Port Townsend School of Woodworking
Preserving the Tradition

Hand Tool Heaven II: Bench Tote


Hand Tool Heaven II



Hand Tool Heaven II is a new course designed by Jim as an extension of our week-long Hand Tool Heaven. This course adds essential skills to help you on the next step to hand tool woodworking. You'll to design, layout, and build a small project and the first steps in joinery. 

The first offering of this new course will be taught by Jim Tolpin. Your chance for a lot of Jim time!

Class Description

In this 5-day course you will build the workbench tote presented in Jim Tolpin’s book The New Traditional Woodworker.

While the standard version of the tote features a simple copper-pinned lap joint we'll teach you how to do simple dovetails as an alternative joinery option.

Skills and techniques you will learn in this week include:

  • Proportional layout scheme via “By Hand and Eye” artisan geometry.
  • Story stick development and application
  • Stock selection (for grain matching).
  • Use of dividers and marking gauge for fast and accurate layout
  • Precision sawing, planing, paring and chopping; use of a shooting board.
  • Plowing grooves with hand plow plane; 
  • Making a stopped groove using a chisel and hand “router” plane
  • Use of the shoulder plane for trimming to fit
  • Using a drawknife, spokeshave, rasps and files for creating curved details.
  • Fielding a panel with a hand plane.
  • Introduction to Dovetail joinery
  • Precision assembly techniques.

This course includes a tour of Jim’s shop with a talk on the benches and layout of the hand tool optimized workshop.


You do not need to bring any tools to this class. The School has workbenches fully equipped with high quality hand tools. If you have started to build a kit of hand tools we strongly encourage you to bring them with you. We'll work with you to sharpen and tune them.


You should have taken Hand Tool Heaven or have a similar level of hand tool skills.

Class Information and Registration

Class starts at 9:00am on the first day.
This class takes place in Building 315.  Map
Please read our What to Expect page for general information about the School.
Please also read our Registration Policy.

Class size: 10
Cost: $750 - graduates of Hand Tool Heaven get a $100 off - use the discount code SharpenYourSkills
Materials Charge: $50

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.