About the Course
One day stool making course - courses run throughout the year.
This is a really great day to get stuck into green woodworking if its your first time. Or even to hone up on skills if you've had a shot before. You are taken through the process from a log, split out, make tenons and mortices shape a seat and sculpt the legs on a shaving horse. Assemble and sit !!
The making of something from tree to final piece of furniture is a great achievement. The combination of heads, hands and hearts however is the product that maintains people.
An underlying social objective of the workshops is to achieve common unity. It is the main driver of our workshop ethos. It is the environmental context and the productive content which allows conversation to happen and enjoyment result. This approach allows people to focus their attention on a third thing rather than on themselves and others.
This Big Tree Society course is more hands-off than hands-on, from a facilitator’s point of view. We get the participant started, get them familiar with the objective and steer them through a process. During the stool making course, trees are appreciated more, techniques learnt and honed and traditions appreciated and understood.
The stool making course runs throughout the year.... early booking is definitely advised.
If booking with a CraftCourses voucher for part or all of the course fee, please fill in the contact form above. Your voucher code must be provided at the point of booking.
What's included in the price?
All materials, tooling and infamous craic.
We ask all participants to bring lunch, warm working clothes and strong sensible footwear. We gather up at 9.30 for a cuppa, meet the others and get started by 10, working through til about 5. If you need suggestions for accommodation please get in touch.
Eoin - a brilliant day! Never thought building my wee stool would have been so much fun. Both yourself and Gail were great company, as were the others....and so helpful, informative, encouraging, humorous and patient. I’m glad my kids got me this - I have said they should go to try it, it’s such good fun. Oh, and thanks very much too for the canine company, my wife now wants a dog!!!!!!
Derek Allan - - #16336
Thanks for a really fun inspiring day! I can't wait to make more, as Claire said!! The shave horse is addictive! I can certainly feel my triceps today, and I thought I was fit !
Terri - - #10915
Thanks from us too, we loved our day, we're very proud of our stools and Terri and I are meeting this week to have a go at making some simple stools that could be made with the children. We're looking a slicing some plum to make the seats and using sticks/poles as legs. You've given us the bug and we hope to be back soon, thank you
Claire - - #10914
Thank you again for a great day on Saturday. I could not be more proud of my wee stool. I kinda knew I'd get something finished, but did not expect such a good result as I have not done anything like it before.
I will certainly recommend the experience to others and also within my business customers.
Fiona - - #10913
Fantastic day - really enjoyed it, and - as you said - learned a huge amount. Definitely very enthused about taking up woodworking if and when I get some spare time!
Your ‘faculty’ are really good - helpful, fun and friendly. We will definitely be back - possibly to make a shaving horse so that we can start up at home. I appreciate that we have a huge amount to learn, but today was a great start. Just feeling the wood and seeing it transform was really fulfilling.
Thanks for the soup and bread too! If we don’t see you before, we will be at the gallery for our usual Christmas shop.
Alistair and Claire
Alistair - - #10877
Spent a day at the Rustic Stool Making day. A fantastic experience with expert tuition. I would highly recommend this regardless of what woodworking skill level you are. I have a feeling that we will be back...
Jill - - #10130
Thank you to you and your team for a really good day. Feeling knackered but learnt so much. A very enabling experience. Haven't wielded an axe for a long time and then only for firewood! I am very proud of my little stool! Look forward to seeing you again at your lovely gallery.
With kind regards and hugs to Scoop
Amanda - - #10076
Thank you so much for the course. It was just a brilliant day and I cannot think of a better and more mindful way to spend a day. Also so much enjoyed meeting you, your colleagues and others on the course.
Anthony - - #9395
Really enjoyed the day, many thanks for all the help, patient teaching and encouragement, very satisfying making a useful piece of furniture from scratch.
Hilary and Ian - - #9365
Deryck and I had a wonderful time on Saturday. When we arrived I really didn't think I'd be going home with a respectable looking stool. Now we have a pair of his and hers coffee table/ stools for each end of the sofa for the all important cup of coffee and a book! As a retired teacher I can really appreciate your teaching style, just enough support where it is needed but letting you do it yourself to learn best. The setting was great, everyone was friendly and relaxed and we haven't stopped talking about the day.
By the way yes, I can still name a shave horse, splitting axe, side axe, draw knife, spoke shave.....and remember what we used them for and how to use them. You did say you would be testing us.... Thanks again for a great day, maybe we will be back, who knows!
Kind regards, Margaret and Deryck
Margaret - - #8722
Hi Eoin, Thanks again for a great day on your stool workshop. It goes to show you are never too old to learn something new - I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and meeting my fellow students . I would certainly recommend your workshops to others - hardly surprising these get booked up quickly!
Sandy - - #8560
I would like to say thank you for my wonderful stool making day. It was probably one of the best days I've had and I hope to be back to make something else. Regards Susie
Susie - - #8559
I really can not believe I made a useable 3 legged stool out of a tree trunk in one day, especially being such a townie! But I did! Eoin, Gail and Dave were brilliant teachers - just the right amount of hands on and off. There was amazing soup, good cheer, and I thought fantastic value for money. Thank you all so much, it was a wonderful experience.
Rebecca - - #8512
"I did 2 courses with Eoin and Gail: "Rustic stool making" and "Shaving Horse". I never expected that I can make something out a piece of wood in just one weekend. Eoin and Gail are a great team and expertise was paired with lots of laughter and fun. I highly recommend these courses. Especially when you usually work in an office - a day or 2 working outside and using tools is the best therapy."
Ursula - - #8511
I must admit I was not filled with enthusiasm when my wife gave me a Yule Stool making course for my birthday but how wrong can you be….it was great!
The feel and smell of the wood, working with original tools and using the old methods was a revelation to me and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I managed to make a passable stool which now takes pride of place in our lounge..
Everybody was very friendly and we all got along well with lots of humour on display!!
The success of the day was undoubtedly down to Eoin and Gail who’s patience and enthusiasm were excellent, they watched and helped and encouraged everybody. A good hearty lunch and lots of tea / coffee and biscuits helped things along and I know that everybody had a really enjoyable time. Thank you all for a memorable day….I will be back!
David - - #8510
We just wanted to say a huge thank you for creating a day of simply wonderful memories - from the moment we ever first contacted you, you totally looked after us and our experience on the day topped that off. You are a very special group of talented, authentic, bighearted individuals and it was an absolute pleasure to meet you." Andy, Nic and Muffs Feb 2017
Nic Conway - - #8481
What a great spring weekend! Got on the chair course last minute but so glad I did. Tree surgeon by trade,but this course blew my mind with how timber once processed by hand can become a beautiful piece of furniture. The tuition is perfect, no pressure just easy going. Fantastic full of ideas and can t wait to go back. Martin Worthington ND arb
Martin Worthington - - #8424
A great day all round. The course is fun, informative and the course leaders allow you to be as hands-on as possible while still being immediately available for advice and suggestions. I was given this course as a birthday gift and it was really enjoyable and has given me the knowledge and enthusiasm to continue woodworking in my own time as well as having a great little footstool to put my feet on after a hard days work! I can't recommend this course highly enough for anyone with an interest in having a go at working with their hands. Sign up today!
Ross Beveridge - - #1544
Had a brilliant day on a Stool making course run by Eoin with help from Gail. You couldn't ask for more helpful (or patient) instructors. Everything was explained thoroughly and then they just let you get on with it. There is such a sense of achievement to be gained from a course like this. Thank you for a wonderful day!
Polly - - #1442
What a great day - it was lovely to be able to work outside and produce something really practical using a lot of skills that I never knew I could manage to do.
Eoin and Gail gave really good advice and information and working within a group was very enjoyable. As well as learning how to make a stool, and the transferable skills which would allow us to make other furniture, we also learnt about the importance of woodland management. Alasdair's Gaelic song about trigger fingered Celts and Gail's chocolate cake also helped make a very memorable day.
Sue Owen - - #1222
Very good course,excellent tutors who did not interfere but were always available. Health and safety on a course using sharp tools is very important and the tutors managed their obligations well without being overly fussy. Could recommend chair making to anyone who likes wood and working with their hands and brains.
David Kerr - - #1020
I really needed a break from the routine - to reconnect my brain with my hands. The atmosphere was supportive and very much tailored to individual ability and experience. I felt that I learned so much, and know that future efforts will benefit from that practical experience. I'm very proud of the chair that I made, and will haunt my family forever to make sure that it's handed down through the generations.
Robert Sproul-Cran - - #1014
What a fantastic day out! Exceeded all my expectations! Had an amazing time and everyone there looked the same. I learned a huge amount in what seemed to be a very short period of time and came away with a stool that now sits pride of place in my living room. I would well and truly recommend this course to anyone with or without a keen interest in wood work. Thanks very much to Gail, Dave and Eoin, will 100% be back to sample the chair or bench course this year at some point!
Greg Morris - - #946
Just wanted to say what a great time I had on the stool making course. The weather didn't look promising but I hardly noticed because the course was so involving. It was excellent to have three such knowledgeable and helpful tutors which meant we were well looked after. Also nice to meet participants from such a wide range of backgrounds. I got this course as a Christmas present and it was a brilliant change from the usual. I'll maybe think of signing up for a two day course to see what else I can make.
Many thanks to Gail, Dave and Eoin!
Niels Girvan - - #943
I had a truly brilliant day with the lads and lady. This was the first time I had done any wood work since school and was made to feel relaxed from the moment I arrived. The tutors were excellent, the tools were first class and the stools we all left with at the end of the day were excellent. I have been made to feel inspired to go on and do more, us we got some great home made soup to boot. I would urge everyone to visit at least once and you are sure to leave with something you have made or bought. Thanks again and see you soon. First class.
Jason Ram - - #941
I had a great day last weekend, shaping a big tree trunk into a stool. Idylic rustic setting where it never rains and a day full of good instruction and chat about the what, how and why of wood working. If you have toyed with the idea of doing a bit wood work then go on the course. You'll really enjoy it.
Stuart Macpherson - - #895
Course was excellent - five stars! Learned a lot and was really entertaining as well (down to the teachers!). In a beautiful court yard so a really nice spot to spend the day. The most fun I have had making stools!
joe nunn - - #891
This course is brilliant. I went along thinking I might learn how to use a saw, and came away with a whole stool, some top knowledge on timber, and inspired that a place like this has grown up over 30 years and is going strong. Super fun, beautiful setting, great company. Thanks so much.
Gaynor - - #889
This was a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend a Saturday. I felt motivated from the outset thanks to the wonderful environment in which the workshop takes place and the awesome teachers Eoin and Gail who patiently guide you through the different skill sets for working with green wood and in the end building a stool. Met some great folks, we had a laugh, we got creative and what a feeling of accomplishment at the end when you leave with a work of art under your arm. I absolutely recommend this class to those wishing to ignite their creative side!!!
Tom - - #805
A lovely day working with wood in an attractive courtyard with supportive companions and alert leaders - as soon as anyone needed extra help and guidance, it was there. We were reluctant to stop for lunch as we were so involved in trying to shave rough wood to smooth round legs. Lots of laughs too. I think were all surprised and delighted with what we had created.
Juliana - - #803
This course was arranged for me as a birthday present and I couldn't have asked for anything more enjoyable. I loved learning new skills lead by the excellent tutors Eoin and Gail, and making a stool all by myself ( with a little bit of help to make the holes ). Every time I look at or use the stool I feel so pleased. Thank you Big Tree!!
Juliette Oxford - - #797
Had a wonderful day, learning new skills and meeting some lovely folks. Felt so motivated and creative afterwards that I was truly inspired to do some things to make a difference in my life, thanks in no small part to a super chat with Eoin in the pub after all our hard work. The stool has been re-wedged and is as sturdy as ever, taking pride of place in our living room. Many thanks.
Chris Hellawell - - #796
Book now, you wont be disappointed, I had a Great day, i cant believe I actually made proper furniture out of some bits of tree !!
If you want to get away from it and create something with your own hands i cant recommend this highly enough
Michael bairstow - - #795
I went from zero practical experience to having made 2 stools in one day! :) The course was great - outside in the courtyard working with a range of tools to take green wood from logs all the way through shaping to be stool legs. The day was a good mix of chat and work and I definitely came away feeling like I'd learned enough to give this a go myself. Many thanks to Eoin and Gail - great teachers.
Jono Ellis - - #794
I thoroughly enjoyed the whole day, everything from the drive up through the boarders on a beautiful day to the session in the pub at the end. Best of course was the work. I can't think of a better way to spend a Saturday. we worked individually but with just enough help to make us all successful and with lots of team work when needed. The venue is excellent with a real old fashioned feel of timeless workshop and an adjoining craft center to inspire us to want to do more. Eion and Gail have got this just right, the right balance of challenge and help, nothing soppy! hard work and very satisfying.
Jim McManners OBE - - #668
The stool making day at Buy design is a day to look forward to and treasure. The organisation, facilities and tuition from Eoin and Gail are perfectly prepared and organised. The day is paced in such a way as to feel both relaxed and at the same time filling you with a real sense of achievement. Throughout the day Eoin provides a real tuition in the principles behind community woodland management and the provenance of the timber you are given. Guidance and instruction in the various tools are also given all at the right pace and timing. This course is about enjoying making things with your hands and green wood, but you'll get so much more out of the day. I guarantee you will spend most of the day with a smile on your face! I managed to finish a stool in ash which, once it is engraved with his initials,will be passed to my youngest lad. Cheers Eoin and Gail I will certainly be back for another!
Gavin Innes - - #644
Great course(s)! Done two now - I have a beautiful stool / bedside table and now a hedge chair which is so nice nobody else is allowed to sit on it! The setting is great relaxing and welcoming, the instruction is clear and you learn so much more that just how to make the stool or chair. There was also lot of banter and laughter, our group ended up in the pub to celebrate our achievements with great local tipple from the Scottish Borders Brewery. Altogether the best weekend I'd had in ages. Try it - You'll be amazed at what you can create.
Gill M - - #629
What a fantastic weekend. I really didn't know what to expect having never lifted so much a saw prior to the course and I sincerely doubted that i would be walking away with a 'hand crafted'chair at the end of the two days - how wrong could i be!!
Eoin and Gail were delightful and inspirational instructors,and, alongside their sense of humor and patience, put everyone at their ease with their'can do'attitude. The course was inspirational and i will certainly look at wood in a different way ( today we were scouring our local woodland area for branches in which to turn into legs and spindles).The course was well worth travelling over 300 miles to attend and i would recommend it to anyone wanting to do something satisfying and enriching.
janine blackmore - - #626
The stool-making course was brilliant! Beforehand I thought it would be a fun and novel way of spending the day, but several months have passed now and so many times when i see a woodland or even a lone tree, I think of the things I learned that day, from the shave horse to sustainable management of our forests. The instructors were great fun and extremely helpful, and the hands-on nature of the course meant i really earned those cups of tea! Thank you for a wonderful experience, and I'm looking forward to coming back for more."
Alex Miller - - #624
Just back from the best weekend I've had in a long while making a chair. What an amazing achievement having turned up on Saturday morning with absolutely zero experience of tools or woodworking and leaving Sunday afternoon with a complete chair. I can't recommend it highly enough! Eoin and Gail who were facilitating the course were wonderful. Very inspiring and helpful giving you just enough instruction and knowledge to move you along but without being patronizing and letting you take the lead. And they were extremely patient too - a question was never too stupid!
I have my chair at home and have to keep passing by it to touch it and remind myself that I really did create it!
Kerry-Anne Martin - - #623
Great day out making stool. Every stage of 'construction' easy to follow after a little introduction with the addition of the 'feel good' factor when complete.
Has given me inspiration to start woodworking and get creative.
Brian McD - - #622
This was my second course with the BigTreeSociety. Last year I made a stool and last week I was back there again with my target being a shave horse. Eoin and Gail facilitated the two days with humour and intelligence, making sure that the four of us followed our own route but advising why some of our ideas might not work and suggesting how to achieve the effect we wanted. I picked up a lot more about trees and wood and the skills necessary to achieve the objective. And we had some great moments of humour.
I have already recommended this course and the centre to friends and neighbours. It is an easy and enjoyable way to learn something new in an environment which is relaxed and friendly.
Go on, have a go, you really will enjoy it!
Brian Reeds - - #621
Perfect - instructors, materials, location, craic. So many therapies rolled into one day. . . . You know you have found 'your space' when no-one looks perplexed as you smell the wood. . . .
Go on, book it now!
Amanda Dempsey - - #573
A fantastically grounding day of nose-to-tail woodworking. I laughed more and learned more than I had dreamed I would on such a short course, and I am still in touch with some of the people I met that day. And the stool is still in pride of place. The depth of knowledge of the experts providing this course is phenomenal, and not available in books or on the internet!
Mary Young - - #560
Bought the course as a present for my wifes birthday. Had a great day making greenwood stools which 2 years on are in daily use. The course is a great deal given the expertise of the craftsmen doing the instruction and all the beautiful materials that are included. I would recommend the course to anyone who is willing to give it a go.
Mark - - #559
Great day, excellent tuition, opened up for me a new dimention in working with green wood. Was totally hooked and have booked up for a further two day course.
John Atkinson - - #556
I spent a freezing but thoroughly enjoyable day making a willow chair with excellent tuition. From the start of the day cutting the willow and setting aside for the various parts of the chair. The final completion is so satisfying to think that this can be done in a day, of course with a lot of good advice and help. I cannot wait until next year to do the course again as I would like to make a swing seat. The seat that I made is in pride of place at the top of the garden to take in the view.
Val Ferguson - - #555
Working with your hands and being creative is immensely satisfying. I've always enjoyed knitting and sewing, but had never tried any kind of woodwork (Lassies didn't get to do it at school in the 70s!). The lo-tech methods used in greenwood sessions are particularly satisfying - you gain a real sense that you are continuing a tradition going back thousands of years. The stool I made gives me great pleasure - as a seat, a table to sit my evening dram on, and as a conversation piece.
Isobel Knox - - #554
Really enjoyed the stool making day.It was great to make something from green wood and to do almost all of it with hand tools. Starting off with a log and going home with a completed stool was a fantastic experience. Very many thanks to both Eoin and Gail for giving me such a memorable and rewarding experience and even managed to try out the pole lathe! If you fancy a great day making something you should really give the stool making course a try.
Chris Shepherd - - #552
Had a super day on the Stoolmaking course in June. Great place, great gallery and great tuition. I'll be back.
Margaret Mitchell - - #551
Both my 15 year old son and myself had a fantastic day making stools, learned new skills, worked safely using traditional tools and methods and had some quality father and son time! No previous experience required as Eoin kept us on track whilst giving us the space to make us feel we had both achieved something on our own.... Now looking out for Eoins next course! Top marks Eoin!
Andrew McNaughton - - #550
Did the stool making course. Fantastic day. You learn everything from where the wood comes from, cutting up the log through to the finished product. Great instruction, Eoin and Gail were really helpful all the way through but let you get on with it aswell, I wish I had their energy! A very worthwhile and fun day. Woodturning is my hobby and I even got to play with their pole lathe, great fun!
Peter Jackson - - #549
I didnt DO a course. I bought it for my husbands christmas/birthday present (he made a chair!!). I was supposed to be chilling in the sun but went along on the sunday afternoon to watch. Observation? Patient, motivated teacher- supportive yet stayed in the background while they were working.
Booking 2 places for my daughter and I in November... Man at home who is so obviously proud of his creation. So am I - its a BRILLIANT thing to do. GO on and TRY it!!!
Jane Geddes - - #531
Fantastic 2 days with Eoin, and really enjoyed the activity and the banter! Totally different from my day job, and being able to create something from start to finish with my bare hands (and a few tools!). I recommend you give this a go!! Iain
Iain Geddes - - #530
An excellent course with just the right blend of domonstration/instruction and "try it and see" encouragement.
A wonderful working environment and good company.
I could easily have stayed longer.
Stuart James - - #513
Learning to make a stool with your own hands, from selecting the timber to knocking in the last wedge is a hugely rewarding experience that leaves you with a beautiful and very comfortable piece of work at the end of the day! Eoin's tuition is first class and his appreciation of our native woodland inspiring. The landscaped courtyard you work in provides a very relaxing environment too.
Martin Docherty - - #478
I spent a great day learning how to make a stool, using only hand tools.
A canny instructor, great craic, and like minded folk made learning new skills a real pleasure.
I have not stopped talking about the course since I got home.
Ian Sinclair - - #475
We had an amazing day, a few wee sore muscles the next day but well worth it. we loved the day and are inspired to do more courses and start some work at home to. Enjoyed learning
about the importance of sustainable forestry and how we could be involved locally in it.
We'll be back :)
Jo and Eildh - - #451
An excellent day, excellent tuition, excellent setting. A real eye opener into how to work with would. I would certainly like to try more, and it would definitely be at Buy Design
Gavin Yuill - - #450
The stool making course I attended was a thoroughly enjoyable day, and really empowering for a complete novice. I walked away with a sense of achievement and an insight into a surprisingly broad range of woodworking techniques. The courtyard setting is beautiful and the teachers inspiring and fun. Our common sense of purpose as a group, and our shared experiences as we saw our projects develop brought a real sense of community and sharing to the participants. We all left with big smiles on our faces, and I still look at my stool with a sense of pride!
kate m - - #415
I had a wonderful day making a stool from a spare bit of forest. The leaders show us how and passed on loads of useful tips and advice. It was a real insight, even for someone relatively familiar with wood. The day flew past and I am determined to do another course. The atmosphere was excellent and I came away full of good intentions. For once, I acted on them! I bought a draw knife and a froe (go on the course and you'll find out what a froe is) and set about making my own shave horse.
Great stuff and highly recommended
Btian Reeds - - #406
Wonderful! I wholeheartedly recommend Big Tree Society courses. I have attended two so far and have learned so much from Eoin and Keith - two guys who are passionate about green woodworking and passing on their skills. The courses are great places to share thoughts with like minded people, learn, re-focus and be re-invigorated. I have caught the bug, built a workshop, and regularly use the shaving horse, chair and stool which I made on the courses.
Derek Snee - - #405
I had an amazing day making a stool out of a tree. It was wonderful learning how to make a functional piece of furniture from green wood in just one day! It is a beautiful setting, with very knowledgeable and truly inspirational teachers. I highly recommend this course - sign up today - it is great value for money, fantastic fun, and you will leave with a great sense of achievement!
Kirsteen Woods - - #404
What a fantastic day I had 'down in the woods' making a willow chair! I had no previous knowledge which did not matter at all as the support and guidance was superb and I came home with a unique art piece for my garden. What's more I would love to make another one - a great experience.
Linda Keith - - #403
Great training from great people at a great venue! Can highly recommend - great value for money.
Janet Barnes - - #399
This should be on your 'things I want to do before I die' list. Great fun, inspirational, gives purpose to life.
Brian Mahler - - #398
I had a fantastic day making a stool. The guys are great and the setting fantastic. Get yourself along - you'll have a smashing time.
Diane Dixon - - #388
Done a days course,also a wk/end both times a fantastic experience.Its hands on working with greenwood,tools and methods used a hundred yrs. or more advice is on hand but you are the designer let your ideas run wild.The staff are great also the banter and theres plenty of that,to work with wood is to harmonise with part of nature,chill let the stress vaporate and tune into natures greenwood.Feeling at the end of course is so uplifting when you see final product,that you have made.I'd recomend anybody,everybody to try a course,I'l be back. Big tree society!! full marks. Dave.
david barella - - #385
Great staff, teaching and setting. Suitable for total beginners as well as those with a bit of know how.
An extremely satisfying and enjoyable day...I'm so proud of my stool!
Dorothy Holder - - #384
Brilliant! Can't recommend these courses highly enough. I've made too chunky ash stools and an awesome willow sculptural bench to date &amp; can't wait to discover what my next creation will be on my next visit. The atmosphere is wonderful. The teachers are always willing to help and pass on their extensive knowledge with accompanying good humoured banter. The venue @ Harestanes is magnificent. I also recommend allowing time for a walk around the surrounding area. I will be back!
Val Young - - #383
I have done two one day courses and made a stool and a garden chair. Both days were great fun and, for someone who has never touched wood working tools, a real experience and I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone.
Sylvia Huggan - - #382
I spent the weekend doing green wood working to produce my own working horse - the whole experience was fantastic and inspirational - a must for anyone with even the slightest intrest in working with one of the most beautiful material, wood in a wonderful setting and with a great teacher. Hamish
Hamish Martin - - #381
Had an amazing weekend with excellent tuition and I'm still stunned and proud every day when I see the chair that I made - 'that I made' is what I have to keep reminding myself. From arriving on Saturday morning and starting with logs and branches to leaving on Sunday evening with a beautiful peice of furniture. You spend the day working outdoors, with your hands and end the day with the feeling of satisfaction. I would recommend this to anyone disillusioned with sitting behind a desk all day!
gavin - - #380
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