The aim is to give you a firm grounding in the fundamentals of making furniture. You will begin by learning how to make a piece of wood flat, square, and straight using a hand plane. Mastering these traditional skills will help you to achieve perfection in everything you make, whether simple or complex. The ability to achieve ‘flat, square and straight’ was the very first thing I was taught as a student and it is absolutely crucial to success in all furniture making techniques.
The key points of this course are for the beginner but it is by no means basic woodworking. We look at all the techniques intensively and in-depth to help you begin developing genuine expertise that you can draw on in the future, whether you take only this course or go on to further training.
Students will be given a grounding in:
- Using hand planes
- Sharpening and tuning hand planes
- Characteristics of timber and how to work with it
- Achieving flat, straight and square with a hand plane
- Marking tools
- Advanced sharpening of planes and scrapers for ‘difficult’ timber
- Building confidence in the use of hand tools
You will leave with your own hand-made breadboard that you will craft from locally sourced English hardwoods. Making a breadboard is not only an ideal way to practice the art of flat, square and straight but it is a really useful piece which can take pride of place in your kitchen.
To ensure individual attention, there are never more than five students.
Please note that the Fundamentals Part 1 and the Fundamentals Part 2 courses we run are not sequential (although I appreciate the name suggests this). So you can take a Part 2 course without having attended the Part 1.
If you will be redeeming a CraftCourses gift voucher on this course, the voucher code must be provided at the point of booking.
Materials included. You do not need to buy any tools or equipment, all hand tools are provided during the course.
During and following the course you will receive an extensive range of information to help you take your next steps in furniture making. For example, advice about buying and maintaining tools and details of suppliers. This will also include plans and a materials list for a project using the skills you have learned during your course to help you put your new knowledge into practice.
Access to exclusive discounts for premier tools and timber suppliers.
We provide tea and coffee throughout the course, but you will need to arrange your own lunch. I recommend that you bring a packed lunch each day. There is a microwave and fridge for preparing your own packed lunches. However, we are only a few minutes by car from Farnham town centre if you need anything.
The workshop is only a few minutes by car from the Farnham train station. There is a direct train connection to London.
If you want accommodation, there are many excellent hotels and B&Bs in the area. Please feel free to contact me if you require any assistance in finding local accommodation.
Please check our website for the availability of spaces and to book your place.
If you would like to be notified when new course dates are available, you can do so via our Newsletter, sign up via my website.
This craft course provider has been awarded Gold status for receiving 10 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.
2 days (9:00am to 5:00pm)
Next available date
28th November 2020
I had been looking for a course that covered the fundamentals of woodworking for a long time now and so was fortunate to find one both local to me but also as good as this one. For me the course had just the right balance of learning the basic skills, putting into practice what we have learnt and seeing tangible results. My thanks to Aiden and also to Mark for their patience and making the two days an interesting and wholly enjoyable course. I hope to attend future courses but for now intend on practising my new skills. I would highly recommend this course to anyone considering it.
A really excellent course and a great introduction to woodworking. I was a complete beginner and didn’t know what to expect. Aidan provided loads of support and encouragement and I was quite amazed at what we were all able to produce and learn within two days. I highly recommend the course.
I started the course as a total novice but Aidan’s teaching was outstanding. He really understood what each of us wanted to achieve and helped us to achieve our aims. I came out with an example of a piece I never thought possible after two days. I have signed up for the next course already.
A great course, a brilliant instructor and all in a beautiful setting.
What a fantastic way to spend a weekend. If you are (like me) curious about woodwork or want to start a new career, this is ideal. It's pitched at the beginner and you are taken through the basics, expertly and safely. The pace of the course was spot on, which allowed everyone to go at their own pace. Aiden is very knowledgeable and is always open for questions and queries. The workshop is set in a perfect location looking across towards the North Downs Way.
I can't wait for the next series of courses to become available so I can book myself on these. Highly recommend anyone with an interest in woodwork to complete this course.
Really interesting and informative course for a beginner delivered in a very relaxed environment. Excellent introduction to fundamental techniques. Whether you are just a curious beginner or thinking about a longer term commitment, I can't think of a better way to start.
Great weekend. I learnt so much over the weekend, all within a relaxed supportive and environment. The project allowed me to focus my skills and gradually enhance over the weekend. I would definitely recommend to anyone who wants level up from YouTube videos.
What a great way to spend a weekend. I never thought I’d say that about being stuck in a workshop for two whole days, one of which was spent planing the side of a piece of ash to within a 0.1mm tolerance. As a completely novice woodworker I must say I absolutely loved it. The teaching and guidance was spot on and the pupils likeminded and enthusiastic. Wood (sic) recommend wholeheartedly.
I can’t rate this course highly enough for anyone, like me, who is looking to get into woodworking but needs to get to grips with the basics first. Aidan is very knowledgable, patient and also exacting - I wouldn’t have thought I’d be working to within 0.1mm after a few hours - and has an obvious passion for his craft. I’ll be back for the next course as soon as I have the time.
This was a great course, it was really interesting learning how to do some of the woodworking basics properly. Aidan was an extremely good teacher and gave lots of additional information throughout the course. Highly recommended.
Great course.. Blew away the myths that had been ingrained all those years ago in school woodwork. With the right tools, sharpened, and set up the right way.. and patience, it can be done! Flat and square.... For me, that was a victory. This is a great introductory course. Taking time to understand the materials, and more importantly the tools, and how to set them correctly is as it says... fundamental. Aidan is a great mentor.. his relaxed approach, combined with a huge knowledge, and a clear enthusiasm for his work means its an easy environment to learn in. I'd definitely recommend this as a starting point for anyone that thinks they have an interest in woodworking. It may get expensive with a new workshop fit out :o), but to I'm going back for Fundamentals, part 2 as soon as I can...
A great course & well run by Aiden.
The bulk of the course is how to sharpen, set up and use a hand plane combined with lots of other helpful tips around selecting wood, choosing tools to meet a budget and lots of other incidentals.
I'm now looking forward to the next course.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Fundamentals of Furniture Making two day course in March. Aiden was very welcoming and his enthusiasm for, and knowledge of, the subject was both impressive and inspiring. The tools and set up of the workshop were of a very high quality and you benefit from a lot of one on one assistance throughout the course.
I found that by the end of the second day I had learnt a lot and to have a finished piece was really rewarding. I would recommend this course to anyone who has an interest in learning more about fine furniture making.
I attended the fundamental course , part one at the end of February for two days and thoroughly enjoyed my time at Aidan's workshop. He is a very skilful and patient tutor explaining all aspects of what is involved in the weekend project and giving very good practical demonstrations . I shall definitely be returning for more courses as soon as possible and I would recommend Aidan and his training course to anyone . I had very limited carpentry, furniture making knowledge before going on this course but never felt out of my depth in his workshop at all .
I attended the fundamentals part 1 course and thoroughly enjoyed the whole weekend.
Aiden is hugely knowledgable/helpful and a great teacher. We learned lots of skills and techniques needed to begin fine furniture making from planing and cutting to precise measuring and finishing.
As well as the info expected from the course Aiden also teaches you about other important parts of fine furniture making including finding and selecting wood, buying and maintaining tools and anything else you would like to know more about.
I cannot recommend this course highly enough, if you have an interest in learning about fine furniture making then Aiden is the man to see!
I recently completed the 2 day course and echo the views of all the other reviews; the course is excellent and well worth doing for anyone who holds an interest in woodworking (or fancies trying something new). Aidan has clearly put a lot of thought into structuring the course to ensure that it covers key skills and so that participants leave with the practical knowledge to enable them to undertake projects of their own. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the work I was able to produce with Aidan's guidance and will certainly be planning to take further classes with Aidan in the future, as well as pursuing my own projects. There is a good balance of practical 'learning by doing' with explanations of important considerations when undertaking your own projects. A highly recommended course.
I attended Aiden's 2 day course in October and it is first class. You do not have to have any prior experience to do this course. All you need is the interest. Aiden explains everything carefully, is a good teacher, demonstrates well, is patient and you will get hands on experience very early on the first day. He spends time with each person on the course and keeps an eye on each person's progress. He is also generous with his time. As another reviewer has said he really is a lovely guy. He clearly is very skilled and has an infectious enthusiasm for his subject. I was amazed that with his teaching I could produce a smooth square piece of work to very fine tolerances. I was also amazed that I could do all this using only a hand plane and be given the confidence in using this tool to produce a beautiful finish. I learned a massive amount over the two days; not only about the techniques of using a hand plane, dismantling and reassembling it, sharpening the blade and adjusting it, but also about the differences of different timbers, how it is cut, and moisture levels. If you want a useful introduction to this craft, this is the course to go on.
The fundamentals course really covers the basics of working with a hand plane and other hand tools. Aidan teaches the techniques required to make a piece of wood flat, square and straight. This is all achieved only using hand tools and it is brilliant for anyone hoping to make furniture who doesn't have the knowledge or an extensive workshop.
I've finished the course with the confidence and basic skills to be able to attempt more complicated projects. The thorough use, sharpening and application of the plane really leaves you feeling comfortable with it
Aidan's knowledge is extensive and he is happy to share everything he knows. We picked his brain throughout the course. You leave with a smart chopping board that tests and demonstrates all the skills you have learnt. A great course and thoroughly recommended!
Well Aiden is clearly a true master of his craft. As anyone that has been on one of his courses will confirm he is a genuinely lovely bloke too, making you feel completely at ease even when faced with the seemingly daunting task of producing work to the same standard as his. I am very proud of the accuracy that with Aiden's guidance i was able to achieve, with only a few simple good quality hand tools. Over the weekend I really learnt to appreciate the characteristic nuances and natural beauty of the different types of wood provided. I would very highly recommend this course to anyone of any age and skill level who values quality and accuracy, as i have no doubt that any woodwork produced using Aiden's techniques will be treasured not only by the creator but also by many generations to come.
Having attended Aidan's 2 day course I completed a piece of work with a plane that I would not have thought I would get on with and enjoy so much. I now want one to add to my small collection of tools! The course was excellent and Aidan was professional throughout, his knowledge and skill was enlightening. He clearly loves his work and encouraged us all to achieve his high standard of craftsmanship. I encourage you to take up the challenge and attend one of Aidan's courses, you'll love it. I will be booking another course in the near future.
I attended Aiden's two day weekend course in March 2016. I did this because as a hobby I like to restore furniture and I was finding that I struggled when I came to anything structural. Most important, Aiden is an excellent trainer. He clearly is a very skilled craftsman but it doesn't always follow that skilled crafts people can put it across to students. Aiden most definitely can. He was very patient, calm and he had to be with me! I found the two day course quite intense; there was a lot to do in 16 hours but I certainly learnt the importance of ensuring my work was completely square, flat and smooth! It was also useful to learn how to use, dismantle and sharpen a plane.
Well done Aiden.
I attended a 1 week course with Aidan during November 2015 as a 25 year old looking to potentially moving into the industry. My only prior knowledge of the craft was what I had read online so I was eager to gain a realistic perspective on the craftsmanship and industry itself. Aidan's course gave me just that. I think the unique thing about this workshop is not only the authenticity, but also the personal attention given to each individual. I had a lot of questions, and I left on the Friday with everything I needed to know. Whether people want to go into this industry, take it up as a hobby or just do the course to do some much needed hands-on craftsmanship then I see no better valued scheme out there
My wife bought me a two day Fundamentals of Furniture Making Part 1 course as a birthday gift and after having had no woodwork training since school 30 years ago I was a little nervous about what to expect. I needn't have been as Aidan is a really friendly and encouraging teacher, freely sharing his incredible knowledge and experience and with only a small group of pupils on each course he has the time to help each person individually as and when needed.
My thanks to Aidan for an incredible course and I will be booking further courses with him - my ability with a hand plane after just two days amazed me which is down to Aidan's ability to pass on a very small fraction of his obvious skill and passion for his craft.
I went for a weekend part one introduction course and it was wonderful. It was my first foray into furniture making and Aiden was a fantastic teacher. He explained steps easily, and really made sure we understood the key concepts very well. I would recommend him to anyone that is interested in furniture making, and I am looking forward to coming back to do part two when I get the opportunity.
I attended the 5-day version of this course, which was at a more leisurely pace and included a lot more background information, such as types of wood, saw cuts, finishing and buying tools. The workshop and equipment has clearly been thoughtfully set up, with each student having their own set of good-quality tools. We were a small group allowing Aidan to spend plenty of time with each of us. I had a great time and was amazed at the quality of my breadboard, despite no experience or apparent skill. Aidan is a great teacher who is clearly in love with his vocation and an inspiration to all.
I did a 5 day introduction fundamentals course with Aiden towards the end of last year (2015). I hadn't really done any carpentry before but really enjoyed the course and gained a really good understanding of everything covered on the course. I hope to attend some of Aiden's other courses. He's a great teacher and a really nice person to spend some time with. I would highly recommend doing any of Aiden's courses.
My weekend working with Aiden was an illuminating woodworking experience.
On Saturday morning we were given a rough 2" slab of Ash which apparently we were going to turn into a square, flat beautiful bread board using only hand tools !
On Sunday evening when i looked at the exquisite mirror like finish of the board i just thought to myself 'if i'd been shown this on Saturday morning and was told that i'd be making it, i just wouldn't have believed it was possible'.
Would recommend this course to anyone.
I attended the Part 1 course in November 2014 and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Aiden is clearly an expert in his field but freely shares his extensive knowledge with enthusiasm and humour. I am in my late 40's and had not turned my hand to any carpentry since school but came away confident that I could do what the course had set out to teach me. I fully expect to attend all of Aiden's other course offerings.
I had the pleasure of attending a woodworking course in September 2015. I'm a DIYer and I needed to improve my skills to undertake a big project at home. During the weekend we looked at the skills I needed and also planned the best way to tackle my project. Aidan was flexible in allowing me to structure what we focused on to most beneficial. Aidan is a great teacher and a real craftsman with what can be achieved in woodwork. Highly recommend a course with Aidan to anyone looking to improve their skills.
I was very fortunate to spend time learning from Aidan in his Farnham workshop in March 2015. Aidan is an enthusiastic and generous teacher and I left the course with confidence and motivation to apply the hand and machine skills I learned and practised to the projects I already have under way. Aidan clearly enjoys sharing his expertise and experience with students and has none of the preciousness often noticeable with professional designer/makers. His is down-to-earth, excellent training from a world-class furniture maker (google his exquisite cherry and walnut, crocus-inspired coronation table on display in Buckingham Palace!) If I have the chance to do more woodworking training in the future, I will not consider training anywhere else. Thank you, Aidan!
I attended Fundamentals of Furniture Making, Part 1. The two day course was very informative and practical. Aidan is a great tutor who has vast carpentry knowledge and made the course very fun. It has inspired me to continue my hobby further and I have already booked onto the second part of the course.
I attended the fundamentals part 1 course last year and I enjoyed it so much I came back to the workshop recently to achieve fundamentals part 2. I wouldn't have considered doing it anywhere else, Aidan is such an amazing teacher! Not only skilled and passionate but also very patient and attentive.
Aidan adapts very well to the different levels of skills and speed from his students; whether you know little or a lot, you will never feel left out or set back. I have myself hardly any experience in wood working and chose to do the weekend courses which turned out to be quite intensive but so much worth it!
The courses are thoughtfully designed and unveil a series of techniques and tools for you to progress and achieve levels of refinement you would have never thought you would be capable of!
You will be going home with lots of tips and a fine piece of furniture you can be proud of!
It's hard work and I ended up sore and blistered.... But so worth it. Aiden was fantastic at getting across a real understanding of what you're trying to achieve and the theory behind it. I had little previous experience in woodworking but still think I gained a lot from this course. Would highly recommend! Plus I have a lovely handmade chopping board!
When Aidan told us what we were going to achieve using just a No 7 plane I was sceptical to say the least; not because I didn't believe it could be done but as a complete novice I didn't believe I could be taught to complete the piece in just two days. I have never been so happy to be proved wrong! Aidan is a true craftsman and with such a love of his craft that it's impossible not to be inspired. He's a fantastic teacher and the weekend is extremely well formed. I can't wait to join the next course.
Excellent good fun and came out with a great picture frame.
Some hard work is required and a lot of is crammed into a class. Since the course my tool box has grown heavily and I just wish I had a space to practice more at home.
There are many things to learn on the course, many of which are tacit skills. Like seeing and experiencing different tools and workshop methods.
There is a definite emphasis on skills to finish more precise quality work for cabinet making over other forms of carpentry.
This was the first woodworking course I'd ever attended, so all I have to compare to are the innumerable work-related courses (both compulsory and voluntary) that I went to before I retired.
The really good thing about this course is Aidan himself. He's knowledgeable, friendly, supportive, and really works hard to make sure each individual pupil on the course gets tuition that is tailored to the person's abilities.
I'm looking to attend part 2 of the course, when I can fit it in to what looks like being a very busy year.