Furniture making SKILLS WEEK - Essential cabinetmaking hand skills - 5 days in East Sussex



The Cabinetmaking Skills Week is the course you’ve been waiting for. If you’re a complete beginner this will give you the perfect grounding; if you’ve been woodworking for a while, this will be a great tune-up, sorting out any bad habits and reinforcing fundamental skills. Everything in Woodwork is based on Sharpening so this is the initial focus. You must have a sharpening system at your fingertips that works for you; we will look at angles, the exotic and not so exotic steels used for blades, high speed grinders, water-cooled grinders and bench stones. You will learn a method of sharpening freehand, but you will also learn how to use honing guides – it’s quite OK if freehand honing remains an aspiration for the moment. Western dovetailing and cross-cut saws are great to use, but they also need to be super-sharp for accurate work, so we’ll look at sharpening a Dovetail Saw too. Planing, Sawing and Chiselling are the three critical elements needed for shaping and jointing bits of wood together so you will be given some good solid technique and exercises to help you practice and conquer these vital skills. Setting up a plane to take gossamer-thin shavings, planing strategies to deal with misshapen pieces of timber, chopping and paring to a knife line with a chisel and bringing a bit of Zen into sawing to make it a focused, precise process. To see how things are progressing you will prepare and join several pieces of wood together to make a cheese-board, this will give you a chance to get some calm, composed gluing under your belt, adding some tapered chamfers with a wonderful ‘finesse tool’, the spoke-shave, will complete this little project. Jointing pieces of wood together is what woodwork is all about so we’ll cut some simple dovetails and mortice and tenons, combining this with a bit of plough pane work for some grooves and adding a bottom will complete an elegant ‘Water Biscuit Box’ to perfectly compliment your board. What will you learn: * Sharpening – fool-proof systems that produce razor-sharp blades * Preparing a plane – fettling and setting up for gossamer-thin shavings * Planing strategies – producing super flat wood with a mirror surface * Chiselling – techniques for safe, accurate chopping and paring * Sawing – Japanese and Western saws need different techniques to get the best out of them and Sawing is the key skill for cutting accurate dovetails * Making friends with a "Finesse" tool - cutting a tapered chamfer with a Spokeshave * Cheeseboard Exercise – Planing and gluing with some simple cramping tactics and a hand-cut chamfer * A vital joint - simple through dovetails – sawing and chiselling practice to make this hugely important, elegant joint. * Another vital joint - through, wedged mortice & tenon – another classic joint, the perfect way to make any frame, cut by hand. * The plough plane – a hand-cut groove avoids screaming routers and makes you smile. * Box exercise – Combining all the tools and techniques – this simple dovetailed box exercise is the perfect way to check progress.

What's included in the price?

The workshops are open from 8am until 7pm. Teaching hours are from 8.30am - 6pm giving the maximum value for money. All courses are taught by John Lloyd All tools and materials are provided. Students may wish to bring protective clothing and should wear sensible footwear. Tea and coffee are provided. Students are recommended to bring a packed lunch, or if they prefer there is a sandwich shop, village shop and pub a short drive away. We are always happy to help if you require assistance finding local accommodation.


5 days

Cancellation policy

Non-refundable - Refunds are not available


Over the 35 years I have been running a successful bespoke furniture making and antique restoration business, I have become passionate about passing on the skills and knowledge through my Woodworking School. We have designed a range of educational long and short courses that have traditional hand skills at their core, the key requirement being simply enthusiasm and a thirst for knowledge.

Suitable for

  • Adults
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Daytime (weekdays)
  • Parking provided
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Bankside Farm, Ditchling Common, Burgess Hill, East Sussex, RH15 0SJ