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

Furniture Making School - Studio

The Workshop
Located in a 1920's factory building, the PFW furniture making school and workshop is both a teaching facility and a working shop. For wood working courses it features a hardwood floor, with both a bench area and areas for machine work and assembly. North windows across the front of the building provide abundant natural light.

The furniture making and woodworking course bench area contains 10 traditional joiners workbenches, built by Alan Turner and Mario Rodriguez. Turner designed the tail vise hardware. There is a cast iron layout table that weighs in at about 1500 lbs, with a machined surface, making flat glue-ups a simpler task.

Our main studio is spacious, well equipped, and well lit. We have 10 full-sized, solid maple, joiner’s benches; one for each student.

Our 2 table saws easily handle shop volume. The generous out-feed table makes cutting sheetgoods easy and safe. The main shop saw is a 10” SawStop, universally considered the safest saw in the world.

This classic General table saw, Canadian-made, is often set up with a

with a stacked dado head to speed up class exercises.

Much of our milling is performed on a Felder combination jointer/planer. This hi-tech beast easily handles easily handles boards up to 20” wide, and its digital, motorized table height setting allows uniform thicknessing, day to day.

Our antique cast iron12” jointer performs most of our smaller day-to-day jointing and milling tasks.  Fitted with a Byrd "Shelix" custom cutterhead, tearout is minimized.

All our woodturning lathes are well maintained and ready for class.

PFW also keeps a supply of turning tools for student use.

Just 2 of the 4 machines that make up our “bandsaw cluster."  We’ve got the perfect band saw for every job. Our towering Zimmerman bandsaw can accurately handle a 25” re-saw- in any wood.

We’ve recently created a spacious store room behind the main studio

for storing supplies, materials, equipment, and projects.  We don’t

know how we ever got along without it.

Most of our small stock cutting is done on a Bosch 10” sliding

compound miter saw.

At PFW, we use vertical dry-wheel grinders, fitted with very effective

shop-made jigs to establish critical angles and safely support tools.

Our system virtually guarantees a perfect job every time.

PFW always maintains a large and ready supply of both domestic

and imported hardwoods.

The north-facing shop is bathed in soft light.

Mario’s studio also serves as the school’s library and design center.

Prototype designs, jigs, shop drawings, and cut lists are prepared

and stored here.


Mario’s bench (a giant slab of pine on a welded steel frame) holds

his collection of favorite planes, woodworking mementoes, his

chisel rack- and coffee mugs.

This is a shot of Alan’s studio. It contains his personal bench.   Standing free from the wall, it provides access from any side.  The bench (which Alan built) is fitted with a rare Emmert No. 2 patternmaker’s vise.

This is Alan’s tool chest. As you can see, he has arranged

everything in a carefully organized manner; providing easy access

to any tool at a glance.