Oneday woodcraft course - learn to carve a wooden spoon.
The last course of the year will be held in Hamstead Marshall Village hall on November 18th
Spend a day in my woodland workshop learning to craft functional spoons from green (freshly felled) timber. No experience is necessary but we will be using hand tools all day so you need to be physically fit, all tools and materials are provided in the cost of the course. The venue is 5 miles from Newbury in Berkshire in a small private woodland site.
We'll cover timber selection, cleaving, using a carving axe, spoon design, using a knife safely and efficiently as well as using a curved spoon knife.
I can cater for up to groups of 5 people. Students must be 16 or over or 15 and accompanied by a participating adult.
The course is run in a relaxed manner but there's a lot to cover so we keep the pace ticking over to enable you to finish your spoon. Most students carve a cooking spoon but the adventurous can attempt an eating spoon.
The tools you will need are all provided but I also have a selection of tools from the popular makers so there's a great opportunity to test drive tools before taking the plunge into making your first purchases. There will be an opportunity to buy tools and spoons at the end of the course.
In addition to the advertised dates I am able to offer weekday dates throughout the year.
The course is perfect for novices and those taking beginner steps in spoon carving. You'll get a good grounding in carving with an axe and knives practice and theory. For those already carving passable spoons I can offer intermediate lessons on the same basis as the beginners course to refine your techniques and design.
What's included in the price?
All tools and materials are all included in the cost of the course. You are welcome to bring your own tools.
Refreshments are served throughout the day.
Lunch is either a ploughmans in summer months or a hearty soup is on the menu at other times of the year.
You will need to dress appropriately for a day in the woods and covered footwear is essential, preferably hiking boots or similar (but steel toecaps not required).
I did a one day spoon carving course in September 2017.
Chris is a brilliant teacher, clear and knowledgeable. He explained each thing first and then again as we were doing things.
I had never used an axe before and I really enjoyed learning how to.
It was a peaceful day and Chris was relaxed, patient and encouraging, giving each of us advice as needed but not hovering or dictating. His passion is evident and inspiring.
Surroundings are beautiful and comfortable and the lunch was delicious.
Follow-up notes including tool recommendations were particularly useful.
I would have no hesitation recommending Chris to anybody interested in doing greenwood work.
I attended the course in August 2017. It was well presented & fascinating.
Chris is a bright & very friendly chap, who has put a lot of thought into developing a very interesting
( and challenging) day's tuition, held in a charming & comfortable setting.
I came away with a lot of knowledge , well set up to start my new hobby of spoon making.
This wonderful man gave us the best day in years and is singularly the best course I have ever done. Set in heavenly woodland with scrumptious hand made food this was a day we will never forget. A true artist and craftsman, his kind patience, expert knowledge of working with wood, botany, maths, nature, tools and much more, he may, along with Jay the dog have given is therapy, inspiration and confidence to change the way we live.
Thank you will never suffice.
Go as soon as you possibly can.
What a brilliant day we had, carving a spoon from what started out as a large lump of wood! A really informative and relaxing day with expert tuition from Chris, a kind and patient instructor. A lovely setting in a quiet woodland workshop with only the birdsong for distraction. Also included was a lovely lunch with homemade soup, perfect on a rainy day and a slice of cake during the afternoon break. I would highly recommend this day, all your other cares and worries disappear as you strive to produce a perfect spoon. Well, maybe not prefect when you see the delicate spoons Chris has carved, but perfect to me as my first attempt. Thank you Chris for a great day, and thank you Lainey (I hope the spelling is correct) for a tasty and filling lunch. Best wishes Sue
I have always enjoyed working with wood in the outdoors. My Wife kindly booked me on the course as a present. We lead such busy lives that with children it seemed a little extravagant to have a day to myself, but it felt like a week. No distractions, simple tools, natural material, first class instruction and good food. Kris looked after us very well, he is very knowledgeable, a patient teacher with a passion for what he does. All of us stayed beyond the course finish time which was testament to how engrossed we were and how the time passed so quickly. I would recommend the course to anyone regardless of ability, everyone should be able to master this basic life skill that harks back to a more simple way of life.
One day course in spoon carving contained all of the essential skills to create a spoon blank ready for finishing. All tools were provided and plenty of chances to use the tools given. Great lunch and even cake given.
Really great day spent outdoors at a lovely venue.
Thank you for a really enjoyable day in your woodland setting. It was a very hot day and apart from a delicious lunch, there was a welcome supply of iced drinks and ice cream throughout. Chris explained and demonstrated each step carefully. He was very patient and hands on in providing individual tuition and encouragement. There was a range of tools to try out: this was really helpful as we all had different favourites. And I came home with a spoon-very satisfying and as Chris will tell you, it is addictive!
A thoroughly enjoyable day due to Chris's relaxed and informative teaching style, coupled with learning a new skill with other novices. And most importantly the satisfaction of leaving with a carved wooden spoon which began the day as a log.
A whole day allowed sufficient time to complete the objective, while giving time to chat with others on the course and enjoying the superb homemade food/refreshments provided throughout the day.
The outside location is within a wood so has a lot of shade and is covered in case of rain - so the temperature can vary quite a lot during the day - so come prepared with layers to add/remove as necessary.
The first half of the day involves using an axe to form the basic spoon shape - focus on the technique here as otherwise your wrist will start to ache very quickly. And enjoy how such a tool used in different ways can be used to subtlely shape the wood.
And finally, in the afternoon, as you finalsie your spoon with various very sharp knives, be amazed at the skill of Chris in be able to produce a totally smooth spoon using a knife alone (no sandpaper).
A thoroughly enjoyable day, thank you Chris.
The time flew by and I have my first spoon as proof of my closely tutored handiwork, of which I am quite proud! A long way to go before the solution to family Christmas presents is achieved, but the start of a life long hobby.
Great setting, (and bird life), Mum's lunch, tea cakes, and careful patient instruction.
I strongly recommend this day to anyone who wants to learn to be creative, with wood.
Had a really fun day, thank you Chris. His approach made learning the different stages and techniques really clear and simple, and was always helpful with advice as we made our way. He's obviously very skilled but makes the seamless transition to simple, actionable advice for newbies. Have already started carving spoons in the week since the course and look forwards to making more and doing more green wood carving generally (which I'm new too). Would highly recommend. And the food (esp the chutneys but the soup too) from Chris' mum was amazing too!
I was looking forward to the day carving in the woods --and I wasn't disappointed--an excellent welcome, setting and superb teacher happy to explain everything I needed and wanted to know in a relaxing and fun manner-Thank you Chris.
I left with a spoon that reminds me of the day,good company,food and drink (thanks Chris's Mum) and probably the start of a lifelong hobby and yet another excuse to sit quietly under a tree in the woods.
The course notes that were provided are excellent too--a real 15/10 day
Well what can I say, an absolutely fantastic day.
I learnt loads and thoroughly enjoyed myself. (I didn't want the day to end)
Chris is a very patient and supportive tutor who is full of encouragement. I came away at the end of the day with a greater understanding of wood, the craft of spoon making and full of inspiration.
What a wonderful setting, so tranquil and beautiful.
A lovely lunch and plenty of cake too.
I just want to say thank you Chris, and I will be back to try the pole lathe course.
Just off to my garage to start my next spoon :)
Wow what a fantastic day and a brilliant and fulfilling course. Never thought for one minute I'd actually walk away with a recognisable spoon made by my own fair hands. Couldn't recommend this course highly enough. Set in beautiful tranquil surroundings such a satisfying way to spend a Saturday. Chris is a great teacher and very patient and giving with an endless stream of encouragement and passion for his crafts. Also to be congratulated is Chris's mum who lays on wonderful supply of tea, cake and exquisite lunch of homemade soup with a secret ingredient! We didn't want to leave and will certainly be back for more.
My daughter-in-law and I attended the one day spoon carving course on 14 May, 2016. Both of us enjoyed the course enormously - it was such a happy day and we learnt so much. Sophia has finished her spoon (and has started on another) but I am still working on mine! Our thanks to Chris for introducing us to such an enjoyable pastime.
Just had to write a review to commend this brilliant course. My husband and I are both still buzzing from the highs of coming home with our very own spoony produce after a totally enjoyable & creative day with Chris in his woodland haven. We can already feel that his gentle but greatly informative teaching has lit a spark that will grow into a roaring flame of passion for this new creative avenue. Thank you Chris for sharing your knowledge and patience with us.
Our gratitude must also extend to Chris's Mum for providing fabulous fare throughout the day. It was all delicious (if totally diet-busting!). Our tums thank you, Mrs Allen!
I have always wanted to whittle and after researching into what was on offer, I found Chris' course. What can I say - it was so great from start to finish. From the surroundings, to the lunch and afternoon tea and most importantly to Chris' instruction and guidance. Chris certainly knows his stuff and his love for the craft of woodworking certainly shines through and makes the day whizz past, and he gives you the enthusiasm to carry on and learn more about whittling and woodcraft. I would highly recommend this days course, and is great value for money for what you get. And I ended up with a spoon made by on own fair hand, of which I am extremely proud.
Chris is an excellent teacher who packs a huge amount of knowledge into 1 day.I can highly recommend this ,either as a gift for someone special or as a special day for yourself-I'm sure you will enjoy it !
I signed up for a spoon carving day with Chris because I spend all day at a desk in an office and wanted to get outside and learn a practical hands-on skill. I had visions of whittling away the long winter evenings producing wonderful spoons for family and friends.
The reality is that I had a really enjoyable day and came away with something that vaguely resembles a caveman's spoon but of which I am inordinately proud. Thanks to Chris's instruction I also have a basic understanding of the tools and skills needed to pursue this very interesting and absorbing hobby and a realisation of how much more there is to learn. Chris was a great teacher - patiently showing me each technique and providing a variety of tools to try out. Based on my experience I will be asking for a few tools from Santa so I can continue my training at home.
I spent a full 8 hours with Chris - punctuated by regular brews and a delicious lunch - and the thing that most struck me was that the time completely flew by (I suspect the day seemed rather longer for him!). If you are in any way tempted by this course then I would say "just do it" - you won't regret it.
My Wife booked this course and also booked my Dad and Son in as a special treat. All in all it was a fabulous day and we all learnt a tremendous amount. What was particularly impressive was that Chris managed to help my Dad produce a spoon even though he struggled with arthritis in his hands and also kept my 15 year old interested and engaged for the entire day.
I am pleased to say that I have already used some of the skills at home which is excellent to come away with some confidence.
Chris really is an excellent teacher and is able to explain the wood and the tools and how to manipulate them to come away with a priceless possession (albeit a rudimentary spoon which is still functional!). There is definite spoon envy when you see the spoons that Chris produces for sale at markets, something to undoubtedly aspire too.
This review would not be complete without reference to Chris's Mum who produced the most stupendous soup, chutneys, sausage rolls and lemon drizzle cake. It was this sustenance that helped keep the day going so well.
I will most certainly be looking to undertake a bit of an advanced course in the near future.
Great fun, great experience and great people.
I had my first spoon carving experience with Chris in August, and I have to say that it was a thoroughly enjoyable day. Chris obviously knows his stuff when it comes to working with wood, and he shows a great passion and enthusiasm while he's teaching. He'll explain and show you all of the various chopping and carving techniques that you'll need to know, while letting you work at your own pace until you get the hang of things.
If you've never done anything like this before I would highly recommend it.
I attended a days course with Chris in July 2015. It was an excellent day of one to one tuition learning to carve a wooden spoon. Chris is very knowledgable and enthusiastic about wood, wood working and bush craft and that comes across in his teaching. During the day Chris patiently helped me carve a spoon, showing me the techniques and especially the safety aspects when working with sharp tools.
Throughout the day tea and coffee were available along with a lovely ploughman's for lunch and tasty cake in the afternoon.
Would thoroughly recommend the day as a complete novice. I learnt lots and gave me the knowledge to go it alone. Thank you.
I attended one of Chris's one day spoon carving courses and LOVED every second of it! The woodland setting is beautiful, the course is excellent, Chris is a genuinely lovely guy with a natural teaching ability and made the day informative, interesting and fun! At lunchtime there was a really lovely ploughman's lunch followed by cake later on. By the end of the day I left with a spoon that I had carved myself, my head was buzzing with hints and tips that Chris passed on and I was even able to buy the knife and spoon hook knife from Chris to start me off with my tool kit. Worth EVERY penny, don't hesitate just book! :)
Had a wonderful day. Really enjoyed making my spoon from scratch and learning how to use the tools to shape a lump of wood into a respectable spoon shape. Chris was really helpful and encouraging, offering alternative methods if I was struggling with any processes. I was completely absorbed all day, and am seriously considering trying it as a hobby at home. The setting was beautiful, the food just right and I left (clutching my spoon) feeling relaxed and happy. I thoroughly recommend this course.
The surrounding countryside is really pretty, we stayed locally the night before and walked a few miles along the Kennet canal.
Had a great day with Chris, spoon carving in his woods. I felt welcome and at ease, with Chris being a very friendly guy.
I learned some very useful techniques and gained some more ideas on what can be achieved, with various tools and wood.
Chris has also opened my eyes up to what other types of woodland craftwork that can be learned/enjoyed.
A really enjoyable and informative day, that I would recommend to anyone interested in woodland crafts.
I went on a one day spoon carving course 23/05/2015.
As soon as I arrived Chris made me feel comfortable and relaxed. (he is a truly nice guy)
The setting is beautiful and relaxing.
Chris is a very good teacher and I learnt a lot of new techniques with different tools on different wood's (you get to choose any type of wood to use).
lunch which was included a home made ploughman's plus afternoon cake homemade Was very nice and tasty.
I can and would highly recommend going on any of chris's courses, I had an amazing day and it was Chris himself that made it such a great day.
Chris and I have been chatting for a while on a wood carving forum and he's always been unbelievably helpful, but there's only so much information that can be passed through a computer.
Spending a day with Chris was not only fantastic fun but the amount of new and improved skills I now have is amazing. Everything was covered from sharpening my tools back to a forge sharpness, chopping block work and design, wood choice, axe work, knife work and many more things. As per everyone else the food was as perfect as the scenery and even the February temperatures didn't dull spirits. I've definitely noticed an improvement in my designs and finished carvings.
I'm looking forward to the weekend course Chris will be running later in the year and will be booking myself in for more carving fun.
For anyone who wants to begin carving all the way up to turning a hobby into a business, Chris can teach the relevant skills required.
I spent most of the day with Chris going through sharpening skills after which we moved on to making a spoon. Chris has a wealth of knowledge which he is only too happy to share with others. The day was very relaxing yet at the same time, very focused. Chris gave me the opportunity to try out some of his own carving tools which enabled me to make a decision on which ones to buy. I came away having learnt a huge amount for a one-day course. Together with a hearty lunch, it was a fantastic day which I can highly recommend.
My sister and I attended this course in July. Chris is very knowledgeable and passionate about his craft. We both thoroughly enjoyed being taught by him, he made us feel relaxed as he has a very patient easy going nature.
Refreshments were always on hand and the lunch was excellent.
Chris was recommended to me by another spoon carver I contacted, and I did his introductory course in September 2014.
The course was in a cosy wooded area, looking out onto a maize field, down a quiet country lane. I decided to walk there from Kintbury station, and Chris was helpful with directions.
He began by asking what I hoped to make in the day (what kind of spoon, and if I wanted to concentrate on making just one, or push to make two) and then took me through everything step-by-step. He encouraging me to do everything myself, and showed me how to use the different tools by demonstrating on other pieces of wood, rather than taking over.
I did this on my day off from my office job and it was a great decision; I had a really physically tiring, but mentally refreshing day, and came home with a spoon which I'm really pleased with. (I want to use it, but I'm still enjoying looking at it.)
There was as much tea as I could have hoped for, and a fantastic ploughman's lunch.
Chris kindly offered to give me a lift back to the station so that I didn't have to leave as early as I had originally intended, in order to could still catch the train I needed.
Since then I've bought a set of tools (going by Chris's recommendation) and attempted to make more spoons. Spoon carving is far more complicated than I would ever have imagined, but with what I learnt on the day I feel competent enough to try on my own.
I'd really recommend the day, especially if you've never done anything like this before. Travel from London is easy, the area is beautiful, and Chris is very helpful and friendly.
We (myself and my partner) attended a one day spoon carving course on 22nd June 2014.
The location of the course was in a small copse with a shelter, camp fire and some comfortable chairs to take a break in. Chris has a very easy going nature, and made us feel immediately at ease. He was very patient with us throughout the day, guiding and encouraging us all the way.
During the day tea/coffee/juice was always available with the former being boiled on the campfire - keeping it real :). Lunch was of a hearty ploughman's style.
The day went so quick, and felt a great sense of achievement as we proudly showed off our new spoons. This was a thoroughly worthwhile day, and even if this sort of thing isn't what you would normally do, its still worth the experience. So yes I would recommend speaking to Chris and arranging a days carving or turning in the woods.