Beginners Woodwork – Four day course

Many beginners to woodwork become frustrated because they lack the three essentials of the craft, really sharp tools, good technique and finally accuracy. This course is designed as an introduction to these essentials. You will learn how to get your planes and chisels exquisitely sharp, some basic woodworking techniques such as planing and sawing square and joint cutting, and in the process find out why precision is so critical. Once these elements are in  place you can begin to enjoy the craft instead of struggling with the basics.

I have retired from teaching so sadly will not be teaching any more courses.

However click here for some alternatives:

Students working on their tables, and displaying the final results.

Course Description

Over the course of a long weekend (Friday – Monday), students receive a good grounding in the basics of woodwork.   The first two days of the course focus on skill acquisition; the second two days see students applying their newly-acquired skills to the making of an elegant occasional table.

There is scope for students to amend the basic design of the table to suit their own requirements eg changed dimensions or timber.

About This Course

No. The course is designed specifically for those with little or no experience.

On the first day of this course four students meet up, many of whom will not have done any serious woodwork since their school days, some not even at school. Chris hopes this will be the start of a journey of fulfilment in the craft of woodwork.

You will start on the first day just using tools, planing, sawing and chiselling. This is to get you used to the sheer physicality of working wood. During the day you will prepare a rough sawn board using a hand plane then mark out and cut a mortice and tenon joint entirely by hand.

Hopefully on the first day you will have been impressed how well a really sharp tool can cut. On the second day you will learn how to sharpen and maintain your tools at that level. You can bring your own tools to adjust and sharpen or Chris can supply tools for you to work on.

On the remaining two days you will make an oak table. The dimensions of the table can be adjusted to your requirements, perhaps a coffee table or a bedside table or a hall table. During the making you will be introduced to the use of power tools especially the router which will be used to cut mortice and tenons and shape the rails.

By the end of the fourth day you will be using hand tools with confidence and be well on your way on the woodworking journey.

A lot is fitted into the four day course. The key learning points:

  • Safe working practices.
  • Introduction to various sharpening media.
  • Lapping the back of a chisel or plane iron.
  • Grinding chisels and plane irons.
  • Introduction to different honing techniques for plane irons and chisels
  • Flattening water stones.
  • Hand planing stock square and to dimension.
  • Sawing square.
  • Using a shooting board.
  • Marking out a set of joints
  • Mortice and tenon jointing by hand and using the hand held router and router table.
  • Use of biscuit jointer.
  • Use of domino jointer.
  • Tapering legs using band saw and hand plane.
  • Creating curves using router and template.
  • Edge jointing boards.
  • The problems of timber movement and how to allow for it.
  • Assembly and glue up.
  • Developing a cutting list from a drawing.

Watch the video for a course taster:

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No. But it would be useful to bring any edge tools that you do have. Chris can assess them for you and advise on suitability. It’s also better if you can sharpen your own tools on the course. During the course there will be the opportunity to try out the many different tools that Chris has stocked the workshop with. This can be a great help when making buying decisions. Chris’ students can claim a 10% discount at the online tool shop Workshop Heaven.

Reviews: What Students Say:

Following my retirement at the end of March 2021 I will sadly not be teaching any more courses.

However there are alternatives:

Watch some of my free instructional videos

Some of the topics in this course are covered in my videos – start by gathering the woodwork basics by watching this series (opens in a new window)

online woodwork course video

Watch online video woodwork instruction

Join over 14,000 subscribers on my YouTube Channel

Subscribe and watch instructional videos including my brand new series: ‘Notes for the home woodworker’. Get notified when I publish new instructional videos. Just click the YouTube button below to subscribe and start watching.

Wharfedale Workshop Courses

Nick Thompson, who is taking over my workshop when I retire, has started teaching short courses with a view to eventually offering a wider suite of courses. The courses he has taught so far have been very well received, I have been impressed by some of the work coming from them (it takes a lot to impress me!). I would recommend that you take a look at what Nick is offering by going to . I am sure Nick would be pleased to discuss options if you find the Wharfedale Workshop interesting.

I hope that helps.


More Course Reviews: What Students Say:

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Thankyou, Chris.