The latest Chestertown Vacation Workshop participant was a hospitalist who lives in Dover, Delaware.  The last woodworking project he participated in was building a chicken coop in his native Vietnam as a boy.  The Daniel Entry Table in the photo below was a 6 day workshop.  The top and shelf are curly maple and the base is made of African Wenge. 

Finished Table

Base assembled

This time I remembered to take some videos of this workshop participant working on his piece.  Here are a few:

Band saw video – At the band saw cutting lower stretchers to hold the shelf.

Jointer Video – Preparing a curly maple plank to become a shelf.

Tenoning Video for Entry Table – Cutting a tenon at the table saw with a dado blade.


Here’s one from the week of December 7,,,

Shaping a coffee table leg





Come and spend a week on Maryland’s Eastern Shore in Maryland’s newest Arts and Entertainment District in Historic Chestertown.  Come and make “something” that you will take home, show off to your friends, enjoy every day and know that you made it.  That’s what the Chestertown Vacation Workshop is all about.

alex and CVW

  CVW end table

Perhaps you were never able to take “shop class” in high school or maybe you just never had the time, tools or “know how” but have wanted the experience of “working with your hands and making something.”  Well, now you can do that…work one on one with award winning furniture maker, designer, author and teacher Robert Ortiz. With my guidance, you’ll work with the same tools that I do.  I’ll work with you – one on one, this is not a group class.  The full resources of my shop are at your disposal to help you make your special furniture piece. Choose an end, coffee or sofa/entry table in one of several styles.  The end table above was made by a workshop participant who had never worked wood before.

Interested? Curious?  E-mail and in the subject line write “WORKSHOPS”.  I’ll send you information on pieces that you can make with my help and guidance here in the shop, cost, information on where to stay, eat and visit and if you decide to participate, I’ll put together a daily schedule for you to make your very own “masterpiece.”

Base assembled

View several short videos of one workshop participant making a “Daniel Entry Table”

Tenoning Video for Entry Table

Band saw video

Jointer Video

Sanding Top Video

I’ve been a furniture maker for 30 years and have had my studio here in downtown, historic Chestertown for 18. Over the years, many visitors have remarked that I’m lucky to be able to do what I do for a living. I believe that underlying what they tell me is their own wish to make something with their hands, to spend time in a shop like mine, use the equipment and be able to say, “I made that.”

The Chestertown Vacation Workshops

It is with that thought in mind that I’m unveiling – The Chestertown Vacation Workshops. Come and spend a week in the shop with me, one on one. If you have some woodworking or power tool experience, I’ll guide you through the process as we make one of my signature pieces, a Sofia Coffee or End Table with glass or wood top. I’ll build one along side you, you will use the same patterns, equipment, and tools that I use. I’ll show you how I make my design so that you can make yours.


Daniel Coffee Table

Daniel Coffee Table

Sofia Coffee Table

Sofia Coffee Table

A Sofia or Daniel Entry/Sofa Table…

Daniel Entry Table

Daniel Entry Table

Sofia Entry Table

Sofia Entry Table

A small bookcase with natural edge top and paneled back…


If you don’t have woodworking experience, we’ll work together side by side to create an heirloom piece that you’ll take home and use every day. You’ll work with your hands, shape wood, make something beautiful and useful. You will have the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve brought to life something lasting that connects you to generations long gone who knew the joy and the value of making things.

I want to be clear. I’m not starting a woodworking school. The Chestertown Vacation Workshop is not about learning how to make or cut a better dovetail. It is about you making a piece of furniture, about immersing yourself in a process for a week in a tradition that has existed for millennia but is disappearing in our rushed, throw away lives. It is also an opportunity to enjoy a slower pace of life on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. You can stay at a B&B in town, on the Bay or on the grounds of a local winery. We’ll discuss the coming day’s work schedule at my favorite local bakery or here at the shop starting at 8 AM and be at the machines by 8:30. We’ll work until noon and then break for lunch, back at 1 PM until 4:30. You’ll learn about wood selection, how to dress wood flat and straight, how to prepare wood so that you can create joints, parts and bring them together to make a piece of functional, beautiful furniture. You’ll prepare your project for finishing and learn how to achieve a lasting finish to enhance the beauty of the wood.

Here are some photos of pieces that have been made by two of the early participants in the workshops.



A Sofia Coffee Table under construction


A Flat Screen/Media Cabinet made by the son of a client .




Sessions for 2015: all sessions are on a first come, first served basis.

September 14 to 18
September 21 to 25
October 5 to 9
October 12 to 16
November 9 to 13
November 16 to 20
December 7 to 11

Session Costs: All costs are for making a piece in cherry.

Price includes: all wood and materials, use of all necessary shop equipment and tools, private instruction one on one with Robert Ortiz. Some portions of the workshops may also be done with shop specialists, i.e. finishing with 16 year veteran Brenda Foehrkolb and carving with shop carver, Steven Croker.
Also included are Lunch on Friday and graduation signing. Friday afternoon will be for finishing up, and whatever steps may still need to be completed.

• Sofia Glass top or wood top coffee table – $ 2,850
• Sofia Glass top or wood top end table – $ 2, 850

• Sofia Entry/Sofa/Hall table – $ 3,950
• Daniel Entry/Sofa/Hall table – $ 3,950

• Sofia small bookcase with paneled back – $ 3, 950

• Media cabinet as pictured above with sliding doors, veneered back, and door panels $ 4,500.

If you are interested in making a different piece of furniture from the Robert Ortiz Studios line I will gladly explore that option with you. You can view more pieces here at

If you prefer to do this with a best friend, spouse etc., that is another option.

How to Register:
The easiest way for me to get the Chestertown Vacation Workshops rolling is for you to e-mail back or call 410-810-1400 and let me know that you are interested in “signing up.”  If you have questions, you can do the same.


I will send you the following:
  • a registration form detailing the dates and the specific project we’ll work on.
  • a list of B&B’s, whom to contact and prices (some will offer students of my workshops a discount for week day bookings.
  • a list of restaurants, wineries, cooking classes, theatre and music performances and “things to do” etc., in case you come “with a friend.”
  •  a personalized class schedule.

          The registration fee is $ 150 (non refundable) to secure your week long session.  50% deposit is due 2 weeks before your session and the balance at the end of the session.


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