Port Townsend School of Woodworking
Preserving the Tradition

Introduction to Cabinetmaking Two Week Class

Using the tools found in a small home shop; learn to plan, build, and install custom cabinets. 10 day class with John Edwards.


Introduction to Cabinet Making



Learn to build basic cabinets and complete a custom installation without the need for big stationary equipment.  Using modern tools and a few tricks of the trade, you'll learh how to create cabinetry in a small home shop that is as good as high-priced custom, and much better than what's sold in the big box stores.

This two-week course offers an in-depth look at cabinetmaking basics, including design theory, planning and layout, scribing and installation techniques, and the opportunity to work with materials and tools.  After being introduced to the basics, students will each construct a small sample cabinet with carcass, face frame and a door.   Then, the class working together will build and install cabinets for the kitchenette the school's  Building #304. 

What our students say...

"I feel confident that I can make my own cabinets. I didn’t expect to cover as many tools as we did, which was great."

Class Description

We begin by learning how to accurately measure a room and lay out cabinet runs. How do you plan for plumbing, electrical, and venting requirements? How can you deal with dead, inaccessible inside corners? How do you make sure that cabinet doors and drawers open cleanly without interfering with adjacent units? What are the differences between modern and traditional hardware? What hidden traps are lurking in wait for the unsuspecting craftsperson, and what can you do to avoid them? All this and more will be revealed.

The course is a mixture of design sessions, lectures and discussions, slideshows, and shop exercises that cover the basics of cabinet design & construction. We'll also explore varieties of standard and specialty cabinet hardware, and special use units such as entertainment centers. Students will learn to construct both Euro-style and traditional face frame cabinets, and to build both edged slab (flat) and frame and panel doors. We’ll explore various types of drawer construction, and build and install drawers using mechanical slides.

We'll also include some of the more arcane, but necessary cabinetmaker's skills, such as scribing-to-fit and other black arts that make installation a pleasure instead of a nightmare. Finally, we'll lead you through the maze of design & technical resources available to the beginning cabinetmaker.

Finally, we’ll take our accumulated knowledge and, as a group, discuss and brainstorm individual student cabinet projects – real or imagined. Bring your ideas, plans, questions and dreams, and we’ll see what we can come up with.


  • You do not need to bring any tools to class.
  • You should bring protective gear - ear defenders, dust mask and eye protection

More about this class


For the beginning cabinetmaker - no experience.
Just bring along common sense and enthusiasm.

Class Information and Registration

Class runs from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday for two weeks.
This class takes place in Building #304 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: $1350
Materials Charge: $75

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.