Course Start Dates
Course dates are flexible; please get in touch for the next available date.
About the Course
This one day beginners course at our Cotswold workshop is designed to give the student the fundamental basics of French polishing and woodcare and to give them a hands on day leaving them with the vital practical skills needed to refinish furniture.
Each student will work on a small or medium piece of their choice allowing them to go through the full process within one or two working days. The smaller piece being for the one day course and the medium/larger piece being for the two day course.
The course covers the following –
Health and Safety
Polishing materials, tools and personal set up list
Stripping, neutralising and sanding/wire wool techniques
Staining and grain fillers
Shellacs, touching in and waxes
Brush and rubber techniques
The course is designed for groups of 1 or 2 so to maximise the students learning and for the items of furniture to be finished before the course ends.
If you wanted a bespoke package then we can mix and match with my painted furniture course to make sure you gain everything you need from the workshop.
Get in touch for more details of our range of courses and to book your place.
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 sundries needed to polish are provided. The furniture needs to be provided by the student.
My husband and I attended a one day course in French polishing with Ollie in early March. We had a wonderful day and found Ollie very knowledgable and a highly skilled trainer in the subject. He was happy to spend his time explaining and demonstrating the process, also helping with my project where needed. I had never done anything like this before and learnt so much, taking back home a table that before had looked very sad and had seen better days to something I was really proud of. I would definitely recommend this course however I would suggest a 2 day to fully appreciate the process. My husband like myself enjoyed the course and is planning to use the skills learnt to bring back to life other furnishings in our home.
Thank you Ollie for a wonderful day.
Chris Horwood - - #29400
A quite exceptional day actually started some weeks earlier with receipt of comprehensive course notes and overview of materials which provided an invaluable background for my day with Ollie and which will serve as my bible and guide in the future. I entered Ollie's workshop with a jaded but precious piece of family furniture and bags of enthusiasm. I left at the end of the day with a beautifully finished piece, with a depth of colour, lustre and professional finish which would grace any home and of which i am extremely proud. Listening to, working alongside and watching Ollie was a privilege, and it reflects positively on him that i returned home ready and confident to undertake more ambitious projects. Ollie taught me a lot in a very short space of time, not just the basic techniques and process (which were invaluable) but the thirst to discover more, to experiment and to push forward. Sure i will make mistakes and, probably, have some bad ideas but with the knowledge i got from Ollie i know i will be able to fix the cock-ups. If you are thinking of attending this course, do it. If you are not thinking of attending, still do it! You will learn something of huge value from a great teacher.
stephen patten - - #29161
At the time of writing, Oliver's course had received 45 reviews - of which 44 were five-star and one (from a well satisfied student) four star. I've never seen any teacher/course rated that highly but, having done a one-day course, in March 2020, i can easily see why. These ratings are completely deserved: Ollie is a master craftsman and also a brilliant teacher: he's painstaking, patient, approachable, and generous with his time. And his course is well worked out and comes with very useful course notes: I'm so glad I went and I came away with more understanding than I could reasonably have hoped for. Very many thanks.
Peter Charles Medawar - - #29118
An excellent course, Olivers' approach and instruction techniques put you straight at ease. I will return but would recommend two days if you have a larger item to French polish.
Mark Scadden - - #28883
An excellent course. It exceeded my expectation. Great friendly teacher. I think if I were to go again I would do the 2 day course as it can be a long day getting through everything in 1 day.
Wyn - - #28523
I found the course extremely informative and hands-on. Oliver is extremely knowledgeable and was able to explain in detail the numerous processes. He was readily available and regularly ensured that I was doing everything correctly. I would have no hesitation in recommending this course. I was able to restore a piece of furniture which has significant sentimental value, that prior to going on the course I would have had no idea. You Tube videos are great for some things but this is a must attend course for anyone wishing to have expert tuition.
John Byles - - #26879
Such a great course, 2 days spent with Ollie and I am now obsessed with wood and furniture. It was a joy to be taught by such a great tutor, he is patient and has so much knowledge that he's quite happy to share and he is really good company. I have completed a project since finsihing the course and am about to start another and really loving it, all thanks to the skills passed on. Many thanks Ollie.
Sally Stanford - - #26759
We had a fantastic day with Oliver at this course and were thrilled with the outcome of our work. The course is well-paced and leaves you with plenty of confidence to have a go yourself at home afterwards. It's clear that Oliver loves his work, and really enjoys teaching
Sam - - #26523
Excellent course and excellent teaching
Fiona French - - #26181
Fantastic experience! Oliver is a great teacher with a professional and kind approach. You benefit from having your pice of furniture restored and the whole process of polishing is extremely satisfying. I recommend not only as the way to learn a new skill but also to have an unforgettable day of fun. The joy of restoring the beauty of wood furniture you will never forget.
Barbara Przybylek - - #25938
What a joy to have a day’s tuition with Ollie! He is such a good tutor, very knowledgeable and patient and made all the processes straightforward and easy to understand, my lovely sheet music box was transformed back to its original state in a few hours. I thoroughly recommend French polishing for beginners at Ardington School of Craft, such an enjoyable and productive day.
June Helps - - #25858
Great practical course run by Ollie. There were 3 of us which allowed Ollie to spend plenty of time with each as we worked on our own pieces. The progress made on my item (a dressing table) in a single day was fantastic and the result was far better than I had expected. Ollie is a great teacher knowing when to leave us to get on with it and when to step in as necessary. The location and facilities of the workshop were great too. Since the course I have completed other parts of the dressing table following the same process that Ollie taught us and am delighted with the results. Ollie provided material lists and course notes which were easy to follow back at home.
French Polishing 1 day Beginner - - #24909
I booked onto this course a complete novice and not really knowing what to expect. It was an amazing day and I learnt so much from Ollie who explained everything really clearly. I took along an old oak coffee table which had definitely seen better days and the result was brilliant! I wouldn't have believed I could achieve such a great finish in such a short time. We only had time to complete the table top, with the legs and base only getting to the staining stage, so I have a challenge now to complete the piece at home, but feel totally inspired and well equipped to do so.
Ollie also provides a comprehensive shopping list of what you need to carry on with at home, along with detailed notes of all the stages involved which is very useful! I would definitely recommend this course for beginners as an introduction to French polishing and furniture restoration.
Hilary Farndon - - #24680
I would highly recommend doing Oliver's course. I had very little knowledge of French polishing but by the end of the day I felt as if I had gained an enormous amount of knowledge and skills. I took a leaf from a large Victorian dining table as my project and by the end of the day it had been restored beautifully. The notes Oliver provides are excellent and he divides his time very well between everyone on the course. He provided everything that was required and the facilities are good. I agree he is an excellent tutor. This was a day very well spent!
Becky Ellison - - #23572
I wanted to do this course to supplement my upholstery services so that I can offer more professional wood restoration services to clients. Although it's perfect for hobbyists I would say that it's also suited to anyone looking to develop their skills in a professional capacity too. I've just finished the Association of Master Upholsterers 3 stage diploma and it's been a fantastic bolt on to my training.
Ollie is extremely generous with his knowledge and his own work has a really nice contemporary style which fits with the type of upholstery I like to do, because of this I felt really confident that his advice would result in the type of finish I wanted and it did!
susie stanway - - #23564
I would recommend taking the 2-day or 5-day courses to really give yourself the time needed to upgrade antique furniture. Having said that, the one day course is fully comprehensive, and teaches you how to turn your old furniture into something that you will be proud to show your friends and family.
Oliver is a great teacher, all the materials are top quality (all mixed and prepared by Oliver), and the class sizes are small so you get more time to ask your own questions.
James - - #23404
I found the course superb! The amount of knowledge gained was excellent and it has helped me enormously in developing my own skills.
Ollie was tremendously helpful and knowledgeable. I would definitely go back for additional courses.
Bob Clayton - - #23403
An excellent course! I thoroughly enjoyed the day, Ollie was a great teacher, very clear tuition with lots of helpful tips and I was over the moon with my finished chair. I now feel confident enough to take on small projects at home. I'll definitely be back for a further course!
Ben Joyner - - #22488
I attended the one day Beginners French Polishing Course and I loved every minute of it. Ollie is a first class instructor with a great blend of instruction, demonstration and practical experience. The location and the studio is excellent too and containing the class to a relatively small number of participants helps to ensure great levels of tuition. I worked on a coffee table and it was astounding to see it come back to life in such a relatively small period of time. It has given me great help and confidence to work on some further items at home but I am also equally sure I may return for further tuition and help in the future. Thanks again Ollie for a great course!
Graham Phillips - - #22377
Every aspect of the day was inspirational and everyone made masses of progress and produced really astonishing work. We were shown every aspect of reinvigorating our individual pieces of furniture, transforming them from tatty, damaged bits of wood to elegant, polished pieces of art. I took in my Gran’s old side table and I think she’d be pleased. Ollie is an outstanding teacher and I look forward to attending further courses of his.
Jackie Pain - - #22374
A great one day introduction to french polishing, all hands on and working at my own pace, with guidance from a very knowledgeable tutor. Everything was explained as I went along and at the end of the day I finished the piece I had taken with me to a very good standard.
Andy Halsey - - #22345
An excellent one day course with plenty of time to work on a small piece of furniture with an end result to be proud of. Ollie spends lots of one-to-one time with each student as well as explaining each process to the whole class.
Very detailed notes which then enable students to go home with the confidence to work alone.
Sue Naismith - - #22241
A really enjoyable day's course which has given me the impetus to restore an old table. Ollie, is a friendly and knowledgeable teacher who explains the process well and helps out when needed. The links to materials and course notes make the next steps easy. An excellent introduction to french polishing and furniture restoration. Thanks Ollie.
Jon Townsin - - #22233
Ollie is a brilliant teacher very knowledgeable and his teaching style is very relaxed and informative.
I would not hesitate to recommend this course to anyone. I am going to book on the two day course later this summer
Chris Chapman - - #20467
Ollie is a brilliant teacher. The workshop is calm and spacious and well equipped. Bring a piece you want to restore and you will be amazed at what you can do in a relatively short time. As an amateur restorer myself, I wanted to extend my knowledge of finishing techniques and I am very happy to now be able to practice French Polishing along with my other finishes. Thank you Ollie for a great day learning something new!
Cate Sirkett - - #19356
I thoroughly enjoyed the one day course run by Ollie. His knowledge and passion combined with an easy going style made for a very good learning environment.
I wanted to learn more about restoring old wood to its former glory and feel very well equipped now to do that.
Phil Tanebrne - - #18322
I attended the two day French Polishing class earlier this week. As a keen furniture upcycler it was great to be able to learn different techniques, Ollie showed me not only French Polishing but also how to paint furniture correctly to achieve a better, more professional finish.
I thoroughly enjoyed the course, Ollie is a fantastic tutor, patient, knowledgeable and very encouraging. I highly recommend this course and will definitely be back!
Claire Delwiche - - #17322
Really enjoyed this course and feel it’s a craft I will continue to study and enjoy. It’s a great feeling to restore /up-cycle a piece of furniture, knowing that you are doing something good for the environment and hopefully preventing more things ending up in landfill.
Ollie was a great teacher, extremely patient and knowledgeable and enjoyed learning from him.
I would offer one piece of advice to new students and that’s to find your own piece to take with you to work on. It’s nice to take something away from the course and see the result of your hard work.
I strongly recommend this course and OP Woodcraft.
Aaron perrins - - #17310
I finished the two day French Polishing course yesterday. It was a really informative few days and I managed to complete a lovely piece. I was able to also learn some restoration techniques , like restoring a broken foot and filling in and painting over a crack.
It was really nice to learn in a small group setting as we were also able to learn from each other as we tackled different challenges.
Ollie was a good teacher and was ready to answer all our questions.
Kay Lyon - - #17307
Having completed the 2 day course with Ollie and as a complete novice to woodcare I feel very confident to continue with the craft. Ollie is highly engaging and knowledgeable and was encouraging and supportive thoughout the process. This was time very well spent.
James Inglis - - #17153
I have just done the two day course with Ollie in his new work shop. It was very enjoyable and I have learnt a lot about the art of French polishing. Ollie is a very knowledgeable guy and he makes the tea! Great couple of days. thank you. Looking forward to doing other wood craft courses with Ollie 👍
Martin Osicka - - #17151
What a wonderful day from start to finish. I learnt so much and was amazed at the finish I could attain as a complete beginner! Ollie is a natural teacher that is very patient, who spends the time to explain and show all the steps necessary. He comes highly recommended! I'll be booking up for my next course with him very soon.
audrey - - #17056
I have just spent a day with Ollie, and have been amazed how much I learned, and was able to achieve, in a single day. Ollie is a brilliant tutor and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of his subject. He is patient and encouraging and has given me real confidence. I am a box-maker, and wanted to add french polishing as an option I can offer to clients in the future. I believe that I can now do that.
Paul Swan - - #17028
I attended a two day course covering French Polishing and other furniture finishes.
I completed the restoration of two pieces of furniture which I am extremely pleased with and have used the skills to restore some other pieces at home. Ollie was very helpful and patient throughout the processes and I would recommend his courses to anyone who wanted to learn the basics or improve their skills.
Robert Dick - - #16579
I attended Ollie’s one day furniture restoration course. It was a very enjoyable day, and completely transformed my piece of furniture. I now feel able to take on more projects at home, confident in the process I have been taught. Ollie is very informative, patient and supportive. He matches the pace you need, explained everything fully and demonstrated techniques clearly. A very educational and fun day.
Marie Kraus - - #16404
Attended a very enjoyable 1 day french polishing course. With Ollie's help transformed a very shabby, old hall table into something stunning! Good notes were provided and the teaching was excellent. Felt I learned enough to be confident to tackle more projects. Ollie was fully supportive at every stage of the project. He was also very good company. I would thoroughly recommend the experience!
Margaret Thompson - - #16387
I attended this course so I could add French polishing as a finish to the guitars I build. Ollie was a very good tutor and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend him if you are interested in the art of French Polishing.
James Oxley - - #16215
My friend and i did a day course with Ollie and learnt to french polish. Between us we managed to revive three pieces of furniture which we brought with us and the course was well organised, interesting and fun. We both felt we'd learnt a lot and enjoyed our day!
caroline bruce - - #16096
I attended a one day course with my husband and couldn’t have wished for a better Christmas present. I refurbished a small mirror and David a barley twist table. Ollie explained what we were to do and showed us exactly how to achieve the finish we wanted in his well equipped workshop. It was a brilliant day and has definitely laid the foundation for further projects. We hope to return for another course soon.
Kerry - - #16014
I spent a very interesting 2 days stripping and refurbishing a folding chair. The pace of progress was just right with plenty of opportunities to see how other learners were overcoming any challenges.
The calm setting and atmosphere was doubly beneficial to me as I do suffer from PTSD.
Mick Guy - - #15933
I did the one-day course with Ollie, working on a coffee table for a client of mine. As an upcycler and woodworker myself, I have asked Ollie's advice many times regarding finishes and finishing. The course was excellent, with lots of ideas, detail, knowledge shared and the finished table looked amazing. Ollie was a great host, very professional, giving me detailed notes to take away and structuring the day really well.
I can highly recommend his course whether you are a complete novice or experienced woodworker looking to top up your skills!
Andrew Smith - - #15902
I really enjoyed the 2 day french polishing course with Ollie. It was very 'hands on' and each step in the process was explained so that I knew what the result should be. I took several pieces of old and tatty furniture, and was amazed at the way they were transformed into glowing rich treasures.
Pamela Higgins - - #15900
I found the course held at Ardington interesting and rewarding. Although it was only one day I came away with a good insight into various techniques which I hope to build on in the future.
Alastair Barclay - - #15849
I recently attended a French Polishing course run by Ollie and it was by far the best and most informative course I have been on. I was given one to one tuition which meant that I learnt in one day what probably would have taken a week in a full class. Ollie tailored the course specifically for the type of furniture I wanted to work with, so instead of learning lots of things that weren't necessary, it was all relevant to me. Ollie was patient and very knowledgeable and encouraged me to ask questions if something wasn't clear. It was hugely practical and I have gone on to use what I learnt in this course on a daily basis as I now restore and sell furniture. I am so happy that I chose this course from all the many others that are out there.
Lucy Williams - - #15848
I recently attended a two day, Renovation & French polishing course with Ollie. He took the time before the course to find out what I wanted to get out of the time and I brought along two good, mid-century pieces of furniture that looked ‘wrecked’. Ollie is a brilliant tutor, he really listens, explains thoroughly, demonstrates and then encourages you to try it out. I couldn’t have enjoyed the days more! I got everything I wanted out of the course (and more) and have already started putting my new found skills to use. And as far as the ‘wrecked’ furniture is concerned I could not believe how they were transformed. Thank you Ollie for such a good course and looking forward to the next one.
Denise Goode - - #15847
The two day course run by Ollie which I recently attended was tremendously enjoyable and informative. It was very well planned and executed and we all benefited from a lot of patient individual attention, with everything being carefully explained and demonstrated. Can't recommend Ollie highly enough and I'm very much looking forward to my next furniture renovation course.
Caryn Paladina - - #15843
Loved the style and pace that Ollie brings to his course. He brings a wealth of knowledge and guides you through to create a beautiful finished piece. Highly recommended
Ingrid keary - - #15838
I thoroughly enjoyed the two day French polishing course. Ollie is a perfectionist, and an excellent and very patient tutor. At every stage Ollie explained what needed to be done, showed how to do it, and then encouraged me to do it myself to a high standard. I am now the proud owner of two beautiful inherited antique chests of drawers, rather than just neglected heirlooms!
Janet McNeill - - #15835
Course dates are flexible; please get in touch for the next available date.
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