Basic jointing weekend.

Due to semi-retirement this course is no longer offered.

However, you may find the series of free to watch online instructional videos below helpful.

This course  focused entirely on hand woodwork. We started by planing up rough sawn timber to dimension then went on to make a simple frame in four different woods and with four different joints, one at each corner. The emphasis was on establishing a discipline of care and accuracy in marking out and cutting.

Course Description

Setting up a mortice guage

As wood cannot be welded, efficient and accurate jointing is the absolute basis of fine furniture making.

It is important to understand the forces acting upon a piece of furniture and to choose the appropriate joint for the situation.

Equally important is to cut a joint without slack, as sloppiness affects the strength and aesthetics of the piece.

The aim of this course is for you to acquire these skills.

About This Course

Those attending the course should be able to tell when a tool needs sharpening and how to sharpen it. Ideally having attended my tool sharpening and maintenance weekend or similar course or have developed a sound sharpening method.

Sharp tools are the very basis of woodwork, without sharp tools it is not possible to do good work. This is why I would encourage you to master your sharpening skills either on my sharpening course or otherwise before progressing to making.

During the course we make a rectangular frame, each corner will have a different joint and each side will be in a different wood. Not a terribly practical object, but it will give you practice in cutting four different joints and help you to understand the way different woods behave under the tools.

We will start with planing one of the pieces square and to dimension from the rough sawn state. This gives you experience with timber preparation, an important skill if you don’t have the machinery to do this. We cut the four pieces of the frame to length, concentrating on getting a clean square cut. Then we go on to cut the joints, starting with a simple lap joint. Cutting this joint gives valuable practice with paring with a chisel and using a hand router plane. Then it’s a dovetail lap, giving a taster of very simple dovetailing. We then cut a bridle joint followed by a mortice and tenon, perhaps the most common and useful of the woodworking joints, this one will have a through wedged tenon.

The frame may not be a very functional, although it could make an rather quirky mirror or picture frame with it’s over shot corners, but it will give you experience in cutting a variety of joints and working different timbers. The emphasis on my courses is on skills acquisition the course project is just a vehicle for that. For many beginners just getting a feel for the tools and the way wood cuts is the most important element

We'll make a frame something like this on the course.
Wedged mortice and tenon joint.
One corner will be a wedged mortice and tenon

The course is designed to introduce you to the basic woodworking skills of timber preparation and joint marking and cutting:

  • Safe use of hand tools, especially chisels
  • How to prepare rough sawn wood ready to work
  • How to plane smooth, straight and square
  • How to detect twist and correct it
  • Understanding grain direction
  • Using a marking gauge
  • Planing to a line
  • Using a shooting board
  • Accurate measurement
  • Accurate marking using a marking knife and square
  • How to saw square to a line
  • Accurste paring with a chisel
  • Using a hand router plane
  • Marking out mortice and tenon , lap, dovetail lap and bridle joints using a square, gauge and marking knife
  • Cutting the joints with chisel, mallet, handrouter plane and tenon saw.
  • Joint assembly

The course is backed up by a fully illustrated handout on CD or for download.

Watch the video for a taster on how to plane straight:

Watch free instructional videos featuring topics covered on the basic jointing course

online woodwork course video
Watch online video woodwork instruction. Click for full list of videos in this series.

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Thankyou, Chris.