Chair-making hits London

Getting crafty in Crystal Palace

Posted 10th July 2016

Courses at my London workshop in Crystal Palace are gathering momentum nicely. I’ve had the first two – a taster session then a stool-making course that finished last week. Both went down really well – axes swinging, shavings flying and everyone getting properly stuck in. Just how it should be when there’s wood to be worked!

To the left is Helen, heading home with her new stool proudly slung over one shoulder. And here's what Terry, one of the other course participants, had to say about his experience:

"I attended the stool making course, my kids gave it to me as a Father's Day gift, and I loved every minute of it. I am fairly handy and have made several items in wood, anything from furniture to skateboards. But this course was something new to me, working in green (freshly cut) timber is very different, no power tools involved just traditional hand tools. A real insight into how things were done which given it's low environmental impact makes it oddly modern. Ben is great, knowledgeable and patient. He has a lovely manner about him. Not only did I spend two really enjoyable day doing something really interesting, I have ended up with a beautiful piece of furniture which I will enjoy for years to come. I can't wait for the chair making course."

On that note, I’ve just finalised dates for the latest batch of courses I’m planning in late summer and through into the autumn. These include – drumroll please – London’s first and only dedicated green-wood chair-making course! This will be run over 10 consecutive Thursday evenings, during which time students will be taken through the process of making a simple Windsor-style chair. It will be interesting to see how this turns out - there's a lot to get through in 10 weeks, but my experience is that when the creative urge descends, there's no holding people back. I envisage some intense work, but huge satisfaction at the end when students leave having made their very own chair from scratch. Exciting times!

I’m planning to use this course as a platform for developing a range of other furniture-making courses in 2017. Watch this space for more details…