Wood has always been a popular product. Working with wood, too, has been a popular pastime. Another reason is, of course, it costs less to do-it-yourself in wood products.

Recently, however, interest in doing wood working projects, says Gary Ellis, manager of Shopsmith Wood Working Center, is becoming more and more popular.People today are into the do-it-yourself mood. They are, says Ellis, "doing everything from clocks, to furniture, to doing their own kitchen cabinets.

"Why? Most do it for the relaxation and the enjoyment they get out of building something, and the satisfaction they get from a job well done. We had one grandmother that started attending our classes and ended up buying one of our machines. She's made all kinds of things from wood . . . a clock, barbecue, outdoor furniture and a lot of gifts for family and friends.

"It is a fast-growing activity. It's something that gives you back something. Also, more and more people are getting back in to craftsmanship. Building things. I think that has a lot to do with it."

Another reason is cost. He says that an individual can build a piece of wood furniture for about one-third what it would cost if purchased from a furniture store.

He points out that a good indication of the growing popularity of wood working can be seen in the fact that there is now a half-hour TV series on the subject that runs twice weekly.

At the heart of the Shopsmith system is the Mark 5. This is a machine that is a complete wood working shop in one package. The basic unit comes with a table saw, lathe, disc sander, horizontal boring machine and drill press. Ellis said that different components can be added . . . "just about any wood working tool there is."

Past that, the only other ingredient needed to jump into a job is desire. Seminars are held every Thursday from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., free seminars, that give instruction and help to anyone interested. Instructions include how to make things like book cases, furniture, wall units, and kitchen cabinets, just to mention a few areas.

Along with the tools and instruction, the center also offers a complete line of wood working plans and books on everything from remodeling to building pieces of furniture.

Among the classes are:

- A three-day fundamental woodworking course. It teaches the student to user the table saw, drill press, horizontal boring machine, disc sander, lathe, bandsaw, joiner, belt sander, shaper, molder, scroll saw, routerarm/shaper table, planer and more.

- A three-day cabinet-making courses. Students learn to build frames and panel doors, discover dowel, dado and rabbet carcass and assembly techniques, pick up tips on accenting your designs with shaped and mitered molding and learn to build drawers.

- A three-day furniture making course. Students learn techniques in leg and rail construction, recessing for hinges, special joinery and more.

- A three-day lathe-turning course. Here they learn preparing stock for lathe work; getting started in turning with the easy-to-learn scraping technique, mastering the shearing cut, the preferred technique of the experts; turning beads and coves, the basic techniques of the experts; center drilling candlesticks and other spindle projects; gluing-up and turning laminated projects; and duplicate turning techniques for bowls and spindles.

- And a special eight-hour woodworking course. This teaching to build creative picture frames - flat and compound mitters, spline joinery, jigs for picture framing and molding and mat cutting.

Among the 90-minutes sessions are Basics of Lathe Turning (May 4), Sharpening the "Cutting Edge" (May 11), Router System Techniques (May 25), Stock Preparation From Rough Lumber (June 8), Raised Panel Door construction (June 15), Dovetail Drawer Construction (June 22), and Joinery Techniques (June 29).