The Furnituremaking Workshops at 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.


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.......... $1275.00, includes materials

Chair Design Workshop: Monday - Friday, May 8 - 12, 2017, MWF 9 AM - 2:30 PM, T Th 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, January 14, 2017, 9 AM - 5 PM

also offered: June 3, 2017, 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 January 21, 2017, 12:00 - 5:00 PM

also offered: June 17, 2017, 12 - 5 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,  February 4, 2017, 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 skills with regular dovetails forward as well. These joints call for greater understanding of what you have to do to make dovetails work. Greater understanding plus practise yield improvement.

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

Advanced Dovetails Workshop: Saturday, February 11, 2017, 9 AM - 5 PM

Jigs for Hand-Cut Mortise and Tenon Joints

Magic Tenoning Jig

I've been exploring ways to make mortise and tenon joints easier for years. I've developed router jigs, tablesaw jigs, and most recently, a set of jigs for use with hand tools. These hand tool jigs will help you to make accurate and repeatable mortise and tenon joints with hand tools.

We'll build a jig for sawing tenon cheeks with a way to control the exact thickness of the tenons, a jig for cutting tenon shoulders, and jigs for paring mortises accurately. We'll also cover the use of these jigs in a variety of situations. Once you get used to them, the joinery cut with these jigs will rival anything you can cut with a machine for accuracy.

Tuition.......... $495, includes materials

Jigs for Hand-Cut Mortise and Tenon Joints: Saturday - Sunday,  March 25 - 26, 2017, 9 AM - 5 PM

Build a Roubo-Style Workbench

A good workbench is at the core of your shop. It's almost indispensable for hand work, and valuable even for those who work mostly with machines. I've just finished up my fifth Roubo-style bench. Why so many? These are the best benches I've used. They are rock solid,  with amazing work-holding abilities. This is the bench I wrote about in Fine Woodworking (Tools and Shop Issue, 2012)

You can size the bench to suit the space you have available (mine are 54", 64", and 84" long), and you can choose and will need to provide the vise hardware (mine have Benchcrafted vise hardware, which is the best I have found). I can't guarantee that you will be able to install the vises in class, but we will certainly try!

I will supply carefully milled wood (ash) - price will depend on the length of your bench, but will average $1200. I have found that letting students supply the wood slows down the process so much (we usually have to re-mill in class) that this will not be an option.

Roubo-style Workbench with Benchcrafted Hardware

Tuition.......... $ 1500.00 (does not include materials, which will average $1200)

Build a Roubo-Style Workbench: Friday, March 31st, 12 - 7 PM, Saturday, and Sunday, April 1st and 2nd, 9 AM - 5 PM, Friday April 7th, 12 - 7 PM, and Saturday and Sunday, April 8th and 9th, 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, March 18, 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,  February 18, 2017, 9 AM - 5 PM

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