Port Townsend School of Woodworking
Preserving the Tradition

Building a Side Table

Design and build a side table with traditional hand cut joinery and construction techniques. 5 day hand tool woodworking class designed by Jim Tolpin.


Build a Side Table - Cancelled



Building a side table is a rite of passage for a beginning furniture maker. This is the first piece that can be constructed with joinery and glue.

In this course you'll focus on the joinery and design techniques to create a simple but elegant side table. We provide you with a kit of parts to build a side table no larger than 40"x 20" and up to 30" tall. Add hand-tooled embellishments to create a unique piece. 

This class is designed to introduce the new hand tool woodworker to basic furniture making techniques and explore design and ornamentation within a structured project.

Class Description

Topics covered in class include:

  • Refining the basic design.

  • Joining the legs and aprons with hand cut mortise and tenons, reinforced with draw-bored pins.

  • Creating elegantly tapered legs.

  • Putting a silky smooth surface on the top with the smoothing plane.

  • Profiling the table top; lighten the edges or add gentle detail.

  • Using traditional forms of detailing to lighten and refine the legs and aprons.

  • Developing a look for the table with traditional finishes. You'll need to complete the finishing at home.


If you have started to build your own set of hand tools we encourage you to bring them along to the class so that you can deepen your experience with them and work with the instructors to tune and fully understand them. Please see our What to Expect page if you plan to ship your tools to the school. Otherwise you are welcome to use the high quality hand tools at our fully equipped workbenches.


This is a fully kitted course. We will be working to a standardized design from prepared stock. Each kit will be milled from Alder or Cherry. These woods balance visual appeal, strength and ease of working. Both woods hold fine detail and finish well. 


This course is designed for woodworkers who have hand tool experience. The course is ideal for graduates of a Hand Tool Heaven course or graduates of the Weekend Hand Tool Essentials series. If you have not attended the school, but you have the skills equivalent to those in Jim Tolpin's The New Traditional Woodworker then this course is an ideal next step for you.

Class Information and Registration

Class runs from 9:00am to 5:00pm Monday through Friday in Building #315 at Fort Worden. Map
Please read our What to Expect page for general information about the school.
Please also read our Registration Policy.

Class size: 10
Cost: $ 850
Materials Deposit: $175
Register By: May 17, 2019

When you click on the Register link you will be able to register for the class or, if the class is full, sign up for the wait list.