French Polishing & Woodcare - Beginners Course - 1 Day



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.

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?

All sundries needed to polish are provided. The furniture needs to be provided by the student.


Oliver Piepereit at OP Woodcraft


77a Northwick Business Centre
Blockley, Moreton-in-Marsh
GL56 9RF

Suitable for

  • Accommodation offered
  • Adults
  • Advanced/pro level
  • Corporate days out & team building
  • Engagement, birthdays & anniversaries
  • Hearing impaired
  • Hen dos
  • Intermediate level
  • Parking provided
  • Public transport
  • Seniors
  • Stag dos
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Teenagers
  • Tutor can travel
  • Vision impaired
  • Wheelchair users


7 hours (9:30am to 4:30pm)

Platinum Badge
What does this mean?

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.


In-person course
Karen Saunsbury - - #36042

Learnt how to french polish my table Small group of 4 people in the workshop a very easy going atmosphere
Ollie explained everything very clearly and checked each step as we worked
A lot of advice about products and how to continue projects at home
Would highly recommend

In-person course
Suzanne - - #35686

As a total novice to any sort of furniture restoration or care this was the ideal day for me! Oliver was increasingly patient and reassuring throughout the day as he shared his knowledge and skills. His workshop is fascinating, and a really relaxed environment to enjoy a day of creativity and learning.

In-person course
Ann Carter - - #34438

A really excellent day with excellent but relaxed tuition. Amazing what you can achieve. Would throughly recommend a day course & can’t wait to do 2 days.

In-person course
Kerry Davis - - #33794

Fantastic Christmas gift, I was very much a beginner in this field, I spent one day learning with Ollie and can’t wait to go back and learn more. It was great fun, very informative and I felt like I could go home and achieve similar results. My mahogany box is beautiful and feels like silk! I can’t stop looking at it!

In-person course
Julie Curran - - #33215

I had a fantastic day with Ollie. He told me french polishing was a bit of a rollercoaster and he was right. Throughout the course of the day we transformed the £20 table I bought at a junkshop into a really beautiful looking piece. I could never have believed we would accomplish so much in a short space of time. Ollie is knowledgeable, patient and easy going at the same time. I will be rebooking!! Thanks Ollie.

In-person course
Sophie - - #32883

I have just done Ollie’s one day French Polishing course and I’m amazed that we managed to turn a very scruffy set of library steps into something glowing, polished and beautifully coloured in one day. I’ve learnt lots and come away with a comprehensive list of the equipment and steps I would need to attempt another piece at home. I would recommend taking something with fewer visible sides to finish than a set of steps if doing a one day course as it was a lot to get done in a day.

In-person course
Hannah - - #30742

This was an excellent course. I am a complete beginner but feel like I have come away with some really useful knowledge of how to start refinishing some bits of furniture! I was able to complete a small coffee table during the one day course and am so pleased with the result! Ollie was very patient and so knowledgeable. I really recommend this course!

In-person course
Jennifer Hudson - - #30487

An extremely worthwhile and enjoyable one-day course, working at your own pace.

Having dabbled in ‘up-cycling’ either out of necessity or hobby from a DIY perspective, French polishing is the one area that has always eluded me.

Ollie comprehensively but gently guided us through a step by step process from stripping, standing and repairing to get the piece properly prepared, very important as this stage was for that all-important French polishing.

The whole process, and learning how to apply the French polish was extremely rewarding and the end result is now something I can confidently use on my own projects.

I would thoroughly recommend Ollie and this course to anyone. My only suggestion is, don’t be too ambitious and take along something small that you can complete in a day.

In-person course
Mel Evans - - #30335

Having completed the French Polishing course this week at OP Woodcraft, I can say that it was a fantastic learning curve. Ollie is an incredibly patient and knowledgeable teacher and because of this I feel I achieved far more than I could ever have expected. I now feel confident to use the skills I have learned during this French Polishing course in the future and can’t wait to get cracking!!!
Can’t recommend highly enough! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

In-person course
Joel Warburton - - #29992

Fantastic course by Ollie. For me, it ticked all the boxes. Ollie is extremely knowledgable but also patient and thorough with great attention to detail. Just the sort of instructor you need on these type of courses. He is also very open and happy to share commercial advice if you are interested in making this a job/paid hobby. It was also productive, Ollie tailored the day to ensure I got my piece of furniture finished and whilst learning so much along the way. I was still learning right up until the last minute of the course, and it continues, as I have just been sent a set of comprehensive notes. On top of all that it was fun and chatting with Ollie and the other student Ben made it a great day. You can tell Ollie works hard to make his training a success and it absolutely delivers. Highly recommended.

In-person course
Chris Horwood - - #29400

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.

In-person course
stephen patten - - #29161

Read more

In-person course
Peter Charles Medawar - - #29118

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.

In-person course
Mark Scadden - - #28883

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.

In-person course
Wyn - - #28523

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.

In-person course
John Byles - - #26879

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.

In-person course
Sally Stanford - - #26759

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.

In-person course
Sam - - #26523

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

In-person course
Fiona French - - #26181

Excellent course and excellent teaching

In-person course
Barbara Przybylek - - #25938

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.

In-person course
June Helps - - #25858

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.
Many thanks

In-person course
French Polishing 1 day Beginner - - #24909

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.

In-person course
Hilary Farndon - - #24680

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.

In-person course
Becky Ellison - - #23572

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!

In-person course
susie stanway - - #23564

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!

Highly recommended.

In-person course
James - - #23404

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.

In-person course
Bob Clayton - - #23403

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.



In-person course
Ben Joyner - - #22488

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!

In-person course
Graham Phillips - - #22377

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!

In-person course
Jackie Pain - - #22374

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.

In-person course
Andy Halsey - - #22345

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.

In-person course
Sue Naismith - - #22241

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.

In-person course
Jon Townsin - - #22233

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.

In-person course
Chris Chapman - - #20467

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

In-person course
Cate Sirkett - - #19356

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!

In-person course
Phil Tanebrne - - #18322

Highly recommended

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.

In-person course
Claire Delwiche - - #17322

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!

In-person course
Aaron perrins - - #17310

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.


In-person course
Kay Lyon - - #17307

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.

In-person course
James Inglis - - #17153

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.

In-person course
Martin Osicka - - #17151

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 👍

In-person course
audrey - - #17056

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.

In-person course
Paul Swan - - #17028

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.

In-person course
Robert Dick - - #16579

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.

In-person course
Marie Kraus - - #16404

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.

In-person course
Margaret Thompson - - #16387

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!

In-person course
James Oxley - - #16215

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.

In-person course
caroline bruce - - #16096

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!

In-person course
Kerry - - #16014

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.

In-person course
Mick Guy - - #15933

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.

In-person course
Andrew Smith - - #15902

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!

In-person course
Pamela Higgins - - #15900

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.

In-person course
Alastair Barclay - - #15849

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.

In-person course
Lucy Williams - - #15848

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.

In-person course
Denise Goode - - #15847

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.

In-person course
Caryn Paladina - - #15843

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.

In-person course
Ingrid keary - - #15838

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

In-person course
Janet McNeill - - #15835

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!

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