About the Course
2 day box making courses held on weekends throughout the year in beautiful Cumbria. Make your own handmade wooden box.
The courses are fun and relaxed, yet will give you the skills & confidence to make stunning boxes on your own. The courses are run from a fully equipped cabinet making work shop. All tools and safety equipment are provided, though you are welcome to bring your own tools if you wish. Ear defenders and dust masks are yours to keep at the end of 2 days. Tea and coffee is on tap :-)
You will get to make a box from a selection of hardwoods, with either a lift off top or a hinged top with solid brass hinges if desired, Your choice. The completed box can be lined with a selection of materials from leather to felt and will be finished with oil and wax.
There will be a maximum of 4 people per course with 2 tutors available, meaning a maximum ratio of 2 students to 1 tutor, giving you the most of our time. The box you make will be of a fairly simple design with either mitred or dovetailed joints. All brass ware and materials are provided in the cost. Time permitting you could also do some inlay work on your box. As well as the practical side we will also give you lots of tips and answer all your questions as we go. I have designed the boxes to be doable in the 2 days, in the event you don't quite finish, all the wood work side of things should be done, just leaving the finishing to be done at home, for which I can provide you with some finishing oil and wax. I will have demonstrated how to do this during the weekend.
Please see the link above for more details. I am happy to answer any questions over the phone or by email.
Keen woodworkers may also be interested in the 5 day cabinet making courses courses run by our partners in The Wood Workshop. I also teach in the courses. Please put 'woodwork' into the search box above to find further details of these.
If booking with a CraftCourses voucher for part or all of the course fee, please fill in the contact form above or telephone us. Your voucher code must be provided at the point of booking.
What's included in the price?
The course includes all materials and as much tea and coffee as you can drink.
All tools and safety equipment will be provided ( ear defenders and dust masks are yours to keep) and a fully equipped workshop. You are welcome to bring your own tools if you have them, we will show you how to use/set them up properly if you wish. Tea, coffee and biscuits are provided. Unfortunately being weekends our usual sandwich van will not be around, so you will have to bring your own lunch. A microwave is also available to use. There is a little chef and burger king within walking distance of the workshop as well as a garage 2 min drive away which sells sandwiches, pies and rolls.
Thoroughly enjoyed the 2day box making course with Mark and Jay. They were very patient and laid back, always happy to answer any questions. I was astonished how well my box turned out and now have the confidence to do more. Thanks guys!
Laura Cave - - #20487
What a great way to spend the weekend. Mark and Richard were excellent instructors.
After initial instructions we were encouraged to do everything for ourselves. They were always on hand if we got into difficulties. Their knowledge and skills are unbelievable and their levels of patience endless.
Their workshop is well stocked with plenty of different high quality work working tools, that we were guided into using in order to make our boxes.
Our boxes are for our twin grandchildren and the knowledge that dad-cu and mam-gu made them make us very proud grandparents.
Thanks guys, you are an awesome duo.
Paul & Sheila Wright - - #20340
Great course. Mark and Jay looked after us well. The 2 student to one tutor ration meant that you could always get help. Looking at the example boxes at the beginning was quite daunting but the careful step by step guidance made the process stress free and enjoyable. The course fee may initially seem a bit expensive but it's more than worth it for the training, experience, access to all the machinery, materials etc and the end result of a beautiful box.
Tony - - #20247
What a great weekend , Mark and Richard were very good teachers very patient explaining everything clearly as we went along. I liked the fact that Mark and Richard showed us what to do and then left us to do it but still there if we needed them. The end result was a great box that my friends did not believe that I had really made and were very impressed.
Thank you very much Mark and Richard .
Maureen Brown - - #20138
Lovely way to spend a weekend, mark and richard are very knowledgable cabinet makers but are also down to earth when teaching part of their skills to everyday people like me 😀
Well worth booking this course.
John Chappell - - #20008
I’ve known Mark for a few years now as I’ve been on other courses that he runs (all of which I HIGHLY recommend). But this course was outstanding. I had such a wonderful weekend. Mark is so skilled and brilliant at explaining things and not making you feel stupid when/if you make a mistake. You get to add some of your own personal touches and ideas too. The box I’ve come away with is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever made and I already have friends and family wanting me to make one for them now too! I need to send them on the course. Thanks so much Mark! Will be seeing you again soon.
Tracy Playle - - #19172
Enjoyable weekend , good company ,interesting oppurtunity to learn new skills in a relaxed atmosphere ,
Thanks to Mark , i went home with a good loking box.
chris - - #19150
Wonderful two day course with Mark and Richard. They were happy to share their experience, patiently explained the methods and created an enjoyable friendly atmosphere. At no point did you feel rushed and care was taken in ensuring each person got as much as they could from the experience.
I am very proud of the box I created, it exceeded expectations and then some! Each course member created something unique and to a really high standard. Thoroughly recommended and I hope to return in the future
Mary - - #18781
A box making course!
What do you have at the end?
A box of course.
But I wouldn't have expected to make a beautiful oak box (with dovetail joints) and with an elm lid (with lovely graining) supported on hidden pin hinges. Mark and Richard were excellent as they supported and guided each of us in making a box of our choice.
Maybe this should be called an introduction to cabinet making for absolute beginners. Excellent!
David Heppell - - #18670
I wanted to make something special for my late husband’s ashes. It was a rollercoaster of emotions for me doing this and to be honest my head was like treacle but with a lot of help and encouragement from Mark & Richard I’ve made the most beautiful box and I think he’d be proud of me. It was a lovely weekend and they give me a lot of support, the other 3 people doing the course were great too! I’d really recommend anyone to have a go, if I can do it anybody can. I wish I could post a picture of my fabulous box!
Deb Mills - - #18656
I'm 73 and the last time I did woodwork was at the Grammar School in the 1950/60's so to say I was a bit nervous was an understatement. I thought there's no way I could make a box remotely the same as the ones on show in the workshop..... but how wrong I was !!!!! I made a very professional box of which I am so proud. The mitred corners were 95% perfect and the fitted lid with its hidden hinges looked very impressive. Our tutor Mark was the reason I did so well. He was good at explaining each step and showed us how to safely use all the various tools and machinery. I have booked another weekend course for next year.To anyone who is interested I would say "Have a go like I did". You will enjoy it.
Thank you Mark for all your help and guidance.
Neville Sanderson - - #17966
Mark is a fantastic tutor and his workshop is great! He was happy to answer any questions that I had (about the making of the box and general questions about woodworking) and struck a good balance between showing me what to do and letting me work on my own. I'm very happy with and proud of the box that I've made, especially as I have never done anything like this before. The sides of the box are dovetailed together and the lid is attached using brass pins, but there was the option to do mitred joints and the option to use brass hinges too. After Mark's course I really want to acquire some tools and try and make some more boxes like the one I've already done. Very enjoyable weekend on the whole!
Paul - - #17813
Mark is a fantastic tutor. He is very patient and guides you really well. The time flies by (even though the clocks went back this weekend). I have just done the box making weekend and I cannot believe that a novice woodworker walked out with such a lovely box! It was relaxed and enjoyable. I have learnt such a lot and will be back for sure for more teaching.
Paul - - #17788
I wasn't sure what to expect after my wife bought this course for me as a gift. On arrival on Saturday morning, Mark asked us to pick the type of box we wanted to make and I thought "there's no way I'm going to make any one of these". I was wrong! Two days later I had a wooden box I was really proud of.
Mark's style of delivery, the pace of the course and the workshop all come together in what is a great weekend. I've left with a new sense of belief that I can make stuff, some new skills and a bunch of ideas for spending long hours in the man-shed. I hope to be back for some other courses.
I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this course to anyone with an interest in learning some new skills and actually creating something tangible.
Andy - - #17216
Just completed the weekend box making course with Mark and it was everything I wanted it to be.
As you would expect, the workshop was very well equipped and Mark’s instructions and guidance on the safe and correct use of each tool or piece of equipment was spot on.
I picked up lots of useful tips and tricks over the course of the weekend and I had a lovely dovetailed oak box with walnut lid to show for my efforts.
A really enjoyable weekend in lovely surrounding spend with a great bunch of fellow students and a very passionate and knowledgeable craftsman. I’m off to start saving for a Wood Rat !
David Bradley - - #16968
I came on the course hoping to get some experience with woodworking machinery. I left with lots of ideas and a beautiful box I made myself. The atmosphere was relaxing from the cameraderie of my fellow students to the patience of the instructor; a thoroughly fulfilling way to pass a weekend.
Jane - - #16896
Fun and relaxed with a small group where each person got all the attention they required.
Mark was great at teaching you and letting you do the work which meant that you really feel you'd accomplished something at the end of the weekend.
Colin Dulson - - #16455
Having just completed the 2 day weekend box making course with Mark I can say it is thoroughly great fun. Mark is friendly and a wealth of knowledge and has a wonderful way of explaining everything so you can understand. His passion shines through and is infectious and I will be continuing wood work as a hobby. The product from this course turned out amazing, mark having coaxed unknown talent out of me.
Thank you so much.
Nick - - #16447
What can I say. The other reviewers are spot on. Great weekend box making. Relaxed style from Mark puts you instantly at ease. Very clear yet detailed advise and supervision. You will come away with a box you have made which you will be proud of, and will have learned lots as well, whether a beginner or not. Go - you will be glad you did!
Alan Haughan - - #15926
It is difficult to believe that someone who has always been clumsy and imprecise with wood can be taught to make a beautiful hardwood box (in oak) that looks and feels fabulous. Mark enabled me to do that in two days on a fantastic box-making course which was well run, allowed us to work independently, learn how to use hand tools and machine tools, and feel more confident doing previously impossible projects at home. A great course in a great location, highly recommended.
Nick Booth - - #15668
I arrived with some trepidation - I did a little woodwork in school in the '70s but since then only Ikea. But I was very quickly put at my ease and started to enjoy myself hugely. I learned a lot and am now ridiculously proud of the wooden box I made during the course - I have shown it to everyone! Thank you Mark.
John Kirby - - #15614
Mark has the patience of a saint. This course was an unexpected Christmas present for me and accordingly surprising. I never thought I could make an interesting box but I have. Mark has an enormous attention to detail and could convey this without being intimidating. A great way to spend a weekend and I am impressed with my insight into what it takes to make a good wooden box. Thanks very much
Lesley - - #15551
I'm sat looking at the results of the May box making course attended last weekend and still can't really believe just how good it looks. My last wood working efforts of any kind (other than flat-pack furniture assembly or patching up a skirting board) was around 54 years ago as a 12 year old. That experience was traumatic and resulted in a wobbly teapot stand that only a mother could love; this one was cathartic and resulted in a fine looking box.
I've just re-read through all of the previous reviews for this course, in the hope that I could think of something that hasn't already been said. I can't though! You might be forgiven for thinking that there must be a degree of exaggeration in many of them, but I can confirm that I found that all were accurate. Mark was a patient and helpful guide to technique, tools and scary machinery through every stage of the process. He demonstrated what needed to be done and watched over your initial efforts with advice as necessary, but never doing the job for you.
This was a well-organised and very enjoyable course that I would give 6 stars to if it were possible. Recommended to all - thanks Mark!
Andy - - #14991
I made a box! The only thing I have ever before made out of wood was kindling and a fire, I left Mark's workshop with a fine wooden box of which I was very proud.
The workshop was very well organised, Mark is a great tutor with a very "put you at ease" style which took any apprehension away. Having selected the style of box, received safety training on the machinery we set about cutting the wood and assembling the pieces that would eventually be the box.
This was a practical hands on box making workshop, progressing at my work rate. I learnt to use various types of machinery and Mark was always on hand to advise if needed.
I thoroughly enjoyed the workshop, I have confidence to tackle other projects and will be back to learn skills on a wood turning lathe.
Having started with no knowledge I can thoroughly recommend this workshop as great value and giving a new skill to be proud of.
Charles - - #14959
Just finished my weekend course with Mark on box making, what a great and interesting time spent with a guy with so much skill and knowledge of wood, from learning about timber joints to the hints and tips they give you, things you would never have thought of until they are pointed out to you, I myself have worked with timber and sheet materials for many years but this was still an eye opener for me to see a master at work. The items they produce have to be seen to be believed, taking into account the challenges faced when working with a natural product such as wood. So many thanks go to Mark for his teaching over the last 2 days I will take this back to my own workshop and try to apply some of the skills he has shown me. I would recommend these courses to anyone that has a love of wood. Many thanks for all your help again.
Mark Henderson - - #14678
What an amazing weekend! Whatever expectations I had for this were exceeded by the excellent Mark and Richard. Having done no woodwork since school, other than bodge a bit of DIY, I felt a complete novice. No matter. I was helped along when I needed it and left to it when I could cope, no stress. I am proud of the box I have made, it didn't think it would be as good as it is. That is down to the help from the guys. I thoroughly recommend this weekend to any one.
Simon - - #13830
Great little weekend. Choice of boxes to create. Step by step help as required. No experience necessary. End result - something to be proud of, and some new skills. Relaxed environment. Many thanks.
Sarah Gravell - - #13817
My wife, Lara, and I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend course. Mark and Richard were great hosts and teachers; it's clear to see their passion for what they do. We came away with a couple of lovely boxes to be proud of and an enthusiasm to take the skills and tips we gained into a new hobby at home.
Ron Sutcliffe - - #13379
A fabulous course & worth every penny. Mark & Richard are excellent patient tutors and explained things very well. I have never done any type of woodwork before & was very nervous by Mark & Richard soon put me at ease. I came home with a beautiful box which I am so proud of.
Many thanks Mark & Richard for a great experience.
Gill Geach - - #13184
I really enjoyed this course. Had not done any woodwork for many years but was helped to get back into it by Mark and Richard's patient and excellent tuition. I learned lots of great tips and hopefully will be able to put them into practice in the future. I was delighted with the box that I made. I would highly recommend this course.
Robin - - #13143
Great course and I came away having learned so much. Made a lovely dovetailed box with a feature Australian silky oak lid, which was brass pin pivoted and the inside was leather lined.. all over a weekend. With 2 students to one instructor (Mark) there was never any problem in asking for advice or questions. Worth every penny!
Mal Weightman - - #11855
Excellent course and Mark a very patient teacher and balanced the right amount of teaching and demonstration with allowing me to get on with my box and quietly supervising. End result a beautiful box, far nicer than anything else I have ever made and a shed load of new skills. What my wife didnt bank on when she booked the course were all the essential items of workshop equipment I will now need to buy to kit out my own workshop 😁
Steve Lumb - - #11221
The weekend box making is real joy. No matter how much woodworking background one has, there is a lot to learn from Mark who is a very creative craftsman. I am glad i came for this course it was well worth it.
Thank you Mark. You have certainly made me a more confident woodworking hobbiest.
Hussain - - #10493
So many firsts for me this weekend, including the first time I have written a report on-line! I had to!!!
What a fantastic course. The family were amazed at the box I created - if I can anyone can.
Mark is an excellent teacher. There were two of us on the course and the other person had far more experience than I, even having his own work shop. I would definitely class myself as a beginner but I was not made to feel inferior in any way.
On arrival we were asked what type of box we wished to construct - 2 different shapes, mitre or dovetail corners and 3 different lid mechanisms. We chose completely different styles of box and Mark showed us the both the techniques required, calling the other over when demonstrating the next step.
I have never used machinery before - Mark was very clear in his instruction and I felt very safe as a result of his attention to detail. Each piece of equipment (hand or machinery) was explained as in what it does and how it is used. He also taught us some maintenance tips for hand tools e.g. sharpening chisels. Mark has provided details of suppliers (materials and tools) should we wish to have a go at home.
We were made very welcome. There was the opportunity to have a drink whenever you wanted but I became so engrossed I forgot - until we were told it was lunch time!
Thank you so very much for a fabulous weekend. I have a beautiful box - they don't keep the best wood for themselves. I will definitely be back when I can.
Sallie - - #10491
Excellent course. Mark was outstanding in showing us everything and we were never kept idle. This was my first time wood working and everything was made exceptionally clear and simple. The materials and tools were also second to none and all thoroughly detailed and explained.
I can not recommend this course enough!
Craig S - - #10134
I have just completed the weekend box making course and would highly recommend it . The help and tuition from Mark was exceptionally good . I am proud of the boxes I made and the skills I learned .
It is one of the best things I have done .
Tom Wilson - - #9815
This was the first woodworking i had ever done, never really used tools, or even knew the names of some tools.
Mark was an excellent teacher, i learnt so much over the two days, he was also very patient and answered every question i had, no matter how stupid the question was! I used a variety of hand tools and power tools, and had a lovely box by the end of the weekend.
I found this course as a great introduction to working with wood and would absolutely recommend this course to anyone who asks, and would definitely take any future courses that Mark puts on.
Paul Tait - - #8940
A very good course. I had no real previous wood working skills but even so managed to produce a very satisfactory box in the two days. Mark is a good tutor and along the way I picked up a lot of useful information from him on using tools and materials. Recommended.
Ian Cairns - - #8590
I have recently returned from this box-making course in Penrith and it was excellent. Mark teaches in a very relaxed and encouraging manner which enabled me to dust off some old woodworking skills and learn some new ones. I now have a beautiful lined flip top box made of oak and ash. I would fully recommend this course!
Liz - - #8271
Mark is a true craftsman. You will learn a lot on this short course. I loved it.
Sam Kellet - - #8005
Previously attended furniture course in the same workshop. It has been revamped and the new layout lends itself to the function with more room in the central area.
Mark was well prepared for the course; more than ready for the students and our questions about the project. His teaching style is quietly confident; courses without the dramatic effect are so much more enjoyable by all parties, Able to share knowledge in a workshop environment, underpinned by his experience; nothing phased him. His belief all of the potential problems can be resolved; basically reinforcing the belief that Tradesmen get things done rather than admitting defeat.
Two days well spent in a frosty Penrith; coming home with a sense of achievement and a beautiful lined Jewellery box as evidence to all of those doubting the potential for such a short course.
Thanks again Mark, it was like coming home to a welcoming, stress-free family atmosphere.
I might come on another Course, and will definitely pop in next time I am in the area.
Colin - - #6858
Having already covered a fair amount in fine furniture woodworking on my college course I went on the box making course and really enjoyed it. I learnt various new techniques on machines and by hand including decorative dovetails, cutting hinges, finishing and lining boxes. Mark and Richard were both brilliant tutors and passed on their skills and knowledge of woodwork with great enthusiasm. The ratio was fantastic with 2 tutors to 3 students. I was delighted with the end result. I would highly recommend this course and would like to do another.
Joe Warbrick - - #5880
What a fantastic course! I arrived as a novice with a limited idea of how to do much with wood. The challenge of making a box over a weekend seemed a little daunting, especially when offered the choice of what sort of box to make while looking at a range of Mark's work.
Mark is an excellent teacher, and quickly helped me gain confidence as I learnt a whole range of new skills. His experience both as a craftsman and teacher shine through with great tips and support all given in a really relaxed style.
The course is held in Mark's very well equipped workshop which is in a beautiful setting just a few minutes walk from the Rheged centre.
By the end of the course I was amazed at how much we had covered and even more amazed at the box I had made.
Matt - - #5065
I really enjoyed this course. Mark was friendly and helpful and guided us in making the boxes rather than being overly prescriptive. At the start of the course you are shown samples of the boxes that Mark sells and you can choose the one you want to make (or design your own using elements from a number of styles if you prefer). You are then instructed in how to safely use the various tools/ machines needed to make the box and given the space to learn the required techniques at your own pace (in my case that meant making a lot of mistakes and wasting a lot of wood). I was also impressed with the quality of timber we were given to use, I expected to be using standard timbers but we given beautiful pieces of furniture grade oak to work with. All in I had a fantastic weekend.
Steve - - #4624
I admired Mark's boxes when attending the Cabinet Making courses in Penrith and made the decision to build on my woodworking skills by attending the Box Making course.
Just returned from a most enjoyable Box-Making weekend in a snowy Cumbria; it was a welcome sight to see the smoke of the wood-burner drifting skyward as I pulled into the car park. Mark provided the tuition in his quietly confident manner. Each stage was described in detail, and any hiccoughs managed without any fuss or panic. (on Mark's part anyway) Patience personified!
Mark was supportive through the entire process from choosing wood; preparing the wood; selecting a design and onward to the conclusion of building a high quality box with light oak sides and brown burr oak back and front; with a burr oak top to die for.
He even managed to help me with my ongoing projects once the box was complete; sharing his knowledge freely; at least two will be finished by the Christmas deadline. The short duration of the course belies the usefulness of the transferable skills taught in this forum.
Thanks again Mark, for your encouragement to be more adventurous in my projects.
I fully intend to return to further my skills next year and look forward to being reacquainted with my Cumbrian support network.
colin - - #3844
I have just completed the weekend box making course and was impressed not only by Mark's own boxes but his depth of knowledge and how he explained everything in detail as we proceeded - and I ended up with a beautiful Cumbrian Elm box which has been much admired. The detailed explanations, hints, tips, sharpening, info on workshop practice all added to my knowledge. Above all, Mark has very high standards and this rubbed off throughout the course.
Derek Reay - - #3635
I greatly enjoyed this course. Mark explains the steps, techniques and tools used to take selected timber and produce a professional-looking box. The workshop has a good range of woods available and Mark takes you through each stage of making a box and the variations you can have.
I would recommend this course to anyone who has an interest in trying their hand at box making or craft woodwork in general. Starting as a box-making novice, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the result I achieved with Mark's tuition.
Mike - - #3342
Just completed the box making course with Mark - June 2015. I'm an amateur woodworker with limited experience but with Marks expert tuition and guidance I managed to make a beautiful, high quality box that I can be very proud of. An excellent opportunity to learn new skills and improve knowledge. Relaxed approach in a well equipped workshop in beautiful Lakeland setting. I can thoroughly recommend the course.
Wayne - - #2873
I've just completed the box making course and absolutely loved it! its great to see your very own piece come together from a 'lump' of wood to a beautiful box. Mark was a very good teacher - very patient with me! I'd love to go back and do more of the courses run at the wood workshop.
Jay - - #2342
I had previously been on a cabinet making course that Mark teaches with Richard at the Wood workshop, While there I admired Mark's boxes on display in the showroom with much envy. Talking to him about his boxes, he told me about the courses he was setting up and I jumped at the chance to be on the inaugural course.
I already knew the standard of tuition which not surprisingly was maintained on the weekend course. Good fun, relaxed but at the same time fairly intense. The result.....a fantastic box, the standard of which I was amazed at, especially in 2 days! Admittedly with lots of guidance :-)
Thanks for a great weekend. will be back for more courses in the future.
Mark - - #1953
Having been with Richard and Mark on the 5 day tools and things course I wanted to try my hand at "box making" on the brand new weekend course. What a great weekend we had lots of fun, a great deal of informative was gathered and I went home with a lovely box to show/give to my wife.
Gorden - - #1925
This craft course provider has been awarded Platinum status for receiving 50 or more 5 star ratings from previous students.
The Students' Choice award ensures that course providers get recognised for their efforts in the teaching and practice of UK craft.
They also allow tutors to gain valuable feedback on their courses and for new students to find the course that's right for them.