Cleft oak gate making - the art of cleaving



Over 4 days Jack Ritson will introduce you to traditional green woodworking techniques, taking a close look at the different grades and characteristics of oak for strength and beauty. You will learn the art of cleaving to split your log into various sizes using wedges & froes. You will then use an axe & drawknife to shape these on your shave horse, and finally cut mortice & tenon joints for assembly into a finished and beautiful gate.

Cleaving is the technique of splitting wood down the grain rather than the more conventional sawing of fibres. Consequently, cleft wood is an incredibly strong, durable and long lasting material. The gates you make will use the natural shape of the wood and require no treatment due to the high tannin content in the oak.

You will take home a handmade gate of up to 4ft wide that will make you proud each time you walk through it!

Cancellation and a full refund can be obtained up to 2 weeks before the course starts. Start dates may be amended on request.

What's included in the price?

If you are staying for more than one day, we offer simple camping in our wildflower meadow or a comfy bed in our quirky Red Shed to round off your woodland experience.... just let us know you need accommodation when you book.

During courses, we provide a simple honest lunch such as bread, cheese and soup, however evening feasts are down to the students themselves. With use of a spacious and well equipped kitchen and living space, or a wood fired pizza oven, fire pit and fresh spring water, the formula for evening meals is to team up ‘chefs’, two at a time to cook for the rest of the group... the bar is raised night after night and the food just gets better and better. The kitty is usually about £8.50 each per day for ingredients... we can shop for you!

About Wernog Wood
We offer traditional & contemporary craft courses in an idyllic woodland setting. Courses are instructed by practicing artists and crafts people and tailored for complete beginners as well as those with experience.

Located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Wernog Wood is a hidden gem, right in the heart of the Clwydian Range, north east Wales. Our beautiful oak and ash woods are teaming with birds and wildlife, bluebells and wild garlic and an invigorating stream.

Just 200m from Offa’s Dyke and footpaths in every direction, you can enjoy evening walks in the heather covered hills, down into Ruthin, or along Offa’s Dyke itself to a variety of rural pubs.


Claire & Rob - taught by Jack Ritson at Wernog Wood

Message the tutor More from this maker All reviews


Wernog Wood
Llanbedr DC
Ruthin, LL15 1YE
LL15 1YE

Suitable for

  • Accommodation offered
  • Adults
  • Advanced/pro level
  • Corporate days out & team building
  • Engagement, birthdays & anniversaries
  • Intermediate level
  • Parking provided
  • Residential
  • Suitable for beginners
  • UK Holiday


4 days (9:00am to 5:00pm)

Bronze Badge
What does this mean?

This craft course provider has been awarded Bronze status for receiving 1 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.



The course doesn’t currently have live dates

Contact the tutor for more information

Browse similar courses, kits, live classes and online workshops in:

Leave a review

Will be published next to your review
Will not be published

Contact information will not be shared or used for marketing unless you opt to receive our monthly newsletter about UK creative courses. You will be notified by email within two weeks if the course provider responds to your review.

Have you done this course?