Semester 4

Compound Joinery, Carving, & Resawing

Semester 4 jumps forwards again in our exploration of hand tool techniques with 2 great new projects. This semester will be an introduction to compound joinery, basic carving, and a detailed look at the best woods for hand work.

We will break down these seemingly advanced topics and show how simple they can be when tackled with saw, plane, and chisel.

Then we take a HUGE leap forward by building a frame saw meant for resawing that will change how you work and buy lumber.

The Hand Tool School allows the very beginner, with even a minimal "hand me down" tool set (me), to learn at their own pace.  I really appreciate Shannon's humility and genuineness in delivering the lessons to us, his virtual apprentices.  The projects seem simple when viewing, but if you follow the recommendation to use only hand tools, you will be challenged and your journey to mastery can truly begin.

Joel J 
Member Since 2013

Work at Your Own Pace

What makes the lesson in The Hand Tool School so effective is that they never go away.  When you buy a semester you have lifetime access to the material.  No need to worry about cramming in all the content before access goes away or how much it will cost you in monthly fees to get through all the material.  And there is A LOT of material in Semester 4.  

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.

Good sawing, chiseling and plane work is all you need.

Lessons, Projects, & Tools

  • Lessons
  • Applied Projects
  • Tool Box
  • Drop Leaf Table
  • Tool List
hand tool friendly woods

Lesson 1: Wood World Tour

What are the best woods for hand tool work? How do they work? What are the pros and cons? In this lesson I will discuss in detail 10 species of woods and draw comparisons to similar species. The world of wood is vast but I will hit at least 6 continents.

tool tote minimal tool kit

Lesson 2: Road Tool Kit

It is rare that we ever leave our shops, but when that happens it is good to know what tools you need to tackle most jobs. If you ever take a class or want to bring along tools to play on a vacation, this kit will allow you to keep working no matter where you are. 

compound dovetails

Lesson 3: Compound Dovetails

Compound angle dovetails are no harder than regular dovetails if your sawing skills are sound. The difficulty comes in proper layout and wrapping your head around how the parts fits together.

compound angle tenons

Lesson 4: Compound Tenons

Those of you still struggling to cut a mortise and tenon joint that is square will love this lesson. Time to abandon square and create angled shoulders for splayed table legs, trapezoidal chair frames and more!

woodcarving introduction

Lesson 5: Introduction to Carving

We will tackle some simple decorative forms and letter carving. The focus will be on starting with a very minimal set of tools and adapting them to create many common forms.

rule joint

Lesson 6: Rule Joints

This handy joint is used for creating drop leaf tables. It will rely upon the moulding plane skills we learned in Semester 2 and add a level of precision to your skill set for the hinge setting.

Lesson 7: Resawing

While we have briefly covered this in semester 1, this lesson will take a much deeper look at the methods to make an accurate resaw cut.  Whether you want to cut your own veneer or are looking to break down thick stock for bookmatched panels or something as simple as drawer sides.  This lesson is full of techniques not seen this side of the 18th century!

An Unmatched Learning Experience

I firmly believe that if you follow each lesson, do the practice exercises, and build the projects you will be a better woodworker at the end of it.  I think that dedicating 4-6 months to get through all the lessons and projects is a reasonable goal as well.  

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.

From the first time you pick up a chisel, camber an iron, and cut your first dovetail, Shannon is there guiding your progress through online instruction, short videos, and his woodworking experiences.  The Hand Tool School community ranges from beginners to advanced woodworkers who offer the support and motivation that you need to succeed.  It is simply the best online instruction that I have ever experienced.

Michael B 
Member Since 2014

But there is also a community of your peers waiting for you to share your triumphs, project pictures, and to help you when you have troubles.  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.