Short Woodworking Courses

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 genuine experts.

  • Classes will be small, usually only one or two, led by Jon Greenwood Jonathan Walter or for weekend classes Ed Wild
  • Set at a standard to suit you either basic, intermediate or advanced
  • Join our Quality Workshop. Students have the benefit of joining (if only for a week) the extraordinary place that is Rowden Workshops.

This is a series of short woodworking courses in beautiful Devon, one week of furniture making, just for YOU

Rowden is set in the heart of the beautiful North Devon countryside; while you have your woodworking course your family or friends can enjoy a break of stunning coastal landscapes and authentic rural townships.

Short courses bench room

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.


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



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. By the end of the week some, if not all, of your hand tools should be sharp and you should have a good idea of how to use them.

Using 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 through this very process.

In this week you will make a simple joint to exact dimensions, entirely by hand, your aim will be perfect fit; one piece exactly inside another; 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. Hand tools like these are the way into quality work and this is the first step towards that goal. From here, 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 can work with your own tools if you prefer.

The fee for the week is £830 sterling inclusive of all materials, abrasives and polishes. A deposit of £230 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 Courses

All credit cards accepted in payment

Student Adam Keslake refining the surface of a hexagonal cheeseboard


Build upon what you learned at “Basics”

This is a week for students who have already “DONE A BIT”. You may feel that you have been making for a while, read a lot of books, yet want to do it better, but you don’t want to start from the beginning. We are great at assessing where you are NOW and adjusting the week to fit your skill level. Ed, Daren and Jon are experts at getting this right.

In this week you will make, from pre-prepared materials, a set of small objects; winding sticks; hexagonal cheese boards; dovetailed book ends. These are exercises we have developed that will teach you to use planes, marking gauges, saws and chisels with confidence.

This is a great course if you have done our basic woodworking course. Here you build on that understanding a step at a time. You will be gaining more confidence and understanding of the materials and how to handle them. Joining timber together with an invisible glue line will be no problem after this week. During the week you follow the syllabus of our famed one year course and get the same results.


You will learn to make a perfect long grain to long grain joint, with no glue line. You will learn to “shoot” edges true and square and use cramps correctly. You will learn how to inlay one wood into another; the challenges to overcome with contrasting woods and conflicting grain direction.


Those jobs you finish, you finish. You may do them all, you may not. The main thing is to get them right. Polish will be workshop systems, either oil, wax, or shellac, you can play with all of them.

Course Availability

This course is available every month usually running the last week of the month. Other dates may be available.   For more details and available dates contact us now.

Quentin completed a three week course with us and wrote to us with this lovely letter

Dear David, Daren, Jon and Rachel

First off a profuse apology for my silence since leaving you in September. I came back to a very busy time on both home and work fronts (granddaughter “Willow” is thriving) and kept saying that I must drop you a note but never got around to it.

The longer it went on the more embarrassed I was about reopening a dialogue. Sitting here this evening having just made another “practice” dovetail joint, my thoughts drifted back to September and Rowden and possibly the most memorable time for me in 2016…

Read more 

A furniture makers 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

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! In the meantime have a rewarding, creative and ultimately happy summer.” With kindest regards, John Lewis

Want to try something a little different?

Try out the Box Making Course!

Paul Creaton Making a Box at David Savage Furniture Atelier



This is a week for students who have already mastered sharpening and the basic skills with planes and chisels. In this week you will make, from pre-prepared materials, a small dovetailed jewellery box. You will learn to use marking gauges and cutting gauges to mark out joints. Once marked out you will learn to sharpen, set up and use a small European dovetail saw. This is the most commonly used bench saw in Fine Furniture making. The skills in these week long woodworking courses are cumulative, they build upon one another. To attempt a good box in one week, without having done the previous courses, would be a very hard and high risk strategy.

Sawing straight requires understanding and skill that is almost impossible to acquire without training. Ed will show you how to master that damned saw! Once cut out, you will learn how to pare back with small sharp bench chisels, and fit pins to tails.

Sandra Bicknell's Jewellery Box

You will learn to use block planes, shoulder planes, and side rebate planes. The box lid will be made with a “raise and fielding” to fit the box sides and a cedar bottom fitted with a simple rebate.

The aim is for a “Rolls Royce door” sound to the closing box lid, Wooomph! not Whack!!!!

All will be worked with hand tools including shoulder planes and side rebate planes. This will lead to polishing with shellac polish and finishing with wire wool and wax to a fine lustre before assembly. The lid of the box  will be then fitted and the job assembled.

Assembly and Polishing – Once assembled you will hand plane all the outside surfaces then sand and polish and separate the lid from the body of the box. The box lid will be fitted with brass butts and will close onto mitred dry liners inside the box. The aim is for a “Rolls Royce door” sound to the closing box lid, Wooomph! not Whack!!!! If you have time you can go on and fit feet to the box and a small handle to the lid. If you are really good you may get to fit a small tray inside the box.
It would help us if you could bring a sharpened, fully functioning, bench plane and small sharp chisels [2mm to 10mm]. Please note this course is not about tool sharpening and we expect what tools you have to be in good shape. If you do not have these tools – don’t worry. We can provide sharpened tools for you.

This is what Derrick Wilkinson had to say

“Hi Daren,


As promised a quick note to let you know what I thought of the week I spent at your workshop. 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.

Best wishes,

Derrick Wilkinson”

Course fee and availability
Join us. Contact us via phone or email. One Week "Basics" runs each month in the last week of the month.

The fee for the week is £830 sterling inclusive of all materials, abrasives and polishes. A deposit of £230 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 £600 is payable four weeks before your course starts. All cards accepted.


Chair making: Make a chair to a Rowden design in one week.

This workshop has a world wide reputation for the quality of it’s chair design and making. This is an opportunity to make, under the supervision of senior craftsman Daren Millman, a Rowden original design called Harry’s Chair. Making this chair will teach you the basics of chair design and small workshop batch production.

Rods and Templates

You will see how rods and templates are drawn up from design drawings, how maquettes or scale models are used to develop a design idea and how those ideas are turned into a prototype chair.

Build a Harry's chair in one week

Component Preparation

From pre-machined components you will joint up chair legs and rails using a strong modern joint suitable to a small workshop.

Spindle moulder

You will use the spindle moulder to prepare curved rear legs to template using male and female formers against a ring fence.

Curved Backs

You will use a vacuum bag press to create a curved back component on a pre-existing female mould.

Assembly and hand work

Assembly and hand fitting of the crest rail are the final stages of a busy week.   This one week Advanced course is generally ONLY AVAILABLE to students who have attended the Intermediate courses because of the intensity of the week. HOWEVER, If you are experienced in workshop practice, but have not made chairs, you can contact us and arrange to send us some low resolution jpgs of your work and we may well be able to help you.

For more information
about Course fee and availability

Weekend Woodworking Courses

Years ago when I first started a workshop in Devon I would do weekend courses; I really enjoyed it; meeting lots of different people who came down for a lovely weekend in Devon. I had to stop these courses in the end because I was working during the week and then working all weekend and there is only so long you can keep that up. However now Ed Wild is working with us, he’s offered to do some weekends to enable you guys and gals to get down here and have some fun.

Ed is great; a Rowden graduate and a fine maker in his own right. Ed is a very patient and diligent teacher who I am very happy to recommend to you.

Rowden workshop surrounding area trees and sky

This is what Peter Suddworth said about us

Hi Carol,


The course was very good, thank you.  Ed is such a good teacher.  I learnt everything  that I wanted to and now feel that I know how to sharpen my tools and know some basics about how to use them properly.  A lot of this I would never have picked up from books or video.

While practicing the various techniques it was so helpful to be able to do something, assess it myself and then check my understanding of it with Ed.  Ed also helped me get my old planes flattened and in good working order, which I wouldn’t have managed on my own..

I had a very enjoyable and inspiring weekend.  Please reiterate my thanks to Ed.  I hope to come up there again sometime and do another of your short courses,

Kind regards


Hand planing a piece of sycamore

Tool Basics: Sharpening Woodworking Hand Tools

You know they are not working well for you. Bring your own tools, we will show you how to get them working for you. Compare your old bench plane with how one of our planes work, then fix it under our tutors guiding instructions.

  • This is a weekend for you to learn how to sharpen and use chisels
  • How to setup and use your own bench plane
  • We can show you how to sharpen the cabinet scraper or use a scraper plane
  • Learn how to set up and use a marking gauge or a block plane

To a certain degree you can tell us what you want to learn; these short woodworking courses are partly bespoke. A Two Day Course costs £320 this provides you with truly focused tuition with, at most, only one or two other like minded souls, a deposit of £120 is payable to secure a place with the remaining balance due 14 days before the commencement of the course.

Hand crafted wooden box

Box Making Course “I made this…”

Look at this lovely little Cherrywood box. Ed Wild will guide you through the process of making one just like this in only two days. Take one home with you to amaze and impress everyone you know “I made this”.

  • A simple solid wood box finished to a nice glowing shine
  • Mitre the corners
  • Fit splines to strengthen the joint
  • Fit bottom and lid into grooves
  • Cut off the lid and plane surfaces to fit
  • Polish all to a soft shellac shine
  • Fit Cedar wood liners to hold the lid in place
  • All in best quality Rowden Atelier tradition.

A Two day course costs £320 with yourself and maybe only one or at the most two other students. A deposit of £120 is payable to secure a place with the remaining balance due 14 days before the commencement of the course.

Will Newman box group photos

This is what Felipe Serodio had to say:

Hi David,

Hope all is well.

I really enjoyed the woodwork course. Thanks for having us and for being flexible around our learning interests.

Also would like to thank John for guiding us during the week.

Looking forward to start doing some small pieces of my own.


Filipe Serodio

Hand crafted veneer mirror

Basic Veneering

“Hey look at this, I made it in only a weekend…”

This lovely veneered frame in Macassar Ebony and Sycamore will see you engaging in advanced veneering techniques.

  • Cross branding and mitre corner joints
  • Make and mitre fit contrasting edge lippings
  • Veneer of plywood backing board using a vacuum bag press
  • Learn to use shellac and wax polish
  • Fit mirror glass and stand

A Two day course costs £320 only for a maximum of 3 people, a deposit of £120 is payable through your preferred secure method with the remaining balance due 14 days before the commencement of the course.

Course availability
For more details and available dates

This is what Carole said about us

Hi David,
I hope all is well with you.   Sorry for the delay in responding, it has been very busy.


I cannot speak highly enough of the two days with Ed!  The experience was excellent largely because Ed himself is a very good tutor.  There was no sense whatsoever of standards being compromised as a result of my limited expertise, which was refreshing and no small achievement on his part.  The fact that it was one on one meant that the only limitation was one of time, any question I could think of he was able, and patience enough, to consider and respond to.  My only disappointment was that it came to an end too quickly, I so could have stayed.

It was also an absolute delight to see the quality of the work that is being carried out in your workshop, and equally to have an opportunity to engage with a few of your students who clearly love what they are learning.  I felt privileged to have had the chance to work in the space and have such access to Ed’s knowledge and passion for his craft.

You know I loved it don’t you?

Many many thanks


A Week of Woody Fun in Sleepy Devon

Most people are amazed at what can be done in a week given hard work and a bit of encouragement.
Book a place up for the summer NOW A week or weekend of Woody fun in North Devon Contact us here!

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