One year fine furniture


Tel: +44 (0) 1984 667555


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one year fine furniture designer maker course


course structure

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. 

course intake

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.

course attendance

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.

Features Overview


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

hand skills

  • 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


  • Furniture components

  • Jointing and structures

  • Carcass and frame construction

  • Carcass rigidity and chair construction

  • Furniture fittings and fixtures

  • Furniture mechanisms

  • Jigs and Assembly

  • Preparation and cutting lists

  • Standardisation and production solutions

  • modern and traditional methods

  • Appropriate production methods and solutions

  • fitted furniture

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

  • Angle grinding

  • Spindle work

  • Preparing and laying veneers



  • Aesthetic and structural value of a variety of materials

  • Timber technology

  • Timber identification

  • Material defects

  • Moisture content, seasoning and movement

  • Material conversion

  • Understanding and using veneer

  • Selecting and buying materials

  • Marquetry work

power tools

  • 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

  • Production techniques


  • 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

business skills 

  • The requirements for setting up in business

  • How to run a furniture business

  • Workshops

  • Marketing

  • Business profile

  • Time management

  • Public relation

  • Selling your work

  • Commercial costing and estimating

  • Commission and production work

  • The industry today

  • External organisations

  • Legislation

  • Websites

drawing, design and presentation

  • Freehand drawing and sketching

  • Perspective

  • Ergonomics including anthropometrics

  • Working drawings

  • Colour awareness and application

  • The design process

  • Design vocabulary

  • Design theory, including proportioning concepts

  • Design analysis and evaluation

  • 3D awareness

  • Personal design philosophy

  • Research skills

  • Contemporary furniture makers

  • Presentation drawings and skills

  • Photographing your work

  • Portfolios