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

Classes are small in size - 6 to 8 students - and can accommodate a wide range of skill levels, from novices to professionals;  anyone looking to refine their craft or explore a new area of furnituremaking. The workshops range from a single weekend afternoon to a full 5 or 6 day week. I concentrate on teaching sound fundamentals and building from there. I believe that when you start by getting the fundamentals right, everything else makes more sense and is easier to master.

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.

 2016  Summer/Fall Workshops

Chair Design Workshop

Student Designed Chair
A student's chair prototype

There are three basic ways to approach the design a chair; each one focusing on one of the significant elements of a good chair design. You can start with either the comfort, the structure, or the visual aspects. I find that starting with comfort leads more reliably to a useable chair, and often adds to the visual appeal of the chair as well, since comfortable curves tend to be ones that are  interesting visually.

We'll start off with an exploration of what makes a chair comfortable, building a variety of comfort prototypes and discussing ways of testing out ideas for comfort. You will then develop your own ‘comfort prototype’. From this prototype, you will develop your  chair design. In the process of working out the overall design of the chair from the comfort prototype, we will cover significant  issues of structural integrity and successful visual appeal as well.

We'll explore methods for examining and refining the evolving design. The ultimate goal of the class is for each student to put together a functioning prototype of their chair design, utilizing a number of ‘short-cut’ joinery techniques.

Tuition.......... $1295.00, includes materials

Chair Design Workshop: Monday - Friday, July 18 - 23, MWF 10:30 AM - 6 PM, T Th 9 AM - 5 PM

Advanced Mortise and Tenon Joinery

The mortise and tenon is the foundation upon which most of woodworking is based. But it goes well beyond the basic joint. In this class we'll cover a number of variations: haunched mortise and tenons, angled mortise and tenons (two ways), twin mortise and tenons, and through mortise and tenons. I'll introduce you to a variety of approaches, techniques, and jigs, that will help you to master each of these joints. Although we will concentrate on hand-cut joints, we'll discuss options for machining these joints as well.

Tuition.......... $225.00

Advanced Mortise and Tenon Workshop: Saturday,  July 30, 2016, 9 AM - 5 PM

A Day of Hand Tools

There are few things that will have as big an impact on your woodworking as mastering the use of hand tools. This class combines the essential sharpening, tuning, and set-up of your hand tools with skill building and hand tool techniques. We'll work carefully on proper use of your body to get the most efficient and accurate work out of your tools.
The course covers primarily chisels and hand planes, with some discussion of scrapers and spokeshaves.

Tuition.......... $225.00

A Day of Hand Tools: Saturday, September 10, 2016, 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). 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.......... $125.00

Dovetail Workshop: Saturday October 1, 2016, 12:00 - 5:00 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.......... $125.00

Mortise and Tenon Workshop:  Saturday,  October 8, 2016, 12 - 5 PM

Advanced Dovetails Workshop

Compound Angle and Half Blind Dovetails

There's more to dovetails than just the standard through-joint (taught in our regular Dovetail Workshop). Here, we'll investigate half-blind and compound-angle dovetail joints. These variations give you more options when building case pieces, drawers, and tapered pieces.

These joints are a good way to move your regular dovetails forward as well. Even though they are more complicated, they call for greater understanding of what you have to do to make dovetails work. This usually leads to better results

Tuition.......... $225.00

Advanced Dovetails Workshop: Saturday, October 22, 2016, 9 AM - 5 PM

Building a Chippendale Chair

Image of Chippendale Chair

Building a chair is one of the great challenges in woodworking. The combination of curves, angles, and the need for a structure able to withstand the abuses of sitting are all part of the challenge. This chair adds a classic and simple elegance into the mix. The Chippendale Chair is a project that you’ll want to show off; and building one will greatly increase your capabilities as a woodworker.

We’ll do most of the work on this chair by hand (although there will be some bandsaw use). But Jeff has carefully worked out methods and a process to make this all possible for a woodworker who feels comfortable with mortise and tenon work. Starting with a kit of parts prepared in advance, we’ll use planes, chisels, and a few less-familiar tools resurrected from the 19th Century, Jeff will guide you through chopping and paring mortises and angled mortises, sawing out the tenons, shaping the legs and the faceted side rails and stretchers, and dealing with the intriguing curves and angles of this classic chair. You’ll learn how to approach a chair project, and the process for dealing with its complexities.

Don't plan on getting these chairs glued up in class (even though this is a six day class), but the basic joinery should be complete. Past experience indicates that most students do not get to the stretchers, but we'll cover the necessary techniques.

Tuition.......... $1225.00 plus $200 materials fee

Chippendale Chair Workshop: Monday - Saturday,  November 14 - 19, 2016, MWF 11 AM - 7 PM, T ThS 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.

Tuition.......... $125.00

Shaping and Bending Curves: Saturday, November 12, 2016, 12 - 5 PM

Furniture Design Workshop

Student's Bench ModelStudent's Chair ModelTwo student models from previous furniture design workshops.

Where does the idea for a new design come from? And once you have an idea, what do you do? These are the central questions we'll address in this workshop.

There are lots of ways to free up your creativity. We'll explore many of these as we work to come up with the "seed" of a design. Then we'll move on to growing that seed into a better realized design. We'll cover the skills, techniques and tools that can help. And we'll explore the process that will enable you to work up your ideas and turn them into successful designs. The tangible end product of this class is a small model of your design.  The more important end product is a better understanding of creativity and the design process.

Tuition.......... $225.00

Furniture Design Fundamentals Workshop: Saturday,  December 10, 2016, 9 AM - 5 PM

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