The Furnituremaking Workshops @ J. Miller Handcrafted Furniture offer a wide range of hands-on classes in the craft of making furniture. 

Four of the workshops this fall deal with making your own tools, including a new workbench class, a class on making wooden hand planes, on making a marking gauge, and finally one on building some terrific jigs for accurate mortise and tenon work by hand. The rest of the workshops are our  technique classes. I concentrate on teaching good fundamentals, and then building from there. If you start by getting the fundamentals right, everything else both makes more sense, and will be easier to master.

Classes are small in size - 6 to 8 in a hands-on workshop - and can accommodate a wide range of skill levels, from novices to professionals looking to refine their craft or explore a new area of furnituremaking. In general, the workshops range from a single weekend afternoon to a full forty-hour week.

For a simple schedule of workshops offered, click here.

For more general information about the workshops, the shop itself, and a brief bio of Jeff Miller, click here.

Private lessons are also available, where you can work with Jeff one-on-one on the topic or project of your choice. Please call for more information.

We also offer an apprenticeship program for the woodworker with a demonstrated commitment to furniture making.

Winter/Spring 2014 Workshops

A Day of Hand Tools

This class combines the sharpening, tuning, and set-up of your hand tools with skill building and hand tool techniques. The course covers primarily chisels and hand planes, with some discussion of scrapers and spokeshaves.

Tuition.......... $200.00

A Day of Hand Tools: Saturday,  January 11th,  2014, 9 AM -  5 PM

Also offered: Saturday, April 19th 2014, 9 AM - 5 PM

Dovetail Workshop

In our Dovetail Workshop, you'll learn to cut dovetails two ways: by hand, and using the tablesaw and bandsaw (with a simple, terrifically versatile jig that you can easily make at home). A one-day, hands-on workshop devoted to this functional and sometimes frustrating joint. Why settle for the mechanical look of routed dovetails when you can learn to cut beautiful dovetails with these methods? Work on the key skills for hand-cut joints, and see how these skills can be applied elsewhere in your woodworking.

Tuition.......... $100.00

Dovetail Workshop: Saturday, January 25th 2014, 12 -  5 PM

Also offered: Saturday, May 3rd, 2014, 12 - 5 PM

Mortise and Tenon Joinery by Hand

The most important and widely-used joint in furniture making is one that many people spend much time and effort trying to avoid. But cutting and fitting the joints by hand is not only possible; it's surprisingly quick and fun to do. We'll work on chopping mortises, sawing tenons, and then the crucial fitting of the joint. Lots of tips, tricks, and techniques.

Tuition.......... $100.00

Mortise and Tenon Workshop: Saturday, February 8th, 2014, 12 - 5 PM


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Furniture Design Fundamentals

Moving from the idea of a piece of furniture to an actual piece requires skills and techniques. There are also tools available that can help. This workshop introduces the fundamental skills, techniqes and tools that you need to work up your ideas and turn them into successful designs. We'll also go through a number of exercises that can help explore your design ideas, including creation of a small model.

Tuition.......... $100.00

Furniture Design Workshop: Saturday, February 15th,  2014, 12 -  5 PM

Designing a Chair

This class is an outgrowth of an exercise I've been doing at some of my chair classes on the road. I will lead the class through the design process of a chair, from working together on the idea we want to work with, to figuring out how best to develop the idea through mock-ups, models, and other techniques, and finally, to prototype it so we can actually sit in it and critique the design. And all of this will happen in a day! If there are enough students, we'll break into two small groups each designing their own chair.

This class will give you hands-on experience with the design process, and will give you an inside look at what goes on as a piece is designed and developed.

Tuition......... $250.00

Designing a Chair: Saturday, February 22nd, 2014, 9 AM - 5 PM

Making Shoji

Shoji screens in Japanese style tea house

Shoji are the wood and paper screens that have been an integral element of Japanese homes for hundreds of years. Used as doors and windows,they filter harsh daylight as it enters the home and imbue a warmth to interior spaces at night.
In this two-day workshop we will make a window-size shoji that the students will take home.The workshop will be led by craftsman Craig Klucina of Plane-Spoken in Chicago, Illinois, who has been making shoji for over a decade. He will provide an overview of the shoji's history and bring samples of his work for contextualizing shoji use in the contemporary home.

Window-sized shoji screen

Students will develop and strengthen their hand tool skills in constructing the mortise and tenon and half-lap joinery common to shoji. Layout of the lattice, known as kumiko, is a critical aspect for achieving good results. A simple formula allows for marking joints accurately. Additionally, the student will be encouraged to use handplanes to finish the wood. Shoji are traditionally finished in this way and reflect the skill of the craftsman. No additional finish is applied. After assembly, Craig will show how to apply the paper, sizing it to achieve a snare drum tightness with the wood. Finally, options for mounting the shoji will be explored, including traditional wood tracks and simpler alternative methods.
Students will have the opportunity to try using the Japanese hand plane, or kanna, from Craig's collection.
Craftsman Craig Klucina makes and installs shoji and tansu, the cabinetry indigenous to Japan, throughout the Midwest. He is a contributing writer to Sukiya Living journal and guest lectures on the thoughtful incorporation of Japanese architectural elements in the Western home.

Tuition.......... $360.00

Materials Fee: $25.00

Making Shoji : Saturday, March 1st and Sunday March 2nd, 2014,  9 AM - 5 PM

Shaping and Bending Curves

Mastering curves can open up a whole range of projects, and help bring your woodworking to a new level. We'll discuss layout, cutting, smoothing, and refining curves, including three dimensional curves. Then we'll move on to bending curves by laminating thin layers together. A variety of tools and jigs for doing curved work will be covered. We'll also do some hot pipe bending.

Tuition.......... $100.00

Shaping and Bending Curves: Saturday, March 15, 2014, 12 - 5 PM

Make a Slat-Back Chair

This workshop will introduce you to the pleasures and rewards of making chairs, in this case, our elegant and extremely comfortable Slat-Back Chair.
This intensive week-long class, will not only cover the necessary skills and techniques, but will de-mystify the process of building a chair. Discussions of chair design, structure, and comfort complement the work on bending and shaping parts, cutting the angled joints, assembling, and preparing the seat for upholstery. Finishing and upholstery will be discussed, but not done in class. Woodworking experience necessary.

Slat-Back Chairs - image

Tuition.......... $1200.00

Make a Slat-Back Chair: Monday - Friday, April 21st- 26th, 9 AM -  5 PM

Build a Roubo-Style Workbench

A good workbench is at the core of your shop. It's almost indispensable for hand work, and valuable even for those who work mostly with machines. I've just finished up my second Roubo-style bench, and I have a third one almost done. Why so many? These are the best benches I've used. They are rock solid,  with amazing work-holding abilities. This is the bench I wrote about in Fine Woodworking (Tools and Shop Issue, 2012)

You can size the bench to suit the space you have available (mine are 54" and 84" long), and you can choose and will need to provide the vise hardware (mine have Benchcrafted vise hardware, which is incredibly good).

You'll need to supply your own wood, and have it milled and cut to size before the class starts. If you prefer, I can supply carefully milled wood (ash) - price will depend on the length of your bench, but will average $1200.

Roubo-style Workbench with Benchcrafted Hardware

Tuition.......... $ 1200.00 (does not include materials)

Build a Roubo-Style Workbench: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, June 6th, 7th, 8th, 13th, 14th, and 15th, 9 AM - 5 PM


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