Week-long Short Woodworking Courses

Rowden Atelier fine furniture making school

Are you fed up bumbling around your workshop not knowing how to do accurate work?
This is your chance to really gain control of woodworking hand tools; get the satisfaction of doing it right.

Get guidance from our genuine experts on a Rowden Atelier short woodworking course. These intensive, week-long woodworking courses provide a thorough introduction to the basic principles of woodwork, allowing you to hone your technique and create more precise, professional work.

  • Classes will be small, usually with only one, two, or three students, and are led by Jon Greenwood, Jonathan Walter or, for weekend classes, Ed Wild.
  • Get behind the bench at our quality furniture building workshop. Students have the benefit of experiencing – if only for a week – the extraordinary place that is Rowden Atelier.

Rowden is set in the heart of the beautiful North Devon countryside; so while you have your woodworking course your family or friends can enjoy a break of stunning coastal walks and beautiful Devon landscape. Surf beaches are nearby at Bude and Westwood Ho! and RHS Rosemoor garden is just outside Torrington.

Short courses bench room at Rowden Atelier woodworking workshop

What Rose has to say about us

“The cows all lined up in their paddock as if they knew it was my first day and were aware of the whirlwind of emotions I was feeling. However before I even stepped in the door of the workshop I was greeted  as if I was returning home, even though I had never been to North Devon! With a cup of tea and biscuit in hand, I was shown around – fears of not fitting in were allayed as there was every type and age of person there and all so friendly.

OUR NEEDS AND LEVEL OF ABILITY WERE REALLY WELL CATERED FOR

With only two of us on the week long course, our needs and level of ability were really well catered for. I have gained huge confidence in my skills and confirmation in my love for working with wood – at the end of the week I learnt more than I could have ever imagined in a fantastic, supportive, encouraging and welcoming environment. I am now dreaming up ways of finding the finances to undertake the year long course when I have finished my degree.

For people who have a love of furniture, wood and enjoy drinking tea, I would heartily recommend spending time at Rowden in the stunning North Devon countryside.”

– Rose Carter-Stout

This is a doorway to quality work

Rowden Atelier furniture making workshop

ONE WEEK BASIC SHORT WOODWORKING COURSE

WE PROVIDE ALL THE TOOLS. YOU GET THE CHANCE TO SEE IF YOU REALLY WANT TO DO THIS ‘WOODY STUFF’.

People make a big fuss about sharpening; it is an important doorway towards allowing you control of the cutting edge. Less push and shove, more control. We will show you professional methods – without honing guides.

You will learn to properly use a bench plane and chisels. These are quite correctly called hand tools, so how your hand and body relate to them is critical to their use. You will learn to hold them properly, how to stand correctly at the bench, and work with your whole body, not just your forearms. Bench planes are used to get timber flat. We will teach you how to create a dead flat surface, plane an adjacent flat surface at right angles, and create a dimensioned component, all with these simple tools.

You will learn to be responsive to the material, to this particular bit of wood, you will learn to cut it the way it wants to be cut and why that is important. You will gain control of the process of removing fine shavings, a tenth of a millimetre of wood at a time. In this way, you will have, in your own hands, access to creating quality joinery.

In the space of a week, our short woodworking course will teach you will make simple joints to exact dimensions, entirely by hand. Your aim will be to achieve the perfect fit – one piece exactly inside another, and the work has clean, oil-polished surfaces and chamfered shiny corners. Depending upon the amount of work needed on your tools, you will also have sharpened some, if not all of them, and set a plane up to work correctly and learning why planes may not have worked for you in the past.

Learning to use hand tools like these is the way into quality work. With this knowledge, you will be able to practice alone to take these skills to the next stage. You should know that you will not need to come to this week with any of your own hand tools, but you can work with your own tools if you prefer.


The fee for the week is £870 sterling inclusive of all materials, abrasives and polishes. A deposit of £200 sterling is payable in advance and is only returnable should you cancel the course eight weeks prior to the course starting date. The balance of £600 is payable four weeks before the course commences. The course starts at 8.45 for 9.00 on Mondays and finishes at 3.30 pm on Fridays. This is to allow us to sharpen tools and clear up for Mondays.  If you would be interested in joining us then please contact us via phone or email.

Course fee and availability

Woodworking Course Dates

Week beginning May 21st

Week beginning June 4th and June 18th

Week beginning July and June 23rd

Week beginning September 3rd and September 24th

Week beginning October 22nd

We only have three places on each course, you will be with a skilled tutor, either Jon Greenwood or Jonathan Walters. When the courses are filled we will remove the date from the website. So if you want to join us at Rowden MAKE A BOOKING NOW. We will then contact you with an invoice for the deposit and any further help you may need with accommodation.

All credit cards accepted in payment

Woodworking course student Adam Keslake refining the surface of a hexagonal cheeseboard

A furniture making student's dividers on a table top

What John Lewis has to say about us

“A brief note of thanks for what proved to be an invaluable week with you and the team at Rowden Farm. It is difficult to capture the breadth and depth of what I personally got out of the time spent in your company; inspirational, educational and undoubtedly practical – the five days far exceeded my expectations. There is no question that my enthusiasm for pursuing the excellent standards in both design and workmanship that you espouse, has been fired. I would not have believed it possible to work to the tolerances you demand and am looking forward to the challenge of honing some of the skills I started to learn with you.

I thoroughly enjoyed the intellectual stimulus the workshops provided, both in terms of the inspirational design and cutting-edge techniques being employed. Equally the stimulus of some of our lunchtime chats provided me much food for thought across a broad panoply of subject matter. I was interested to find we share many of the same core values and similar philosophy where life is concerned. Once again thank you so much for providing the environment in which I could achieve so much at so many different levels. I can hardly wait for the next opportunity to immerse myself in the rich experience your workshops have to offer, when I come across in September for the Intermediate course – hopefully in the interim I will be able to refine my skills a little and be in a position to make a box to the exacting standards sought!”

– John Lewis

Paul Creaton Making a Box at David Savage Furniture Atelier

Sandra Bicknell's Jewellery Box made on a woodworking course

This is what Derrick Wilkinson had to say

“Overall, I think that the week was a great success. I came away rather humbled by the high standards that you demand, and greatly appreciative of your humour and your patience with me when I made my all too many mistakes.

The friendliness and professionalism that imbues your workshop was a great pleasure, and your philosophy of craftsmanship an inspiration.Oh yes, and then there is the little box that I took
away as a reminder of what we achieved and how very much remains to be done. Thank you.”

– Derrick Wilkinson

Course fee and availability
Join us. Contact us via phone or email. One week "Basics" woodworking courses run each month on the first and third week of the month.

The fee for the week is £870 sterling inclusive of all materials, abrasives and polishes. A deposit of £200 sterling is payable in advance and is only returnable should you cancel the course six weeks prior to the course starting date. The balance of £670 is payable four weeks before your course starts. All cards accepted.

Hand planing a piece of sycamore during a woodworking course

Hand crafted wooden box made on our woodworking course

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