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Foundations of Furniture Making

Rob Spiece

August 21 – 26, 2023



Foundations in Furniture Making

In this course, we’ll dive deeply into the techniques and fundamentals of solid wood furniture making.  We’ll use all the tooling available in the modern home shop and the hand tools that have been used in woodworking forever.  I don’t ascribe much to the concept of being a “hand tool woodworker” or a “power tool woodworker”.  I’ll use the best option at hand to produce the finished results I’m looking for.  The reality is those decisions are often made by what tooling is available to you – or sometimes the mood that strikes you.  You’ll be working in a well-equipped shop, but we won’t rely on high priced equipment exclusively.  There are many ways to cut a mortise – we’ll take you through the process of laying out and chopping by hand, using a plunge router, a mortiser, a drill press, and a domino.  It’s my goal that when you leave this course, you can adapt what you’ve learned to your own shop.  We’ll spend a lot of time on the table saw, with routers, jointers & planers, an array of hand-held power tools and then we’ll fine tune joinery at the bench with hand tools.

From Scratch

No parts will be prepped for you in this course.  We’ll begin with rough sawn material and finish with a completed piece of furniture.  Learning the craft of woodworking is far more than fancy tools and techniques.  A deep knowledge of the material is at the core of this class.  Hundreds of decisions are made throughout the initial phases of material selection and milling that have a direct impact on the finished quality of the work and you won’t miss out on any of it.  You’ll start the week with a pile of rough sawn boards and end it with a piece ready for finish. 

Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced

Whether you are an absolute beginner or even an advanced woodworker, you’ll leave this course with a renewed sense of ability and inspiration.  For those just starting, you can learn how to safely and efficiently operate woodworking machinery and design furniture built upon traditional joinery techniques.  For advanced woodworkers, a week spent with a professional furniture maker will boost your efficiency, productivity, and bag of tricks – allowing you to make a greater impact in the limited time you may have in your home shops.  There will be plenty of one-on-one time in this course, and we’re happy to tailor the experience to you.

The Project

The project pictured is a Shaker-inspired riff on the hall table.  While we’ll all be working on a hall table, the design is up to you.  We’ll give you several options, but I’ll also encourage you to bring some of yourself to the table.  We’ll discuss what makes a successful design and why, then help you to realize your own ideas.  This project is an ideal piece for a thorough grounding in furniture making techniques.


  • Safety glasses
  • Hearing protection
  • Tape measure
  • Sharpie
  • Pencils


  • Shoulder/rabbet plane
  • Block plane
  • 3/8, ½ chisels
  • Random orbit sander

Lunches provided.