Three Month Intensive Woodworking Course

On this twelve week course you will spend the first few weeks learning how to handle tools and learning about materials. Timber is a phenomenal material, part of it’s attraction is its warmth, its workability, its variety. But that is the challenge,  each tree can have distinctive qualities, ITS NOT LIKE PLASTIC THIS STUFF.

The best, no, the only way to learn about wood is through YOUR HANDS. Through using hand tools at the start of your career to FEEL the material.

You will learn about accuracy, about saws, planes, chisels and many other tools and you will learn to handle the tools confidently.

This course will see you trained to a level where you will be capable to use hand tools (chisels, saws, planes) and marking out tools capable to a level of competence that will amaze you. We teach using a set of projects that we have developed over the years to do this job.

The other side of this is the Biz Course run by Jonathan Walter. This will take you away from the bench for a couple of hours each week, if you want to.  Learn aspects of running a business making furniture. Jonathan and his partner Lakshmi were in successful careers as an accountant and design writer before coming to Rowden ten years ago. Now they run Bark Furniture and can help you get your businesses going.

  • At the start simple cross halvings teach you to plane flat, pare and mark out exactly. Looks easy but drives them all nuts.
  • We can provide tools but its best to use your own. They need to be prepared and sharpened. They never work out of the box, even the most expensive ones need additional work.We have the big granite 600 mm surface plates to check planes and straight edges for true. We have seen hundreds of thousands of pounds spent on tools here and know what to recommend and how to set them up.
  • Winding sticks. These are makers tools, made in the shop, parallel strips with inlaid ebony strips to help you see a surface in twist. Important tools to own and best made by you at the start of your journey.
  • Learn about scrapers and scraper planes, abrasives and polish.
  • Understand what is the right way and the wrong way to use a block plane
  • Know about shoulder planes and all the other auxiliary planes you might not ned right now but will do soon.
  • Shooting boards mitre traps and bench hooks, these are shop tools always around the bench to help you hold and cut square and plane straight. Make them now and do it right
  • Sharpening, we teach you how to do it quickly and easily with no amateur fussing and faffing about.
  • Saws and cutting straight. This is not so easy . You need to watch a skilled maker then copy, see what went wrong then adjust your stance. Dovetailing bookends teach you how to saw straight and pare square. . “Watch me, try it out, see what went wrong, watch me again, pull that leg back…”
  • Hexagonal cheese board. This is tricky! You joint up three pieces of timber with “invisible glue lines”. Learn about planing edges to a hollow and clamping up correctly. The technique of “the wandering plane”. Then make the job square, getting good with that bench plane. Now make a hexagon. Each facet must be the same size EXACTLY as you are next going to hand plane a chamfer 30mm wide. This exaggerates all your errors. All this has not yet been done to a given dimension UNTIL NOW. Now make a second cheese board to fit exactly within the centre of the first. This is very difficult.
  • Use Shellac and Oil polishes with confidence
  • Hand made mallet. “your students plane really well but don’t pare as well” A great craftsman Keith Fernley told us this a few years ago so we invented this one. A mallet with hand fitted tapered handle and two hand pared faces dead flat. Getting good with those chisels nowBox Making, This is where we see all the skills coming together. Maybe make two boxes a quick one and a careful one. Sure you can make a box in a week, we expect Three Month Rowden students to do higher quality work than our short  course visitors. We demand higher standards of you from the beginning.  Hit the standards and move on through the projects to Box making, if you have done what we told you, you’ll go home with a superb french polished fruitwood or sycamore or walnut box

Your Cabinet is Next…

  • Now have you time to make a small cabinet?  This is a small project that we have developed to contain a lot of the basic cabinet making skills. Closing stiles, dovetailing carcases, mortice and tenon, hinging , drawer making carcase assembly polishing . All come together to leave you with a small well made cabinet that you will be quietly proud to say “I made that”
  • Design, this is not an opportunity for you to design your own projects, you don’t know enough about timber yet.  The exercises and two projects that we have developed are there to teach you skills. There is a time to begin learning to draw and to attend some of our art classes run by Ed Wild.

Want to see our one year students' work? Take a look at the designer box making gallery

There is no point taking up a career in woodworking without these key hand skills. No amount of machine is ever going to make up for this. The hand tools are your only way of getting to know your material. For example, the specification of Maple may be read in a book but without the information, felt through your hands, gained by the intimate contact of hand working a few boards of Maple you will not understand its true nature. Not knowing exactly how different Maple is from Sycamore. Not knowing why a Maple back chair leg could work and a Sycamore leg could not.

Course Fee

Our Three Month Woodwork Courses Cost £7,800 GBP

  • The 50 Week Professional Designer Maker Course costs £19850 GBP
  • The 25 week Professional Designer Maker Course costs £12,200 GBP
  • The 12 week Professional Designer Maker Course costs £7,800 GBP

Interested in a three month wood working course?

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