Furniture Making

Hill Institute Master Furniture Program

Program Description
The Hill Institute Master Furniture Program is a comprehensive course of study designed to
develop students’ control and mastery of tools and materials by building knowledge and
developing skills that will prepare and inspire them to create any form imagined or desired.
Instruction includes use of hand tools, power tools, and machinery. Students must create a
series of 5 skill-based furniture projects fulfilling at least 7 of the 9 required skill
components
that incorporate the foundations of woodworking as outlined in the following
sections. Makers are welcome to work in any style from any country of origin and time period
to incorporate the required skill components in their 5 furniture pieces.

Pre-requisite: Minimum of 1 year in Introduction to Furniture Making, Woodworking
(All Levels or
Intermediate) at Hill Institute, or demonstration of woodworking skill
at an intermediate level with experience in safely operating woodworking machinery.

Required Skill Components
The 5 skill-based furniture projects target the following components: 1) Mortise & Tenon
Joinery – by hand & machine; 2) Dovetailing – by hand; 3) Chair Framing – constructed to
support the weight of the user; 4) Doors – constructing and installing at least one mortise
and tenoned frame and panel door; 5) Drawers – hand dovetailed – inset or lipped construction;
6) Curves – cut from a solid piece of wood; 7) Turning – to include multiple transitions in
size and shape on spindles such as legs, posts, columns, finials, or knobs; 8) Inlay &
Veneer Work – inlay wood veneer or other material into solid wood, veneer applied to the
entire surface of a project part; 9) Carving – incised, raised, or in the round (like legs,
finials, or applied elements).

Foundations of Woodworking
The skills and knowledge of a master woodworker go beyond the manipulation of wood to
include process and materials. By focusing on the foundations of woodworking, which are
incorporated on an ongoing basis throughout the program, students will advance their core
skills and broaden their knowledge base as they progress through the program. The foundations
of woodworking include 1) Wood anatomy and principles of wood movement; 2) Stock
preparation, also known as dressing or milling lumber; 3) Aspects of design, such as
proportion, scale, aesthetics, and style of furniture; 4) Plans – reading, modifying, and
rendering; 5) Construction – choosing fabrication solutions based on the design of a
piece; 6) Sharpening edge tools (bench chisels, carving tools, plane blades, scrapers, and
scratch stock); 7) Finishing products and applications for woodwork; and 8) Research for
creative inspiration and to acquire project plans.

Program Requirements:
Completion of 5 furniture pieces incorporating no fewer than 7 of the 9 required skill
components. Components can be combined in alternate variations from the description
of furniture pieces
section, as long as each required component is fulfilled at least once.
Attendance: Class time is required for successful completion of program requirements.
If a student cannot make it to class, progress must be demonstrated by making up class
time in another class session taught by Sharon Mehrman or by putting in time on the project
at home.

Furniture Projects
There is flexibility within the scope of the program as long as 7 of the 9 targeted skill
requirements are met with the completion of the student’s 5 furniture projects. The furniture
projects are: 1) Lowboy or Equivalent Piece; 2) Hepplewhite Card Table or Equivalent Inlaid
Table; 3) a Case Piece – Maker’s choice; 4) a Chair – Maker’s choice; and 5) a Capstone Piece
of Your Choice. For a detailed description of furniture pieces with targeted skill components
contact the instructor.

Master Furniture Maker Certificate
Students who successfully complete the series of 5 skill-based projects fulfilling at least
7 of the 9 required skill components that incorporate the foundations of woodworking will be
awarded the Master Furniture Maker Certificate.

For more information about the program or the registration process,
please contact Sharon C. Mehrman, the Master Furniture Program Director, at
sharon@sharonmakesfurniture.com.