Port Townsend School of Woodworking
Preserving the Tradition

Hybrid Woodworking


Hybrid Woodworking


Level 2


What is hybrid woodworking? 

Our definition of hybrid woodworking is letting machines do the heavy lifting of preparation and dimensioning of the stock so that you can focus joinery and detailing of the final piece - that part where your craftsmanship is fully expressed.

A hybrid approach to woodworking uses a combination of power tools and hand tools. Why use both? Simply, it is our strong belief that some processes can be much faster and more pleasant (less exhausting) with the use of machines, and other processes can be much faster and more pleasant with the use of hand tools. This class will guide you through a project from start to finish using machines for stock preparation (week 1) and hand tools for precision joinery and making finished surfaces (weeks 2-4). 

How you ultimately decide to incorporate machines and hand tools in your own woodworking practice at home will develop depending on your production goals and workshop environmental needs as well as your relationship with the material and discovery of your personal process. An experienced hybrid woodworker can make practical decisions to find pleasure and efficiency in every stage of production.


In this 4 week intensive, students will learn the process for building a hanging wall cabinet using a combination of power tools and hand tools. The cabinet has been designed to incorporate an overview of essential wood construction techniques. It combines dovetail carcass construction, frame and panel door construction and an introduction to drawer making.

The curriculum for this course mirrors the chisel cabinet project that students complete in the Foundations of Woodworking 12 week intensive. We are offering this module as a stand alone course focusing on process and technique for students who are looking to adopt a hybrid approach to woodworking. The goal of this course is to present you with a variety of ways to complete a process so you can make an informed decision about whether to use hand tools, power tools or both. For example, you can see several different ways to make a groove (using a hand plane, a shaper, or a table saw) and make a choice about which method would work best for you.

Who should take this course?

  • Hand tool woodworkers looking to add machines to accelerate their process. If you have little experience with machines, that’s fine, this class will cover safety and best practices for working with machines. This class is an ideal next step for alum of our beginning hand tool classes such as Hand Tool Heaven and Hand Tool Heaven II.
  • Woodworkers who have significant machine experience and are looking to add hand tool skills to their practice. Note, this class should not be your first time using hand tools. See prerequisites below.
  • Developing woodworkers who are looking to expand their knowledge of construction techniques, gain experience with hybrid a approach, and seeking guidance with completing a project from start to finish.


Week 1
The first week will cover wood selection, safety and best practices for machine milling and dimensioning. We begin by orienting to the project design and producing a cutlist and story stick before selecting material. We will then take the material through the 4 and 6-square process using standing machines. We'll also cover machine  setup and maintenance, workshop design and layout. This portion of the class takes place in the School's new facility - Building 304. 

Weeks 2 - 4
Students will take their processed lumber, orient to the project, and layout and produce the required joinery. This portion of the course will focus mainly on hand tool woodworking. For some steps of the project, we will present several different alternatives (using machines or hand tools) so you can see various approaches to complete a task. For example, we can demonstrate three ways to make a groove (using a hand plane, a shaper, or a table saw) and you can make a choice about which method would work best for you. 

The cabinet project covers:

  • Layout and cut dovetails
  • Use dadoes to mount the shelf
  • Layout and cut mortise and tenon joints 
  • Raise a pair of panels for a frame and panel door
  • Mortise and install hinges
  • Install a knob and catch
  • Install back panels
  • Install a french cleat
  • how to glue up

After finishing the joinery and gluing up the projects, we will install hardware, secondary constructions (interior shelves or racks) , and begin final smoothing and prep for finishing.


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.


No machine experience is necessary. This should not be your first time using hand tools. We recommend skills equivalent to the Hand Tool Heaven and Hand Tool Heaven II: Joinery courses or the Weekend Hand Tool Woodworking series. 

Class Information and Registration

Class starts at 9:00am on the first day.
This first week of this class takes place in Building 304 at Fort Worden.  Weeks 2 - 4 take 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: $2,400
Materials Charge: $ 150

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. 

Scholarships are available for this course: