5212 Pulaski Ave.
Philadelphia, Pa. 19144
Philadelphia Furniture Workshop

Butterfly key template

Live edge of plank

Bridle joint

Nod to Nakashima

Instructor: Craig Vandall Stevens/Alan Turner
9:00 am - 4:00 pm (day)
Maximum Class Size: 12

The late George Nakashima’s tables can be found in homes, galleries, and museums around the world. His unique designs are unmistakable; often featuring gorgeous book-matched slab tops and highlighted with his signature dovetail or butterfly keys. PFW’s design was inspired by the timeless beauty of George Nakashima’s furniture.

Our coffee table design (typically approx. 24”w x 44”long x 16” h) makes the best use of locally available slab sawn wood.  This is sometimes curly maple, or cherry, or walnut.  If needed, we accent the plank with one or more dovetail keys.  Each student then designs his or her own base, with our assistance.  There are many possibilities.

The 5 day class will begin with a discussion of flitch sawn wood. Next, students will explore the outline, color, grain patterns, and arrangement of their top board or boards in order to create the most interesting way to showcase the wood to its best advantage.

Once the top boards are milled and joined, students will carefully inlay any needed dovetails keys using a router and hand tools and then complete the fit with razor-sharp chisels.   The base is constructed of 8/4 stock, carefully joined to provide a strong and solid platform for the top.

The construction of this project will be a thorough and thoughtful introduction to important furniture-making skills, involving: wood selection, re-sawing, milling and gluing up, inlays, and complex joinery. The completed coffee table will be a piece for a lifetime; one to be enjoyed for years to come.

The course fee is $800 (including lunch). Alan devotes considerable time and effort to locate live edge planks of the desired quality and sizes. In recent years, this has become increasingly difficult.  The cost of materials will not known until much closer the class date.  Last year the materials cost was $400, and hopefully that will be the range of cost this year as well.

Here is the tool list.

There are three ways to register for this class.
• One can click on the sign up button below.
• Give us a call at 215-849-5174.
• Send us an email and we will forward the registration materials.


  • July 24-28, 2017 - 5 days