Correa Wood Works
Craftsman furniture featuring full integral mortise and tenon joinery. 100% solar powered!

Woodcraft Class 1st Weekend

I have been very busy preparing for my furniture making class at the Tucson Woodcraft. The class teaches traditional draw bore mortise and tenon joinery. Each student constructs their own personal table using top shelf air-dried walnut hardwood. I believe that this class format rewards each person with the satisfaction of completing a beautiful piece of furniture as well as a solid set of fine furniture skills.

The first day starts with layout. The legs of this table present an involved design and require a very solid awareness of the table geometry. Going through the layout process at the start of the class ensures that everyone is prepared for success.

Once the layout of the legs has been completed we move on to milling the rails, stretchers and table top components. The use of jointers, surface planers, table saws, bandsaws, crosscut sleds and miter fixtures are reinforced throughout this process.

Moving on we drill the draw bore pin holes in the legs to provide the path for the draw bore pin which will lock the joint together once the piece is assembled.

We move forward and chop the mortises using the hollow chisel mortiser.

The tenons are cut using the crosscut sled, tenoning fixture and bandsaw.

Basic hand tool work is involved when refining the fit of the tenons. We use tools such as shoulder planes, block planes, chisels, as well as traditional work holding tools including bench vises, hold-fasts and bench dogs. The head “Bench-Dog” keeps a close eye on progress.

After carefully working each joint, the work spaces begin to fill up with piles of parts full of holes, mortises and tenons.

At the end of the second day each person has completed the initial dry fit of their table base and prepares for the third day of the class.

On the third day the tenons are established on the end of the stretcher.

After the tenon is cut the shoulder is cleaned up on the work bench. Holdfast’s are used to secure the workpiece to the bench.

The cleaned stretcher is clamped to the lower side rails in order to create an outline for the tenon using a marking knife.

The through tenon is started by chiseling out the profile made with the marking knife.

A drill press can be used to remove the bulk of the material. After chiseling down about 1/4″ we switch over to a combination of pattern bits and flush trim bits and use the router to remove the majority of the waste.

Once the through mortise is completed the joint is assembled and refined if necessary.  Here is a look at Dan’s table, dry fit for the second time.

We create the joinery for the bread board end with the hollow chisel mortiser.

The tenon on the table top will be sized to fit the mortise using a dado stack.



4 Responses to “Woodcraft Class 1st Weekend”

  1. Thanks for posting your happenings and progress in teaching this class. I like the pictures as well. You should have four happy students once the class is completed.

  2. Being one of the four students, I must comment that it was a great class. Sam is truly an artist when it comes to furniture building. I used to think in the terms of 1/32 inch, but with Sam, it is in the thousands of an inch.

    But the real joy came when I assembled the first side, top rail and two legs driving in the four pins. All gaps totally disappear. then go to instal the bottom stretcher, and it fits perfectly.

    If you ever have a chance to take this course, take it. It is six very long days, but definitely worth it.

  3. I am one of the students who just completed the class. It was outstanding! I have a super piece of furniture but more important is the amount of knowledge I brought home with me. Sam has a vast wealth of woodworking knowledge and skill. His many little tricks and techniques that he explained and showed was worth the admission price alone. He has a passion for woodworking and I would recommend his class to all.

    • I was one of the students as well. It was a really fun project, and I got to learn about drawbore pin construction. There were lots of little tricks about how to get the really tight joints, along with some explanation about where precision was less important.

      I’ve finally finished the finishing on the table, and it is really nice. Now where to put it.

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