Last weekend I was privileged to teach the first ever course at the new British Hardwoods School of Woodwork. I have to say that I was impressed with the facilities that the team at British Hardwoods have provided for students. The spacious workshop area is equipped with five sturdy workbenches with oak legs and beech tops each with a comprehensive set of tools. As well as the workshop there is a kitchen and also a sitting area which gives a panoramic view of the activities at the British Hardwoods depot, a great space to relax in for those interested in wood.
I have been a regular customer at BH for some years, often buying the materials for my courses there. About nine months ago Tony, the main man at BH, asked me if I would like to teach some courses at the teaching facility they were developing in new premises they had acquired. I decided that the new workshop would be a good venue for my basic skills trilogy. The three courses, each taught over two days at weekends, are very much hand tool based and fit well with the intimate atmosphere of the workshop at BH. The first course, which I taught last weekend, was tool sharpening and maintenance, this will be followed by basic jointing and completed with a dovetailing weekend.
I believe that being able to get your tools exquisitely sharp is the bedrock of woodworking and makes the mastering of further skills so much easier. I was pleased with the results the four students achieved each left with a set of very sharp chisels and a plain fettled to give maximum performance. These tools will set them up for a good start on their woodworking journey.
Feedback from the course has been good:
Sue from Settle, North Yorkshire said “I liked the set up. Easy for drinks, parking, access and traffic. Good benches”.
Jim from Glasgow commented, “Excellent facility – happy to return”
Tony has plans to invite other visiting tutors. I understand that Richard Jones, former head of the BA Furniture Making course at Leeds College of Art has already agreed to teach a course. There is also the possibility of a road show from a major quality tool retailer. British Hardwoods have quite a following amoungst hobby woodworkers in the north of England so I am sure these events will be well attended.
I am pleased to be part of the start of something big!
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