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 https://goingwiththegrain.org/course-feedback/. 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 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.
For those who have attended a previous course
The favourite option for several years has been to make a lath-back chair, a style that evolved over the years in my workshop at Brookhouse Wood.
In 2022 the lath-back was subtly morphed into the rib-back as shown below. This retains the comfort of the lumbar support, while retaining some of the simplicity of the spindle-backs.
Courses for 2023
After talking about retiring from running courses at the end of 2022, I have realised that I would miss the banter and the buzz, so I plan to continue with the courses as long as I am able.
So here are the dates for 2023.
- June 19th to 23rd
- July 3rd to 7th
- July 17th to 21st
- July 31st to August 4th
- August 14th to 18th
- August 28th to September 1st
- September 11th to 15th
Through notifying people on my waiting list, all the above places have been filled.
However, I will probably get some cancellations, so if you are keen to attend a course in 2023, then please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out the latest news. If all else fails, I can add you to the waiting list for 2024.
The course schedule
The schedule is roughly 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’.
- Days 1 & 2 are spent making the components for the chairs, using the processes of cleaving, shaving, tenoning and steam-bending.
- Day 3 will allow time to keep making components, while with the aid of a tight schedule for drying the components, most people are likely to make a start on assembling the chairs.
- Day 4 is spent completing the assembly and oiling the chairs ready for……
- Day 5, which is spent weaving the seat, usually with Danish cord; weaving patterns that have evolved on my courses over the years.
The course fee
The course fee is £590 which includes all tuition, as well as the cost of the chair-making ash logs plus seating materials as well as hot drinks and a light lunch.
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.
Greenwood Cottage is located in Halmonds Frome, 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.
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.
Each day will run from 9am to 6pm with an hour break for lunch.
For latest information on course availability:
e-mail email@example.com or tel. 01531 640005 (8am to 8pm)