Traditionally, master craftspeople used hand tools to create their pieces. With the advent of the modern shop and our reliance on power tools, many of the skills associated the use of hand tools are slowly slipping away. In this class, we get back to the basics and build a beautifully simple piece of furniture with a focus on traditional woodworking.
The recommended project is a small step stool, tool tote or bench, with hand cut dovetails and through tenons, although other projects may be appropriate as well. You can customize your learning experience by choosing a project that incorporates the type of joinery you want to learn. You can either design your own project, consult with the instructor to get help with the design, or use one of our designs.
We recommend you visit Open Shop prior to the start of class (free of charge) to consult with the instructor on your design so that you’re ready to go when class starts, but you can also just work out your design during the first week of class. The most important thing is that you choose a project that is within your ability to finish during an 11-week class. If you choose to take on something more in-depth, you can pay to attend our Thursday night Open Shop to keep working on it after the class ends.
While power tools will be used to mill the lumber to size, the focus will be on hand tools for all the joinery, including proper use and care of chisels, hand planes, card scrapers, and other hand tools. This class requires some previous machine woodworking experience (either through one of our classes or other experience). The focus of this class is learning hand joinery techniques, so we expect that you are mostly self-sufficient in milling lumber using machines.
Meeting Times: one day weekly for 11 weeks, 6:30 – 9:30 pm.
Cost: $435 (includes materials)
Prerequisite: Our one day Sharpening Hand Tools and Milling Rough Lumber classes are highly recommended if you don’t already have similar experience, although not necessary.
Please Bring: Set of chisels, a dovetail saw, marking gauge, bench plane, 12′ – 16′ tape measure, utility knife, pencil and paper, and safety glasses/ear protection if you have them.
Now in his 7th year of teaching at The Workbench, Brian Mulcahy began his career as a fine woodworker at age 15 and later graduated from North Bennet Street School’s Furniture Program. His workshops are among our most popular and he’s created quite a following in Open Shop. When he’s not teaching, Brian builds custom furniture and works on his family farm.