Port Townsend School of Woodworking
Preserving the Tradition

Hand Tool Heaven: with Chisels


Hand Tool Heaven: 
Joinery with Saws & Chisels


Level 1



A five-day class for beginners at hand tool woodworking (or just to woodworking).  Learn to develop skills while building two more projects from Jim Tolpin’s The New Traditional Woodworker.

In this class, you will learn a boatload of tips, tricks and core techniques that will convince you that hand tools, once properly setup, sharpened and handled, are not difficult to master or tedious to use, and are anything but obsolete. You will discover the pleasure of working wood with tools that don’t make noise or dust, and therefore don’t require protection from them.

Over the course of the week, you will make and take home a workbench tote and time allowing a saw bench. With each project, you'll learn to choose the appropriate tools for the task at hand, set the tools up properly, and practice the skills you’ll need to work as efficiently and enjoyably as possible.


Class Description

Here’s what you will experience over the five days:

Hand Saws:

Learn efficient and accurate ripping and crosscutting techniques. We will show you how to hone a handsaw to get it cutting smoothly again, and then you may hone your own saw as time allows. This class will not cover saw rehabilitation and tuning; that is covered in our weekend Hand Saw Essentials class.


Hand Planes:

How to efficiently dimension, chamfer, and smooth a board to a flat, mirror-like surface. Use specialty hand planes to make grooves.


Learn efficient techniques for chopping and paring with a razor-sharp chisel honed to the proper angle. We will also show you how to sharpen a chisel.  Bring your own chisel if you want hands-on practice.  The wider the better: 1 to 1 ½ inches.

Precision Layout:

The key to good woodwork is good layout and markup.  Once you can trust the lines you’ve made, you will get great results. We show you the tricks to do consistent, precise layout so you can get a great fit every time. You will learn to use marking gauges, dividers, marking knives and squares.


You do not need to bring any tools to this class. The school has workbenches fully equipped with high quality hand tools. We strongly encourage you to put off tool purchases until you have taken this class, because by the end of the class, you will understand what a good tool looks like and how well it can work. That said, if you already own your own tools, feel free to bring them along and use them.


This is a beginning level course. 

Class Information and Registration

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

Class size: 10
Cost: $775
Materials Charge: $60

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.