Over 30 years of greenwood courses
Mike Abbott has been running greenwood courses since 1985, initially near Bristol, then in Devon, and since 1995, in Herefordshire at Clissett Wood then Brookhouse Wood. With each move, Mike has taken the opportunity to refine the content and format of the courses and to improve the facilities based to a large extent on feedback from students https://goingwiththegrain.org/course-feedback/.
Chairs are the perfect greenwood project
Over the years, Mike has found that of all the green woodworking projects he has offered, it is the making of a chair that has proved most popular and rewarding for course participants. Having reached retirement age in 2016, Mike moved these chair-making courses from the woodland back to the workshop in his cottage garden. It is what he does best and he still loves doing it!
All courses run for 5 days and are limited to four students. All necessary tools, equipment and green wood will be provided but you are welcome to bring your own. The 5-day course costs £480, which includes ash logs plus seating materials, as well as hot drinks and a light lunch. We ask for £100 deposit with your booking, the remainder being payable a month before the course starts.
Spindle-back chair courses
For those who have not been on a greenwood chair-making course before, you are advised to keep to the most straightforward design, which is a spindle-back chair, although there is a range of options for the woven seat.
The schedule is as follows, although there is some flexibility within this format:
- Courses run from 9am to 6pm each day with about an hour’s break at lunchtime during which Mike can take his 20-minute ‘siesta’.
- The first 2 days are spent making the components for the chairs, using the processes of cleaving, shaving, tenoning and steam-bending.
- With the aid of a tight schedule for drying the components, the following 2 days are spent assembling the chairs.
- The last day is spent weaving the seat, usually with either Danish cord or polypropylene, using weaving methods and patterns that have evolved on Mike’s courses over the year
Follow on courses
For those of you who already have experience in making greenwood chairs, the follow-on courses enable you to try your hand at a wider range of chairs, such as lath-backs, ladder-backs, settin’ chairs and wee-wors. The schedule will be similar to that of the spindle-back courses but you will have a greater chance to tailor your progress to your individual project.
What will you take away from a green wood Chair-making course?
- Your own unique wooden chair, created entirely from the log entirely through your own efforts;
- The skills needed to continue on your own as a hobby or to develop further as a fulfilling occupation;
- An awareness of just how much you can achieve without the need for sophisticated machinery;
- Probably the most lasting memory will come from the experience of working with a group of like-minded people in a peaceful environment away from the pressures of everyday life.
Course dates and availability
|Dates||Course title||Availability @ 5th Jan
|May 8th – 12th||Spindle-back chairs||full|
|May 22nd – 26th||Spindle-back chairs||full|
|June 5th – 9th||Spindle-back chairs||full|
|June 19th – 23rd||Spindle-back chairs||full|
|July 24th – 28th||Follow-on course||full|
|August 7th – 11th||Follow-on course||full|
|August 21st – 25th||Follow-on course||full|
|September 4th – 8th||Follow-on course||full|
Currently all this year’s courses appear to be fully booked. However, we are bound to receive some cancellations, so if you are interested in a course, please send us an e-mail giving any dates that are suitable for you and we’ll get back to you to let you know if any dates have become available, or failing that, we can put you onto a waiting list.
Greenwood Cottage is located in the hamlet of Halmonds Frome, about a mile from the centre of the village of Bishops Frome in East Herefordshire, midway between the cities of Hereford and Worcester.
There will be no on-site accommodation available at Greenwood Cottage but there are many alternatives in the area. We can notify you of some recommended options when you book a course place.
Each day will run from 9am to 6pm with an hour break for lunch.
For latest information on course availability:
e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or tel. 01531 640005 (8am to 8pm)