Semester 1

Build Your Fundamental Hand Tool Skills & Make Yourself a Better Woodworker

Semester 1 is an introductory hand tool woodworking online course and assumes no prior woodworking experience.  It will take a small kit of tools and walk the woodworker through all the fundamental skills to build furniture. Each lesson lays out a technique, provides practice exercises, then applies that technique in a simple shop project.

These projects require little wood and don’t have to be of museum quality. They are jigs and appliances that the hand tool woodworker will reach for time and again while working in the shop. Each lesson builds off the previous until the end of the semester when every small project and technique work together to build an heirloom tool cabinet to store all your new hand tools.

Projects, Lessons & Tools

  • Lessons
  • Applied Projects
  • Final Project
  • Tool List

Each project is design to only employ the skills covered in the respective lesson so you can apply what you have learned while building on skills from previous lessons.

winding sticks

Winding Sticks

Flatten Your First Board and square it on 6 sides then cut a rabbet and inlay with a chisel

sawing bench

Saw Bench

Use only a saw and 3 types of precision cuts to make one of the most useful shop tools

bench hooks

Bench Hooks

Revisit milling a board and glue them together to make your first panel

Miter Box

Use grooves to create interlocking joinery then layout and cut precision guide slots

Tool Storage

Cut a boatload of dados, then do another boat load using several techniques

Miter Shooting Board

Pair a wide dado with grooves, and milling boards in this project

Layout Square

Use two kinds of half laps and milling (again) for this square.

Saw Bents

Employ a typical mortise and tenon, then a drawbore, and finally a wedged through tenon.

Stone Pond

1 miter is easy but 4 in a frame is where the test lies

Saw Til

Through dovetails, half blind dovetails and a lot of milling on this project

Dovetail Marker

Get your feet wet with sliding dovetails by making a tiny through, sliding dovetail

Wax Til

Practice diamond inlay and get some mortising practice on this project

Panel Gauge

Use relative dimensions and a myriad of joints on this project

Jim Meltsner

Shannon Rogers is a dedicated and caring woodworking instructor who is invested in growing the craft and his students.  

When I was looking to buy a couple handsaws online, I asked Shannon for advice.  He was extremely knowledgeable about the vintage saws in question, but also took the time to look at the listing and provide me extensive and insightful comments in a timely fashion.  He even sent me a piece of 16/4 Cherry from his own stash when I made a mistake building my workbench!!  

He cares deeply about his students and building a supportive community.  If you are just starting out, or a seasoned hand tool woodworker, Shannon has something to offer.  I recommend the Hand Tool School without reservation!

Virtual School?  Support?

Yep this is all virtual instruction using video, PDFs, and good old fashioned community forums.  But I'm never more than an email away or a private message through the forum.  Plus there are LOTS of woodworkers active every day in our Community that are ready and willing to help you as your skills grow.

Unlike brick and mortar classes, there is no start time and no need to take vacation time or travel to a location.  With The Hand Tool School you can work at 2 AM in your own shop, with your own tools, and stark naked!  I advise some protective footwear at least.

Of course I'll be here every step of the way answering your questions.  Ask any of my students, I'm always ready to help.

Join the Best Hand Tool Community on the Net

"The Shop Floor" is an extremely active community of your peers waiting for you to share your triumphs, project pictures, and to help you when you have troubles.  Even though Shannon is always around to help, you can also tap into this vibrant community of thousands or other woodworkers.  If you are struggling with a technique or  project, many of them are building the same thing or have already built it and can offer advice.

hand tool school community