Fine furniture maker, furniture making training courses, bespoke furniture, cabinetmaking training

4-20wk Student Profiles

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Francis

(12 Week Intermediate/Advanced Course)
Francis (early-40s), a self-employed builder with some basic carpentry skills, wished to acquire more advanced furniture-making abilities, so I designed his course around making first a coffee-table in solid oak with shaped legs and traditional mortice-and-tenon joinery, then a cabinet in black walnut with frame-and-panel door, close-fitted drawer and shaped parts. Although relatively small in scale, such projects enable shorter-course students to learn a wide range of intermediate and advanced skills, employing the full scope of both traditional hand-tool techniques and modern powered machinery.
(See Francis’s album of his time in the workshop.)

 
 

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Charlie

(4 Week Intermediate Course)
Charlie (late-20s), a soldier and civil servant – and amateur woodworker who’d previously done short courses elsewhere – was told by the Ministry to take his leave before the end of year or lose it, so he enrolled on a month-long intermediate course. His making project was a side-table in quarter-sawn oak with shaped legs and a veneered lower-shelf – which he executed beautifully. For reasons to do with state security, I had to take care to photograph only the making, but not Charlie himself!
(See Charlie’s testimonial and album of his time in the workshop.)
 
 
 

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Alex

(12 Week Advanced Course)
Alex (early 20’s) had done a short course with a furniture restorer, as well as having some experience of commercial cabinetmaking with a firm of kitchen-fitters (all routers and nail-guns but no proper hand-tools!). As with other advanced courses, I tailored his three month training around the design and making of a piece of fine cabinetwork – a sensitively designed floor-standing cabinet in black walnut involving some advanced curved laminations. Alex is now sub-renting workshop space in Manchester with another maker of my own generation.
(See Alex’s album of his time in the workshop.)

 
 

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James

(6 Week Furniture Design Course)
James (mid 30’s), a trained and experienced architect with an ambition to design of high-quality furniture, came to me for a short ‘design-oriented’ course. The challenge, in the short time he had available, was to introduce him to the real craftsmanship and cost-structures that fine furniture-making entails, as well as educate him in the organic nature of the material: that design must account for wood’s propensity to move due to changes in ambient humidity! Guided through the exploration, rejection, acceptance and refinement of various complex ideas, James gained an important grounding in the essentials of furniture design and making.
(See James’s album of his time in the workshop.)

 
 

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Mike

(20 Week Intermediate Course)
Mike (early-40s) is a current student. He came back to the UK after living for several years in the Far East, first for an extended introductory course in which he made a side-table in yew and a dovetailed tray in oak with shaped sides, then for a further period of training to make his own high-spec workbench. His intention is to eventually build a house for his family, and make the furniture to go in it.
(See Mike’s album of his time so far in the workshop.)

 
 

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Tam

(4 Week Advanced Course)
Tam (mid-40s), a school woodwork teacher from Canada, came to England on a short sabbatical, during which he did a month’s advanced course making a small bathroom cabinet in rock maple. We first spoke using Skype video when I set him the design brief, later he emailed me drawings back for appraisal and refinement. I then pre-purchased the maple for him from our local timberyard (it travelled independently from Canada!) so it could acclimatise to the workshop’s controlled humidity for several weeks before he arrived to start work – during he shared with us marvelous anecdotes about his own experience as a teacher of high-school students!
(See Tam’s album of his time in the workshop.)

 
 

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Pete

(2 Week Introductory Course)
Pete, an A-Level art and design-technology student (and a friend of the family) came for a week’s work experience in his holidays, which we converted into a proper two week introductory course, during which made a beautiful English oak hall mirror. He learnt a great deal in the very short time he was in the workshop, gaining many new skills, as well as being enormously helpful and a pleasure to have around. (Postscript: I have just heard that Pete gained the highest grade his school has ever recorded in his AS Level DT exams.)
(See Pete’s album of his time in the workshop.)

 
 

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Tanya

(10 Week Advanced Furnituremaking Course)
Tanya (mid 20’s) had served a proper woodworking apprenticeship in Germany before moving to the UK to work for a commercial furniture production company. Although already highly-skilled and fast with precision woodworking machinery, she needed particular tuition in the accurate use of hand-tools and in understanding how to work solid hardwoods (rather than industry-specified panel-products). After her training course with me she went back to her original employers and was subsequently promoted to their design office.