Port Townsend School of Woodworking
Preserving the Tradition

Just Joints


Just Joints



Get  hands on practice cutting traditional joinery. Over five days we will cover ten joints. You'll learn how to create a wide variety joints quickly and to a high level of precision using only hand tools. We'll explain engineering advantages and practical applications for anything from delicate furniture making to heavy timber framing.  We'll follow our usual teaching technique of explaining the joint, demonstrating the techniques and then you practicing the joint. 

One of the additional advantages of many of these joints is that they're not only strong but they also add a interesting visual element to your work and emphasize the care and craftsmanship you put into building the piece. 

You will go home with ten sample joints and the confidence to make strong, accurate, and practical hand cut joinery.

"Glue only lasts about 200 years, so your joinery better be good."

just joints example.jpg

Class Description

In this class you will practice reading plans, precision layout, precision sawing, and chisel work. 

Each morning and afternoon will start with a brief presentation and analysis of the session's joint. Proportioning, application, and virtues will be considered a we take apart a sample dry fit version of the joint. The instructor will demonstrate efficient layout and specific techniques to efficiently and accurately cut the joint. For the rest of the session work on the joint with our instructors close at hand to answer questions, observe your technique and coach you.

These are the joints we're covering in this class:

  1. Bridle joint and variations (mitered, pinned, splayed)
  2. Twin Tenon
  3. Cogged lap joint
  4. Housed dovetail tenon
  5. Scarf
  6. Locked scarf
  7. Half-dovetail wedged through tenon    
  8. Tusk tenon
  9. Stopped dado with shoulders
  10. Stopped sliding dovetail

What our students say...

"I expected to learn new joints, I didn't appreciate how much I'd gain in technique - the constant precision demand improved my saw and chisel skills greatly."

"I wasn't expecting as much practical experience with layout...now I look forward to challenging myself with new layouts."


You are welcome to use the high quality hand tools at our fully equipped workbenches.

 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. These are some of the tools we will be using in class:

  • 5/16" Mortise chisel
  • 1", 3/4", 5/8", 1/2" bench chisels
  • Tenon saw (rip)
  • Carcase saw (x-cut)
  • Lay out tools: marking gauges, marking knife, bevel gauge, squares


You should have prior experience of laying out and cutting mortice and tenons or dovetails with hand tools. This is the perfect class to perfect your handsaw skills. The pace is brisk!

Class Information and Registration

Class starts at 9:00am on the first day.
Please read our What to Expect page for general information about the School.
Please also read our Registration Policy.

Class size: 10
Cost: $ 750
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.