Chair-making Courses

I started running green wood courses in 1985, initially near Bristol, then in Devon, and since 1995, in Herefordshire: for 10 years at Clissett Wood and for 11 years at Brookhouse Wood. With each move, I have 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 Over the years, I have found that of all the green woodworking projects on offer, it is the making of a chair that has proved most popular and rewarding for course participants.

In 2015 I moved these chair-making courses from the woodland back to the workshop in our cottage garden in order to embark upon semi-retirement (although some would say that happened in 1985!)

The Greenwood Cottage workshop 2017

The early stages of a chair-making course

 5-day Courses – for beginners

The courses usually 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. For those who have not been on a chair-making course before, you are advised to keep to one of the more straightforward chair making projects, usually making a spindle-back chair.

From logs to chairs

The fruits of a spindle-back chair course

 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 I can take my 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 Danish cord, weaving patterns that have evolved on my courses over the years.

The cost of the chair-making ash plus seating materials as well as hot drinks and a light lunch are included in the course fee of £480.

Follow on courses

In 2017 we returned to running some courses for those who had already attended chair-making courses, most people making the trade-mark lath-back chairs that have evolved over the last 10 years or so in my workshops.

Lath-back chairs

The fruits of a ‘follow-on’ course in 2017

Courses for 2018

In September 2017 I announced course dates for the coming year on my Mailchimp newsletter, which you can sign up to here: newsletter link

Most course places were booked by the end of November but there will probably be a few cancellations, so here are the dates (note a wider range of courses than the previous two years) so you could contact me to go onto the waiting list:

May 18th-25th – bark-seated chairs

June 4th-8th – ladder-back chairs

June 18th-22nd – spindle-back chairs

July 2nd-6th – follow-on chair-making

July 23rd-27th – chair-making for famous authors & their friends!

August 6th-10th – follow-on chair-making

August 20th-24th – spindle-back chairs

September 3rd-7th – spindle-back chairs

Courses for 2019

From Spring 2018, (in hopeful anticipation of still being of sufficiently sound body and mind at the age of 68) I shall start on the programme for 2019, when I can try to tailor courses to meet your requests. Group bookings for 4 people are also available at a slight discount.

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.


Greenwood Cottage is located in a rural hamlet in East Herefordshire, midway between the cities of Hereford and Worcester.


Green wood and basic seating materials will be included in the price of the course but there may be a charge for any other materials that have to be bought in, such as unusual seating material for chairs or timber for making shaving horses.


A light lunch plus hot or cold drinks will be provided each day and included in the price.


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.

Course times

Each day will run from 9am to 6pm with an hour break for lunch.

For latest information on course availability:

e-mail or tel. 01531 640005 (8am to 8pm)


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