Rosewood Studio School of Fine Woodworking; Tools, Courses, Workshops and Instruction

12 - Week Craftsman Program

Start Date:  February 22, 2021
                   September 7, 2021

Tuition: $9,750

Material Fees:  students will require approximately $350 to $600 of materials for projects, depending on wood species chosen


   Our Twelve Week Craftsman Program is designed for those who can arrange a continuous period of intensive, hands-on study, whether they are considering a career in furniture making, or wish to pursue the craft for their personal satisfaction and development. They enjoy the advantage of an uninterrupted stretch of time in which to immerse themselves in their work, with a degree of continuity not available when individual courses of the series are separated by time. Because each student arrives at Rosewood with a unique skill set, throughout these longer programs we encourage the improvement of existing skills, while ensuring that challenges are paced appropriately for each individual.

   The initial six weeks provide students with a thorough grounding in the basic skills of fine furniture making. In application of the skill building exercises, participants will create a small table featuring a finely fit drawer built with hand-cut dovetails. After the first six weeks, students will have the skills gained and the experience of having taken a rough sawn board from lumber to a finely made piece of furniture they can be proud of.

   The second half of the twelve week program ranges from the demonstration and practise of more advanced building techniques to matters of design and professional practice. During these six weeks, students will apply what they learn in the creation of three additional small pieces of furniture, each one designed to apply new skills and techniques. Students completing our twelve week program will come away with a solid understanding of both the fundamentals and some of the more advanced techniques of fine furniture making, the skills to build a finely crafted piece of furniture, and a realistic appreciation of the challenges to be met in pursuing furniture making as a career.
     Curriculum Summary 


  The program begins with an examination of traditional woodworking hand tools. Gaining proficiency with these will pay long-term dividends in your ability to create accurate work with speed and efficiency. We begin with hand planes; their varieties, configurations and uses. We go over how to select your plane from the many on the market, then tune and sharpen them for optimum performance. We finish with a “perfect board” exercise, where each student takes a board from rough sawn to six square and ready for finish using only hand planes. Each student will also make and learn the use of a shooting board as a means of trimming perfectly clean and square end grain surfaces.

  We undergo a similar process with the rest of our hand tools including chisels, scrapers, spokeshaves and handsaws. As the program proceeds, students will also use a variety of layout, marking and measuring tools and techniques in order to create accurate components and minimize measuring errors. An examination of choices in tool steels is wrapped up with a demonstration of annealing, shaping, hardening and tempering our own custom cutting tools using simple and commonly available equipment and materials. As time permits, students will have the opportunity to make their own wooden planes, specialized chisels and spokeshaves.





  The ability to safely, accurately and efficiently use machinery is an essential skill in most furniture making shops. We cover the safe operation, set up and maintenance of common wood shop machinery including the band saw, table saw, jointer, planer, mortiser, shaper, drill press and hand power tools. The breaking out and selection of materials is covered in depth, with particular attention to the selection of material from the standpoint of both aesthetics and physical properties. The use of cabinetmaker’s marks to maintain orientation of parts, and variations in the order of milling operations are examined with an eye towards safety and efficiency as students learn the process of creating accurate components from rough lumber using  machinery. Finally, we look at the selection of machinery for the small shop, whether for professional or personal use, as well as efficient and practical shop layout.


  Traditional joinery techniques have been utilized for hundreds of years, and have stood the test of time as furniture has passed from generation to generation. We demonstrate, then have students put into practice, the range of joinery used in fine furniture making. We start with the mortise and tenon joint - blind, through, haunched, wedged, floating, draw-bored, angled and doubled, as well as variations like bridle joints and breadboard ends. Carcass joints come next; dado, rabbet, spline, shiplap, tongue and groove. Of course no examination of joinery would be complete without the hallmark of craftsmanship, the dovetail, whether through, lapped or tapered-sliding. In addition to traditional joinery techniques, we will also look at more contemporary fastening methods including dowels, biscuits and pocket screws. Adhesives and their application form an important component of long lasting joinery: we will cover gluing and clamping strategies, as well as the variety of adhesives available to the furniture maker, their characteristics and applications.


  Drawer making and fitting round out the basic techniques of solid wood furniture making. Students are shown a step-by-step process for constructing a well fit drawer in solid wood. We look at the use of drawer slips, material selection to minimize seasonal movement and binding, and the fitting of drawers to compensate for out of square carcasses and allow for inevitable seasonal variations. 



    In the second half of the twelve week program, more advanced processes and projects are introduced, giving students experience with a wide variety of techniques that provide more creative options. Straight and tapered bent laminations, steam bending, kerf bending, the use of bending ply and stack laminating are all processes that can be used to create surfaces and components that depart from a flat plane.


  We introduce the use of veneers by bandsawing our own, then using them to form both flat and curved panels in the vacuum press. We then proceed with commercial veneers, examining choices in substrates, adhesives and edgebanding. Students gain experience cutting and joining decorative veneer patterns, including book and four-way matches, radial matches, cross banding and inlay.   

   Finishing techniques and materials suitable for use in the studio will be discussed and demonstrated as the class progresses. Emphasis will be placed on selecting an appropriate finish for a given application, with an understanding of the basic characteristics of the wide variety available. 

  Finally for those whose intent is to pursue furniture making as a career, we will look at professional business practices including producing design briefs, estimating, promoting yourself, photography of your work and developing a portfolio.


  Upon completion of the 12-Week Craftsman Program, students will have gained solid experience and understanding of a wide range of fine furniture making techniques, as well as an introduction to the design of finely made contemporary furniture and a realistic view of the challenges of working professionally.

Hand tools you'll be using:

Complete tool kits are available for student use free of charge, but attendees are encouraged to bring any of the tools listed below that they already own.

- smoothing and jack planes                            - marking gauge
- adjustable mouth block plane                        - sliding bevel gauge 
- shoulder plane                                             - dovetail saw
- 12" combination square                                - .5 mm mechanical pencil 
- small router plane                                        - carpenter's pencil
- honing guide                                               - notebook
- set of bevel edge chisels                              - set of water stones
- small chisel hammer 
Please be aware that safety glasses are required for all courses. Hearing protection is also recommended. 

Pre-requisites: Open to everyone
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Last Modified 2021-01-13 10:01:13