Intro to Woodworking – Furniture

To be notified when courses are being offered, as well as when applications are being accepted, sign up for our mailing list.. You can sign up here.

Intro Courses Overview

Our beginner-level Woodworking 101 is offered as two separate courses (101A and 101B), which can be taken in either order. The only requirements are curiosity, enthusiasm, and the ability to follow instructions. For those with limited prior experience, the course is an opportunity to brush up on skills and learn proper usage of our shop’s particular machines.

Through completion of assigned projects, you will learn to safely use standard woodworking machinery—the jointer, planer, table saw, bandsaw, drill press, and router—and become familiar with the material properties of wood, how to mill rough lumber, principles of joinery, and basic finishing techniques. Students who have completed both 101A and 101B are well-equipped to begin designing and building their own projects, and will have the option to join the shop as a monthly member.

Please note. While the skills we teach are transferrable across a variety of woodworking contexts, the focus of our 101 courses is fine furniture. While there is no consensus on the exact definition of this term, our approach incorporates a pride in workmanship, attention to detail, and knowledgeable construction. The scale of projects at SFCWS includes nicely finished chairs, tables, lamps, and boxes; we work in hardwood. Large kitchen cabinet projects, home remodels, CNC projects, and tiny houses – while certainly qualifying as “woodworking” – are best pursued elsewhere!

Tuition and Fees (per course)

  • $700 tuition
  • $100 materials fee
  • Total: $800 ($500 non-refundable deposit due via Square upon enrollment)

Additional optional costs would include any tools or extra lumber you wish to purchase for yourself.

Our instructors volunteer their time, and all proceeds go toward covering shop overhead.

Absence Policy

Because of our limited class size and high demand, we ask that students to commit to the course for its duration. If you know you will miss any of the class sessions, we ask that you instead enroll in a future session. Absence is grounds for dismissal with no refund. This is out of fairness to others waiting to take the course, and to keep the flow of the class and attention of the instructor at an appropriate pace for the rest of the students.

Woodworking 101A – Step Stool

The step stool project offers an excellent introduction to woodworking through creating a small piece of functional furniture.  The design we’ve chosen is compact yet useful and dare we say, downright cute.  The height was chosen so as to be tall enough to make it worthwhile as a step stool but short enough to make using it easy and comfortable.  The wide panel legs provide stability from tipping and the crosspiece resists racking.  The joinery is done with the Festool domino cutter which provides a fast and convenient method of making a very strong floating tenon-style joint (a common type of joint in woodworking).  All of these points are the types of things you’ll learn to consider and design for when creating your own custom pieces–functionality, stability & strength and aesthetics.  Through practice and through studying the designs of furniture and objects you encounter in your everyday life you’ll develop a sense for successful and not-so-successful solutions and methods.  This project is just the beginning of developing your own repertoire of basic techniques.


  • Learn how to mill and cut lumber to size.  Milling lumber is a process to make the faces flat and the edges straight and square to the faces.  Proper techniques in cutting your stock to size helps you make accurate and repeatable cuts.
  • Learn about panel making and how to make custom, larger pieces of stock out of smaller lumber.  This is a useful and necessary part of making any larger woodworking project.
  • Practice layout and marking both for the joints of your stool and for any decorative work you choose to do.
  • Learn how to use the Festool Domino Jointer.  This tool makes a very strong joint that’s convenient, fast to execute and versatile.
  • Learn how to clamp and glue up a project.  Though it’s easy to overlook this as a woodworking skill, understanding how to properly use clamps, how to adjust clamps during a glue up and how and where to apply clamping pressure is a critical part of the quality and craftsmanship of your final piece.

Tools Covered: Table saw, Jointer, Planer, Festool Domino Mortise and Tenon Joiner, some hand tools

Joinery: Mortise and tenon

Duration: subject to change for each individual offering; either 8 four-hour sessions, Thursday nights, 6 – 10 PM, or 4 eight-hour weekend days (in either case, 32 hours of instruction total)

Next Session: WEEKEND INTENSIVE – 9 AM – 6 PM September 16-17 & 23-24

How to apply: applications for the next session are now closed. Applicants will be notified of their status by September 1.

Woodworking 101B – Elegant Box

This simple box uses a pinned rabbet joint at the corners and a floating panel for the bottom–staples of box construction.  The pins in the corners add needed strength to the rabbet joint and also provide a decorative touch.  A variation on this type of joint with the dowels coming in from the sides rather than the front is commonly used in drawers.  Other common joints for drawers or boxes are finger joints, box joints, dovetails, tongue and rabbet joints and many more.  The joint we chose to use here is both straightforward for your first project, aesthetically interesting and provides a good platform for adding the router table to your repertoire.


  • Learn how to select and purchase lumber from the lumber yard.  Understand the lingo so you know how to find what you’re looking for, demystify the selection and purchasing process and learn how to estimate how much rough lumber you need for a project.
  • Learn how to mill and cut lumber to size.  Milling lumber is a process to make the faces flat and the edges straight and square to the faces.  Proper techniques in cutting your stock to size helps you make accurate and repeatable cuts.
  • Practice layout and marking both for the joints of your toolbox and for your handles
  • Learn how to use the table router for making your joints, creating grooves and routing to a template

Tools Covered: Table saw, Jointer, Planer, Router, Drill Press, some hand tools

Joinery: Pinned Rabbet and Dado

Duration: subject to change for each individual offering, but typically 8 four-hour sessions, Thursday nights, 6:00-10:00PM (32 hours of instruction total)

Upcoming Sessions:

  • 6-10 PM, Thursday evenings, Aug. 24 – Oct. 12
  • 6-10 PM, Thursday evenings, Nov. 2 – Dec. 21 (no class on Thanksgiving, Nov. 23). NOTE: this run of the course will be seven sessions rather than eight; the cost will be $700 including materials fee

How to apply: applications are no longer being accepted. Application status will be communicated by October 20.