Hand Tool Heaven: Joinery with Saws & Chisels

Joinery Chisel


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.

Register by: June 3, 2019

If you cancel your registration for a course less than or equal to 10 days prior to the beginning of class, we will keep 50% of the course fee.
If you cancel on or after the first day of class, you forfeit 100% of the course fee.

Port Townsend School of Woodworking

Our mission is to inspire a lifelong passion for craftsmanship through education in woodworking and traditional building trades. We range in age from 10 to 85. At first glance you might wonder what brings us together. The answer: a shared love for woodworking. We’re serious about technique, we maintain a tireless work ethic, we thrive on helping each other problem solve, and we believe the only failure isn’t trying.

Our passions include: hand tools, joinery, fine furniture, Northwest Coast Arts, woodturning, tiny homes, Vardo Wagons and creating an inclusive, supportive community.

More classes from Port Townsend School of Woodworking

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