july, 2020

13jul(jul 13)9:00 am18(jul 18)5:00 pmFive Day Beginning Furniture Making Class: Build a Dining ChairPort Townsend School of Woodworking9:00 am - 5:00 pm (18) PST Port Townsend School of Woodworking Event Organized By: Port Townsend School of Woodworking

Event Details

This class will be held in Building 304, between Taps & USO

Chair making is where design and function meet comfort. In an ideal world each chair would be crafted for the individual – matching the length and curvature of your spine, the separation of your hips, the length of your thighs and the length of your shins.

Chair making also drives the furniture maker to combine beauty and strength. An elegant chair looks comfy and inviting but is also built to resist the stresses of day to day use. That satisfied tilt back of a chair at the end of a great meal imposes a huge load on the joinery in the chair.

Sam Maloof described chair making as the pinnacle of furniture making. So where to start? In this six-day class furniture maker Alex Dolese discusses the sources of her inspiration and practical requirements that influence chair design choices as you build a chair of Alex’s design.

Alex approaches chair making from the point of view of a professional chair maker where she balances aesthetics with the need to make a living.

You go through the whole process of building a chair. Starting from a kit of blanks you’ll mill out all the components and do the joinery. You’ll do the detailed shaping of the components. Then glue and assemble the chair. Finally you’ll make make a plywood seat bottom. We’ll discuss options for upholstery, but will not be doing the upholstery in this class.

Alex uses FSC Sapele for the kits she prepares for this class. If you are interested in using another wood, please contact Alex directly to make arrangements.

Class Description

Specifically the class covers:

  • Learn how to design a chair

  • Understand and practice making strong joinery for all the elements of a chair

  • Use templates for back legs

  • Use curves for crest and seat rails and the bottom of the side and front rails

  • Compare using a shaper (or router table) with hand tools for shaping chair components

  • Make all the components of the chair

  • Mark out the joinery

  • Glue up the chair

  • Prepare a seat bottom for upholstery and discuss options for upholstery. (We won’t be doing upholstery in this class.)

  • Understand practical finishes for a chair


  • Safety gear – dust mask, ear defenders and safety goggles

  • 5mm mechanical pencil

  • Pen

  • 6 inch ruler

  • Eraser

  • 6 inch double or adjustable square


Alex uses a variety of setups on table saws and routers to create the joinery. Plus she uses jointers and planers during the class. Students should have some basic training on using these machines and be comfortable using them. If you are unsure if your experience is adequate, please feel free to contact us.

Class Information and Registration

Class runs from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Saturday.
This course takes place in Building #304.
Please read our What to Expect page for general information about the school.
Please also read our Registration Policy.

Class size: 8
Cost: $ 930
Materials Charge: $ 200 (possibly higher)

When you click on the Register link you will be able to register for the class or, if the class is full, sign up for the wait list.


13 (Monday) 9:00 am - 18 (Saturday) 5:00 pm PST


Port Townsend School of Woodworking


Port Townsend School of WoodworkingFine woodworking classes, including carving, timber framing, and furniture making, by some of the most respected woodworkers in the world.info@ptwoodschool.org Classrooms are in Buildings 315 & 304 at Fort Worden