learning Trade Secrets, LLC. It is a tightly knit college town, home to Ashland University and the Ashland Theological Seminary. Like any other town, it has its Walmart and other franchises, but the community defines itself as 'Some Place Special', having been listed multiple times as one of the Top 10 places to live in the United States. Ashland is a beautiful area surrounded by farm land and fresh air. The City of Ashland is host to many activites throughout the year, including Balloonfest, the Ashland Symphony, and quaint downtown shopping. It also boasts its own Amish community.
Our hope is that you will enjoy attending our workshops to increase your skills and knowledge while enjoying the simple life in Ohio. For more information on the Ashland area please visit the Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce
You will definitely want to read the FAQs for additional information. If you are looking for tools and supplies, we have listed direct links to many of the best resources. Hopefully, this information will provide you with the answers you seek.
Pay particular attention to the Travel & Lodging section for forms that you will need to submit when you plan to attend a workshop. We also provide lunches for select workshops and have a menu for you to choose your meals. You may also find them here:
Please visit this page regularly as we continue to add answers to your most frequently asked questions about:
Shop Rules & Safety
Travel & Lodging
Gift Certificates & Merchandise
How do you choose your instructors?
Our mission is to choose instructors who are willing to teach the next generation of makers and restorers and who also have a conservative approach to restoration. Our instructors have reached high acclaim in the field as leaders in organizations and research, are award winning makers, and are sought after for their experience, knowledge, and success.
As competition judges, you will find their knowledge and experience invaluable. Don't hesitate to use them as a resource for information after the course is over. Stay informed about their lastest discoveries and methods of making and restoration.
Do I need to purchase tools before I attend a workshop?
Some courses provide a tool box for your convenience during the workshop. For future students, please do not remove tools from the workshop. All tools will be accounted for before you leave. Students will be billed for any tools not returned to their assigned tool box at the end of the week.
In most cases, any class that states there is a pre-requisite will require you to bring your own tools. If you have tools, bring them, but if you are just testing the waters, don't purchase tools until you see exactly what your instructor is using or recommends. Check out the Resource section of the site for the best tool and material suppliers.
Do I need to bring my own supplies?
The course description will tell you whether materials and supplies are included in the tuition. It is often easier for the instructor to supply what you need in order to learn their method by using the same materials.
Can I borrow tools from other students?
Please respect other students belongings by first asking permission before you remove any tools from a participant's bench.
Do I have to have wood working skills before I attend a workshop?
A course description will tell you if no skills are needed for the workshop or if it requires instructor approval. However, most courses require some wood working skill. Fully list your experience and any previous training on your application. The instructor will determine whether your prior experience is of an accetable level for their workshop.
How old do I have to be to attend a workshop?
Most workshops require attendees to be at least 21 years of age, unless otherwise specified in the course description.
What if I turn 21 during the year I want to attend?
We are glad to have you attend if you will turn 21 (or the minimum age requirement) during the year of your first workshop. We believe these courses are critically important for those wanting to learn the proper way to make and restore instruments and bows.
When should I arrive and what time does work start?
We ask that students arrive between 4-5pm on Sunday to join us for pizza, time to get acquainted and talk shop, go over shop rules and an overview of the week's activities followed by time to prepare your tools for Monday morning. Official workshop hours are 8:00 am to 5:00pm, Monday through Friday, unless otherwise stated in the course description or determined by your instructor. The instructor will let you know what time to arrive and when he/she will get started with the morning's lecture so you can plan accordingly.
Lunch will be delivered about noon with plenty of food to keep you full throughout the day. Dinner is on your own at any of the area's fast food and finer dining establishments.
Should your instructor wish to return to the workshop after dinner, the hours are at his/her discretion. Check with your instructor about evening hours. Some course descriptions state evening hours are optional. Evening hours are typically to allow students to catch-up or troubleshoot.
Can I drink alcohol with dinner and go back to work?
No, if you drink alcoholic beverages with dinner, we ask that you NOT return to the workshop. Should it be determined that you have returned to the workshop after consuming alcohol, you will receive a warning and promptly be asked to leave. Unprofessional behavior may result in expulsion.
When does the workshop end?
The workshop ends on Friday, unless otherwise stated in the course description. You are asked to clean your work space, remove any food item from the refridgerator, and remove all personal items by 6:00pm, unless otherwise stated by your instructor. We will contact workshop participants about any found or lost items. Any items found and not claimed within 30 days become the property of Learning Trade Secrets and will be disposed of at its discretion.
Do I use machines or only hand tools in a workshop?
Your safety is our primary concern. That is why we expect all students to follow the posted shop rules. If you are using hand tools for the first time, watch your instructor carefully and follow their instructions on how to hold and carve with specific tools. No students are permitted to use machinery except under direct supervision of an instructor. If you have never used a band saw, mill or lathe, let your instructor show you how the first time to help prevent injury.
What if I have used machinery before?
Although we realize you may have your own equipment where you work, liability issues prevent us from allowing students to use equipment without direct instructor supervision. All students and instructors are required to wear safety glasses and ear protection while in the machine room. Your instructor is provided with the only key to the machine room. Should equipment be 'locked-out', do not attempt to unlock the machinery for use.
What if I injure myself?
We realize that accidents happen and we are prepared to help. For simple, non-life threatening injuries, a First Aid and Eye Wash station are available to all students and instructors. At this station are all the necessary items to contain blood borne pathogens and relieve pain.
When you submitted your application you accepted our Terms of Service allowing Learning Trade Secrets personnel to transport you to the nearest emergency room should you become injured. In an extreme emergency, your instructor will contact 9-1-1 for immediate assistance. It is required of the injured party as well as any and all witnesses to provide Learning Trade Secrets with a complete statement on an Accident Report Form located adjacent to the eye wash station.
What should I wear to work in?
You should wear long pants (no yoga or pajama pants), closed toed shoes (no socks and sandals), and an apron to protect your clothing. It is best to tie back long hair and remove jewelry. Ohio weather is unpredictable so always bring a jacket in case of rain. If you did not pack appropriate clothing, Ashland does have a Walmart where you may purchase the necessary items.
Can I smoke on Learning Trade Secrets property?
No, Ohio Revised Code Chapter 3701, bans smoking and smoking devices in or on workshop property or near workshop entrances. A designated smoking and vaping area is located on the East end of the commercial property. All smokers must be at least 50 feet from a building entrance.
Can I eat or drink at my bench?
No, food is not permitted on your bench. There is a designated area for eating. Should you want beverages, such as tea, coffee or soft drinks, make sure they are in spill proof containers on your bench. We are not responsible for any damage should beverages spill onto your work or personal property or that of others.
Do I have to sweep everyday?
We expect you will make every effort to keep your personal space free of debris. Debris includes wood shavings, garbage, and personal items not being used for work. We appreciate every student pitching-in to sweep and remove any unwanted debris at the end of each work day to help prepare for the following day.
Can I use my iPad and cell phone in the workshop?
Each pod of benches is equipped with a charging station for electronic items. However, to prevent any distractions during the work day, please mute cell phones. Headphones and earbuds are permitted provided they do not restrict audible instructions from the instructor. All personal calls must be taken outside the building to prevent disruption.
Can I take video during the workshop?
No, videos are permitted! Pictures are permitted and may uploaded to Facebook and other social media platforms. We encourage you to post your photos to any site and hope you will tag #LearningTradeSecrets so we can share your posts and images.
Can I get expelled from the workshop?
Yes, professional behavior is expected at all times. Should your behavior become a distration for others, your instructor will give you one verbal warning. A second reprimand for unprofessional behavior will result in a written warning by your instructor for your file. A third offense and you will be asked to pack your personal belongings and leave the workshop for the remainder of the week. No refund will be given for unused workshop time. Your unprofessional behavior may prevent you from attending future workshops.
Do I need to make a deposit to reserve a bench?
Each course requires a $100 non-refundable deposit in order to reserve a bench in the workshop. This lets us know you are serious about attending a workshop to increase your skills and knowledge.
When does the deposit need to be made?
After you have submitted your application and have been approved by your instructor, we will notify you of acceptance into the workshop. At which time you can send a check or call to pay the deposit, make partial payments or pay the full tuition. We do not send reminders to pay the deposit. The bench space stays unreserved until you pay your deposit and you risk losing your spot, so don't wait to send it in.
When should I pay the balance of the tuition?
The balance of tuition is due no later than 30 days prior to the workshop starting date.
How do I make a deposit or payment?
You may send a check made out to Learning Trade Secrets and mail it to 513 Center Street, Ashland, OH 44805. Or you may call (419) 922-9474 with a credit card. Many banks are implementing fraud protection so please make sure you have notified your local bank of the payment prior to calling.
Do I have to pay the entire balance at once?
No, you can make as many payments as you like toward the tuition as long as it is completely paid 30 days in advance of the workshop starting date.
What if I can't pay the balance by the due date?
You will not be able to participate in your registered workshop and you will lose your deposit and any payments made.
If I have to cancel can I get a refund?
Your $100 deposit is non-refundable. The balance of the tuition will be refunded only if you notify us in writing at LearningTradeSecrets@gmail.com no less than 30 days in advance.
Is there any help available for workshop tuition or discounts?
The Violin Society of America does offer scholarships to students attending workshops. You can log on to the VSA website for more information at www.VSAweb.org.
We offer a $100 multi-course discount should you choose to attend more than one course during the year. The multi-course discount will be applied to the second workshop.
There also is a $150 discount for recent graduates. Students must have graduated within the last two years from an approved instrument making school. Discounts can only be used one time per year.
How do I get to Ashland, Ohio?
Ashland is centrally located between Cleveland and Columbus. Ashland is easy to get to by taking I-71 North or South , and exiting on to US Rt 250 West at
Exit 186. Our workshop is located directly off State Route 42 and Baney Road at 106 Hedstrom Drive.
What airport do I fly into if I'm not driving?
We only pick up at the Cleveland Hopkins (CLE) Airport between the hours of 11:00 am - 2:00 pm. You might want to consider renting a car if you cannot arrange a flight during these hours. We live about 60 miles south of the airport and you should arrive approximately two hours prior to departure. So plan leaving Ashland three hours prior to departure and earlier if you need to return a rental car.
What if I need to be picked up at the airport?
You will need to make sure we have your itenerary by submitting the Travel & Lodging Form. There is an additional $30 transportation fee to be picked up or dropped off at the airport. This will be added to your invoice. Please let us know if you need transportation both ways for $60.
When should I arrive?
Please arrive on Sunday between 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm. This will give you time to choose your bench, settle in, some time to get to know each other and dinner at 5:30 pm. The remainder of the evening, not later than 9:00 pm, is spent going over shop rules, an overview of the week, and preparing tools for Monday morning.
Where do I stay while I attend the workshop?
We recommend one of the local hotels or B&Bs in Ashland, such as the Surrey Inn, Holiday Inn, Hampton Inn, Quality Inn, Surrey Inn, College B&B, Jenny Wade B&B, or Black Bird Taxi Airbnb. There are several Airbnbs in the area, however if you choose to go this route please be sure to read the reviews prior to booking. Some Airbnbs do not have air conditioning or serve breakfast. There are two Airbnbs that have been recommended by former students, Black Bird Taxi and the 1904 Victorian Farmhouse. The Victorian Farmhouse is not so you must have your own transportation. Should you decide to stay at a hotel not located in Ashland, you better rent a car or have your own transportation.
What if I need transportation to the workshop?
If you fly into Ashland, we will pick you up and take you to the workshop if you are staying in town at one of the local hotels or B&Bs. If you have made arrangements at an Airbnb out of town, you must have your own transportation or make arrangements with another student.
How do I get to the workshop?
The address is 106 Hedstrom Drive, Ashland, Ohio 44805. This is our physical address and NOT a mailing address. Because our location had a previous address that was different, 1987 Baney Road, our students have had difficulty finding it with their GPS. If you enter The Great Dragon (Chinese restaurant) into your GPS you should have no problem finding us; we are right next door.
Is every meal on our own?
Breakfast and dinner are on your own. If you are staying in a local hotel or B&B, you should be provided breakfast. Most Learning Trade Secrets workshops will provide a boxed lunch during the week unless otherwise stated in the course description. This saves time and provides an opportunity for you to gather with your instructor and other students to ask questions and talk about experiences over lunch. Take advantage of this time to form life-long bonds with your soon to be colleagues. You will need to submit your lunch selections for the week by filling out the Boxed Lunch Menu. There is a vegetarian option. If you have other dietary needs you may need to supplement your lunch if you are unable to eat what is on the menu.
Do you have gift certificates?
Yes! This is a great gift idea for the holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, graduation, and Luthier Appreciation Day. Call us or send an email with the name and contact information of the recipient for our records then send a check or call with your payment.
How much does the gift certificate have to be for?
The gift certificate must be for at least $100.
How long is a gift certificate valid?
The gift certificate is good for one year from date of issuance.
Will you send the gift certificate to me or the recipient?
We will send you the gift certificate so you may present it to the recipient for the holiday or special ocassion of your choosing. We have gift certificates for holidays, birthdays, and special ocassions so let us know.