One year fine furniture
Tel: +44 (0) 1984 667555
one year fine furniture designer maker course
The course is predominantly based in the workshop and will be delivered using a range of activities including demonstrations, workshop practice, projects, lectures, open discussion, observation, individual and group work, tutorials, visits, presentations from visiting professionals, research, and sharing of experience from tutors and students.
During the early stages of the course students will be taught basic hand and machine making skills through initial set projects. Class based sessions back this up and include technology, construction and design. After building experience, you will then be encouraged to design and make your own pieces. Typically a student will produce three small set projects and then in addition between two and five other pieces during their course, always with a strong emphasis on high quality.
A project calendar and module handbook enables you to map subjects and activities covered. In outline, go to the bottom of the page to see a list of core subjects.
We take students throughout the year when the timing is right for you. This staggered intake brings many benefits. Not only can you start when you like, but you also have the ability to move through the course at your own pace. You will never be held back by students who make slower progress; or pressured to work faster than you find comfortable. Our dispersed intake further benefits our students in terms of improved access to workshop machinery and project time with our tutors. Our students are all working at different stages and as a result are often inspired by seeing each others projects.
When you join we do not expect any previous experience in woodwork, but equally can happily adapt the course if you do. As a private provider, we have the unique advantage over more traditional ‘syllabus locked’ learning establishments, in that we are free to tailor the course content to best suit your skills, interests and furniture making ambitions. Our courses are suited to people of all ages and backgrounds, and we are proud that UK, European and International students are attracted to our school. This cultural mix brings diversity to our workshop - and influences and inspires design creativity.
We understand that taking a year out to train as a furniture maker is a big step, and that sometimes a little flexibility is needed by course providers to help students pursue their aspirations. With this in mind, our course offers great freedom. Our one year course equates to a total of 200 days, which can be taken within the time frame of fifty weeks. For example the course can be taken as a five, or four day week. This was introduced to help students who required a day per week to perhaps secure paid employment or attend to personal commitments. This flexibility is also helpful to students wishing to organise their course around blocks of employment, holidays, or for international students with visa considerations. We understand that taking a year out to train as a furniture maker is a big step, and that sometimes a little flexibility is needed by course providers to help students pursue their aspirations.
visit the school or arrange a short course to try the school out
Arranging a visit with us, or enrolling on a short course is by far the best way to get a feel for the school and see if it is the right fit for you. Come for a full tour of the workshop, followed by a meeting with our dedicated tutors to explore the course and how your furniture designing and making ambitions will be facilitated by the school. Come and see the quality of the work our students are producing and talk to them about their experiences. We encourage you to visit on any week day, or if this is difficult evening or weekends can be arranged, just give us a call or e-mail us.
Alternatively, enrol on one of our short courses. Many come on our One Week Introduction to Fine Furniture Making’ course to experience the school and our teaching style – and come back for our long course. We also offset the cost of the one week course against the fees for the full time course as a thank you for staying on to study with our school.
You will be taught by award winning designers and experts in furniture design and craftsmanship with a wealth of experience. These tutors also ensure consistency in the quality of the teaching that we deliver. We are known within the industry for our high standard of training and for producing students that leave the course as proficient and valuable cabinetmakers. You can read more about our team here.
Our students also benefit from sharing workshop space with the commercial arm of Williams and Cleal Bespoke Furniture. Many find this enriches their learning experience, as they are able to take a few minutes out of their day to observe and learn from Justin Williams making our unique bespoke commissions. The wide experience and knowledge of our staff is available to you on a daily basis, and there for your support during and after the course.
Fees for a full year are £17,400 (inc VAT). which includes the cost of initial projects.*
Accommodation and meals are not included and a list of accommodation providers can be found on our location page.
If you require assistance arranging suitable accommodation please contact us.
You may also wish to buy your own hand tools and materials for further projects. We estimate this will be around £2000.
Please also contact us for a suggested tool list.
terms and conditions
In order to secure your place there is a non-refundable deposit of £2,610. On the first day of the course we will then require a further £8700. The balance of £6090 is due in the first day of the 21st week.
One Year Full time course
Selection and set up of hand tools
Sharpening of tools
Use of hand and measuring tools
Adhesives and their correct use
Joint cutting and jig making
Making and using rods and templates
Cabinet scrapers and sanding
An appreciation of the variation in the standards of furniture making
Jointing and structures
Carcass and frame construction
Carcass rigidity and chair construction
Furniture fittings and fixtures
Jigs and Assembly
Preparation and cutting lists
Standardisation and production solutions
modern and traditional methods
Appropriate production methods and solutions
veneering, laminating and shaping timber
Selection and cutting of veneers and laminates
Design and production of moulds and formers
Vacuum bags and presses
Steam bending, kerfing and coopering
Production of components with compound curves
Preparing and laying veneers
Aesthetic and structural value of a variety of materials
Moisture content, seasoning and movement
Understanding and using veneer
Selecting and buying materials
The identification and use of key power tools
Safe working practices
Learning the potential applications of all the key power tools
Maintenance including changing and sharpening of cutters, saws and blades
Health and safety in a workshop
The selection, maintenance and use of a variety of machines
Designing safe and effective jigs
The properties and application of a range of finishes
The safe use of finishing materials
The implications when assembling furniture
Abrasives in hand and machining operations
Hand finishing and spraying
The requirements for setting up in business
How to run a furniture business
Selling your work
Commercial costing and estimating
Commission and production work
The industry today
drawing, design and presentation
Freehand drawing and sketching
Ergonomics including anthropometrics
Colour awareness and application
The design process
Design theory, including proportioning concepts
Design analysis and evaluation
Personal design philosophy
Contemporary furniture makers
Presentation drawings and skills
Photographing your work