Build a Nightstand
An Introduction to Carcase Work with Jeff Miller

Furniture Making Series Level: Level II


Our beginning handtool woodworking classes like Handtool Heaven and the Basics of Woodworking series are a great introduction to the bench skills you'll need to make furniture. In this five day class with Jeff Miller you'll learn how to integrate those skills and techniques to build a simple carcase.

Carcase in the world of furniture making refers to the body of a piece of furniture designed for storage, such as a chest, wardrobe. In this class you will make a small nightstand (equally useful as a side table) that provides a good introduction to carcase construction and how these design and construction principles apply in the wider context of furniture making.

Class Description

Carcase work introduces how mortice and tenons, grooves and panels work together to create classic frame and panel sides of the night stand. Halfblind dovetails are used to fit the top stretcher. 

We’ll also learn a systematic and sane approach to gluing up a case.

Finally we’ll attach the top, allowing for wood movement, and install a ship-lapped back for the case.

In this class students will learn to:

  • Introduction to carcase design and construction
  • Lay out joinery
  • Chop mortises
  • Cut and fit tenons
  • Plough grooves for panels
  • Make half-blind dovetails for front rails
  • Gluing up side panels and the top
  • Rabbet and fit side panels
  • Glue up components
  • Attach the top and install ship-lapped back


The School's workbenches and teaching tools provide high quality hand tools for all the activities in this class. If you have started to build your own kit of hand tools we encourage you  to bring them to the class. 


This class should not be your first time working with hand tools. If you have self studied and completed many of the projects in Jim Tolpin's "The New Traditional Woodworker" or have taken hand tool classes elsewhere or have other equivalent experience then this will be a great class for you.

Students who have taken Jim Tolpin’s Hand Tool Heaven class or the Hand Saw Essentials and Hand Plane Essentials classes in our Basics Of Woodworking program will find this a great class to add joinery skills to their repertoire.  

Class Information and Registration

Class starts at 9:00am on the first day.

Please read our What to Expect page for general information about the School.

Please also read our Registration Policy.

Class size: 10
Cost: $750
Materials Fee: $300


2014 Class:

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.

May 19 - 23, 2014 Building a Nightstand Register

If you'd like to ask questions - please feel free to contact  us - (360) 344-4455 or by email.

About the School
 Location & Lodging
     Our organization
     Vocational option

Woodworking Programs

2014 Woodworking Class Schedule

What others say about us

Stay Connected
   Email us
   Join our email List
   Join us on Google+
   Support the School


Port Townsend School of Woodworking and Preservation Trades Copyright © 2007-2014. All rights reserved.

200 Battery Way | Fort Worden | Port Townsend, WA 98368 | (360) 344-4455 | email

The Port Townsend School of Woodworking and Preservation Trades is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit. Any donations made to the School are tax-deductible to the extent provided by law.