Port Townsend School of Woodworking
Preserving the Tradition

Table from Rough Boards


Table from Rough Boards



What if you could build furniture efficiently without relying on power tools? Ever wish you could “cut the cord” completely, finally freeing yourself from the dust and scream of machines?

This workshop lays the foundation of pre-industrial (read: efficient hand-tool-only) woodworking by building a small table with hand tools. The emphasis of the class is the rediscovery of the efficiencies of hand tool woodworking that have been lost since the industrialization of furniture making.

Rather than draw plans for every single commissioned object, period artisans typically approached each piece the same. “You want a table? What wood? How long? Got it.” A table is a table. There are a few variations in construction but most period tables share the same guts. This class is designed to enable woodworkers to grasp the table form so that they can build whatever size or style they can imagine.

It’s commonly known that period artisans did not fret over tool marks in hidden areas but seeing it in the context of a build is important. It’s one thing to tell you not to worry about tear out but it’s another to show you exactly how much tear out is normal and where it’s found. Pre-industrial cabinetmakers didn’t fool around in their shops and neither will we. This class is focused on working efficiently with simple tools to achieve real results. It is a powerful feeling to build furniture with a few hand planes and saws. And anyone can do this.


Class Description

In this class, students will learn to design without measurements, build without machines, and assemble without clamps. The table features tapered legs, drawbored and hide-glued mortise & tenon joints, and an optional dovetailed drawer for those interested.


The school has all the tools listed below, except sets of small bits for the braces. If you have your own tools and prefer to work with them, please bring them to class.

Cross cut handsaw
Rip handsaw
Carcase saw
Tenon Saw
Dovetail saw

Basic set of bench chisels

Brace (or eggbeater drill) and set of small bits (not large auger bits)

Fore plane (curved iron)
Try/Jointer plane
Smoothing plane

Try square
Marking knife
Marking gauge
Winding sticks
Pair of dividers (compasses)

Wooden Mallet

5/16” or 3/8” mortise chisel




Students should have basic experience with the tools listed above and know how to sharpen and adjust the tools.


Class Information and Registration

Class starts at 9:00am on the first day.
This class takes place in Building 315 at Fort Worden on April 23-27, 2018. Map
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: $150 (subject to change, possibly higher)
Register by: April 24, 2018

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.