About the Course
Please check my website (click the view website button on this page) for availability and to book online. If you have a Craft Courses voucher you want to spend please send me details (voucher code and value) so I can verify it and let you use it on my booking system. - Thanks.
This course is designed for adults only, you must be 18 or older to attend – unless you’ve made a specific arrangement with me.
Please note courses in 2019 increase in cost to £80 per day.
Suitable for beginners or those who’ve carved before and want to improve. We’ll cover safe carving technique with axe and knife and the main thing will be plenty of time to practice your skills. We will make a butter spreader or spatula in the morning and a cooking or serving spoon in the afternoon.
In Spring and autumn the courses run in a beautiful yurt in an orchard. There is parking about 50 yards from the yurt which is across a grassy field. There are steps up into the yurt. There is a wood burning stove in the yurt so we'll keep warm on chilly days. In January and February we move indoors at the Community Workshop in Nailsworth and in the summer I teach at the Woodyard on an organic farm near Tetbury.
If booking with a CraftCourses voucher for part or all of the course fee, please fill in the contact form above or telephone us. Your voucher code must be provided at the point of booking.
What's included in the price?
All tools and wood are provided but you’re weclome to being your own tools if you have them.
Teas, coffee and flapjack provided. Bring a packed lunch. Full joining instructions will be emailed nearer the course date.
I learned so much at the one day Learn to Carve Spoons course with Dave. I had carved about half a dozen spoons before the course, but really needed some proper instruction. Dave quickly got us all using an axe to shape out a butter spreader, which we then finished off using several knife techniques that he showed us. We then used the skills we had learned to make a spoon. At all times Dave kept us working safely, but we were able to work on our spreader or spoon at our own pace. Lots of lovely tea breaks kept us refreshed! I learned so much during the day in the yurt, and Dave's info-packed follow up email was much appreciated too. Thank you Dave, I hope to carry on improving and maybe see you at an improvers class one day!
Katy Greene - - #18621
This was a first class course delivered by Dave Crockett, who has a relaxed teaching manner. The course syllabus covered all aspects of basic spoon carving, together with the appropriate safety and axe and tool techniques. The course make-up had various experience levels, but Dave was able to offer advice for all to follow precisely. He was very aware of the pace and timings, insisting on breaks were necessary. This course has furnished me with the appropriate information and skills for me to confidently produce a good level of carving. Many thanks Dave.
George Paton - - #18545
I spent a wonderful Saturday learning how to carve a spoon out of a log with Dave and the other people on this course. Dave has a genuine passion for the craft and his insight and detailed instruction is ideal for anyone starting out in green woodworking. The course has provided me with a positive introduction to the craft and I'm itching to make my next spoon!
Robert John Lester - - #18132
Dave really knows his stuff and ran a really relaxed, funny and insightful course. It was a really pleasant day spent with a great group of people, if you want to learm about spoon making, this is the perfect course.
Ben - - #18120
Dave’s calm, gently humorous approach created a friendly atmosphere and made sure everyone felt at home.
The course was filled with information from the safe use of sharp tools to how to read the grain of your log. Dave is clearly very knowledgable spoon carving and all other aspects of green woodworking.
At the end of the day I came away with 2 spoons and a great deal of knowledge to propel me forward in my spoon carving adventure.
Ted Waldron - - #18074
The beginners spoon carving course with Dave was excellent. Skills were built up in a very logical way, with the opportunity to learn and practice a good variety of axe and knife carving techniques. Dave always provided more and less complicated options depending on students level of experience, and explained all learning points thoroughly. The day was great fun as well as educational, took place in a lovely setting and the home made flapjacks were an excellent bonus addition!
Kate Jennings - - #17434
Dear Dave, sorry I'm so late with this review - it just slipped my mind. I really enjoyed the day which was very well planned and presented. Just enough to be challenging without being overwhelming. I certainly learned a lot and would like to come to another of your classes sometime. I have sanded down the spoon and butter-spreader and they really look quite aesthetic. (I filled the hole in the spoon with Araldite which looks a bit odd but works!)
christopher hallpike - - #17352
Covered a huge amount on the course but the pace never seemed too fast or to slow. Quite an achievement given we had a mix of students some of which had no woodworking experience at all and others who been professional cabinet makers!
Left me feeling confident I could (on my own) start on some spoon carving projects with a good chance of producing an acceptable product success without losing any fingers 😊
Ross Friend - - #17082
I've long looked forward to my spoon carving course with Dave Cockcroft, and it was a brilliant, informative and fun day, despite the cold and (mostly) wet weather. Dave's regular infusions with hot tea and coffee and with his homemade flapjacks, as well as the pleasant company of the other learners, made for a really enjoyable day. I had done a little spoon carving before, but Dave taught me new techniques and tool uses. I came away realising how much I still need to learn, but at the same time rearing to get on with carving so as to improve my spoons, even though it is doubtful that I ever get the quality of the spoons he made and showed us as examples.
Top day, top teacher, top value for money!
Ecky Prolingheuer - - #17075
I thoroughly enjoyed my day with Dave Cockcroft at the Woodyard near Tetbury.
I learned some great skills, all of which I’ll hopefully apply and improve on as my interest in wood carving continues.
The venue was as expected for this kind of course, the welcome was warm, and the day well structured.
I felt at ease with Dave, as he has a wonderful teaching style, that allows you a free reign , but at the same time watches over you in case you slip up, or doing something that might ruin your work.
Overall, I had a great day, and would totally recommend this course, if like me you’re a beginner, or even a seasoned manipulator of wood....there’s something for all.
Steve Bradford - - #17029
Great guidance managed to produce a reasonable spoon and no injuries! Amazed at the fine detail possible with an axe and hard to stop trying to improve the effect even when we were really finished. A fantastic introduction to spoon carving, or to hand carving in general. Great guidance on tools and their maintenance too.
Graham Urquhart - - #16074
My wife and I attended on the 26th of May at Tetbury, lovely location and peaceful. Very relaxed and enjoyable teaching from Dave. Even as a complete novice, there was something for everyone. Group size is ideal which gives very personal attention. Lots of tea and homemade goodies.
i'm sure we'll find excuse to return.
p.s apologies for the late review
adrian stew - - #15300
Coming from Australia I wasn’t sure what to expect or what wood we might use but I Had a fantastic day with Dave. His knowledge is second to none and even though I have made spoons several times before I learnt some new tips and tricks. Dave’s course was worth every penny and I would highly recommend it.
Rachel Clarke - - #15159
Dave provided clear and easy to follow advice along with simple demonstrations. When required he helped on a one to one basis. The group was inevitably of mixed experience and he handled the different abilities easily. Additionally he created a lovely mood within the group and the location was simply beautiful. He gave clear safety instructions and he followed up the course with further help and advice by email. I would reccomend his course to everyone.
John Brough - - #14731
I can only echo the other reviews. It was an excellent day. I'll never look at another spoon in the same way again.
Annie Page - - #14303
Would thoroughly recommend this course as Dave is an excellent teacher: he breaks the skills down, teaching one element at a time ... and then almost immediately encourages you have a go ... We all practised completely new skills to create a butter knife first, so that by the afternoon we were already more confident and competent to have a go at a crafting a spoon.
All credit to Dave that everyone in the group ended up with not one but 2 items to take home.
We have since had a very useful follow-up email with extra information.
Liz - - #13936
I attended a day course on spoon carving and spent an enjoyable day with Dave at the yurt in Brookthorpe. He's an excellent teacher: patient and encouraging and the balance between tuition and demonstration was just right. The atmosphere of quiet, purposeful activity that he promotes was welcomed by all of us, I think, on a restful, yet productive day. Highly recommended.
Andrew Judge - - #13906
What an excellent teacher - a really interesting and enjoyable day - and a new, immense respect for quality wood carving! (I'm also really pleased with my 'rustic' butter knife!!)
Pippa - - #13871
I spent 2 days with Dave on this course, and I've found a new passion for carving. I was a total beginner at the start of day 1, but under his expert and patient tuition I managed to carve both a spoon and a butter spreader. At the start of day 2, we had a discussion on what I felt were my areas for development, and he focussed on those for that day. This resulted in me taking home much improved versions the second day. I would recommend this course to anyone starting out in carving, and if you can do 2 consecutive days then do it. Plus the flapjacks are as good as everyone says. Amazing course, great teacher, memories for life, thanks Dave.
Colin Ackerley - - #13658
A wonderful day in an idyllic setting! No two bodgers carve spoons in exactly the same way, and Dave has a relaxed, informative and natural way of teaching. He manages to combine total novices, and those with more experience in a single group and ensures that all receive detailed tuition and real insights on how to improve. Where better to receive such expert tuition than a warm yurt, with tea and flapjack, in an apple orchard. I would thoroughly recommend this course to anyone interested in spoon carving.
Stephen Davies - - #13399
This was a refresher course for me as I have carved a couple of spoons but not for a while.
Lovely location and venue, Dave has really great relaxed teaching techniques.
The course is run at a steady pace so everything one can keep up.
All the tool handling and cuts are very well explained and lots of one to one help if you're have a problem with a certain area.
I fully recommend this spoon course and would love to attend all over again.
Steve Maund - - #13250
I loved this course and came away with my first spoon and some very clearly taught skills to continue. Highly recommended and a delightful way to spend a day.
Loulou Brouard - - #13018
A thoroughly enjoyable and educational day. Dave delivered a first class course with excellent and well explained briefings and demonstrations covering knife and axe safety, axe and knife holds and cuts, sharpening plus much more all in a single day, without it ever feeling rushed. We were all able to produce a spreader and kitchen spoon from beautiful green wood despite any previous knowledge. The setting was amazing for such a course and we were kept well fed and watered with tea, coffee and some wonderful flapjack. Thoroughly recommended
Chris Douglas - - #12487
Really useful and informative course from Dave, I learnt so much in such a short time, excellent knowledge of the subject. Although I have done a very small amount of carving previously, Dave helped me so much with technique, position, knife grips and how to actually enjoy the process, really was a fantastic day. Second only to Dave's excellent teaching was the superb flapjack, I can now confess in having had at least five pieces, sorry Dave its just too good, ; )) Many thanks again for a very informative course, can't recommend Dave and his knowledge highly enough!
John Poulson - - #11947
A really enjoyable day. Dave is an excellent teacher - thorough and encouraging, he went through how to use the axe and knife safely. We were not rushed at all but at the end of the day all had a spreader and spoon (in various stages of completion) to take home. I would strongly recommend this course.
Dave Cripps - - #11827
I attended the beginners spoon carving course at Days Cottage, and it was an excellent day indeed. Dave covered a lot of useful stuff in the day, not only about the different holds to use for carving, but also things on sharpening tools. After covering safe use of the tools, we made a butter spreader in the morning, followed by a spoon in the afternoon. Dave was really good at checking my body position thoughout and giving advice for positioning it better for using the different holds that he showed us. I would highly recommend this course for people that have done a little carving already, as it really helps to be shown different and better ways of doing things. Plenty of breaks were built in to stop us getting too tired and injuring ourselves. Thouroughly enjoyed the day!
Pete - - #11814
Dave gives clear instructions, followed by appropriate demonstrations, then leaves you to get on with the job. However, you are soon aware that he's keeping an eye on your progress as he will always be ready to correct errors and offer advice. This is the mark of a good teacher: give people enough freedom to work at their own pace, but ensure that they can't make too many mistakes. It needs to be said that you will not get the best out of this course if a) you haven't done the beginners' course and/or b) had some recent experience of spoon-making, as Dave doesn't spend too long on revision. Learning to make eating spoons differs somewhat from making cooking spoons, and it was interesting to see the variety of spoons which can be made. This course is highly recommended.
Dave Frederick - - #11804
Good course, learning various techniques of knife use. Very knowledgeable and experienced tutor. We all made a butter-knife and then a scoopy statula thingy which gets much use in the kitchen.
John Coombe - - #11095
Fantastic day!! Dave is excellent at teaching how to carve spoons, the setting was brilliant, such a cosy yurt with log burner set in an orchard setting, I went in the colder months and the stove kept us toasty warm! I was on the day long course with about 4 other people, there was plenty of demonstration time and then lots of 1-2-1 help from Dave as you progressed through the day. There were tea breaks and lunch breaks (take a packed lunch) and we all left with carved spoons that we had created from a log! In my opinion this is one of the best courses for spoon carving and at an incredibly reasonable price!
Chris - - #11093
I enjoyed a lovely day in the countryside with Dave in the mindful pursuit of spoon carving. We were blessed with wonderful weather, which meant plenty of outdoor time until the sun got too hot, as Dave very patiently, and safely, taught us the basics of making a butter spreader in the morning and a spoon in the afternoon, all from a "lump" of wood. I was happy to go slowly, being respectful of the tools and enjoying time with the other class members. The combination of warm sunny weather, and the peace and quiet was very conducive to productive creativity, and we moved under shelter to stay cool in the afternoon - had it rained we would have been under this cover from the start. I recommend you take this course as a way to experience making something by hand under the guidance of a skilled teacher.
Stuart Hillston - - #11081
What a happy, informative, friendly atmosphere.
Dave Cockcroft is a master craftsman and has an exceptional talent for sharing his skill.
Gabriela Cartwright - - #11063
I attended Dave's spoon carving course at the wonderful surrounds of Days Cottage. The course was superb, perfectly balanced for the skills of the group yet allowing everyone the chance to work at their own pace. Dave's manner of teaching is highly informative and yet presented in a relaxed manner that encourages you to ask questions and engage with the group. I highly recommend Dave's courses, just beware, you'll be eying every tree as a potential spoon!
Matt Frederick - - #11032
I thoroughly enjoyed my day and felt a great sense of achievement. Dave is a patient and knowledgeable teacher who gently offers advice. I will be booking up for another course.
Sue - - #11014
Really enjoyed the course - Dave creates a friendly positive atmosphere. The day was well planned, covered all aspects and has set me off as a keen independent amateur spoon carver.
Helen Brent-Smith - - #11009
Dave's spoon carving course is excellent. I was shown safe working practices with the axe for roughing out a blank, and with the knife for finishing. I would highly recommend the course to anyone wanting to learn the art of spoon carving.
Adam Jacobs - - #10989
I'd done a bit of spoon carving before, but I thoroughly enjoyed using the axe to make the first stages this time. It gave me confidence to make kindling this summer! And I made the biggest spoon ever!
Dee Jarlett - - #10986
What a fantastic workshop! So much learning, packed effortlessly into a relaxed and spacious programme. Loved Dave's style, which was methodical and thorough, with plenty of awareness of safety and best practice and of our own limitations as (mostly) beginners, yet his guidance was expressed with lightness and humour and never in a way which might have cramped our style or reduced our confidence. Instead we were inspired from the first moment to believe that this unlikely skill was something we could easily learn with practice. And indeed, we did all have something to take home at the end of the day!
We started with learning to use the tools properly: hand axe, carving knife and finally the bent knife for the spoon bowls. We practised a whole series of different cuts and strokes and then got to work on carving a butter spreader, which we had done by lunchtime (and which I now use every day!). In the afternoon we made our first spoons, which in my case needed a bit more work at home afterwards to finish - made possible by Dave's support extending to advising on and sourcing suitable tools for us to purchase.
One warning though: this hobby is highly addictive! None of us wanted to stop at break times (which Dave wisely insisted on, to avoid slipping concentration leading to accidents) and now a month later I still can't stop spoon carving even when it's raining outside, so my house is full of wood shavings!
Graham Timmins - - #10985
I really enjoyed my day in the yurt learning spoon carving with Dave. I had some familiarity with the primary tools already, but Dave took us all - beginners and improvers - on a nicely paced introduction or refresher on safe but effective techniques for knife and axe. This lead on to carving a butter-spreader, mostly as a training exercise but at least one student did use his spreader at the lunch break! After lunch, we went through all of the main stages in carving a spoon or scoop. We were all so engaged in the process that we were reluctant to put down our tools at the end of the day.
Dave is a excellent teacher and craftsman, so he knows what he's about but more importantly does a very good job of explaining, demonstrating and assisting one-to-one when needed so that he can pass on those skills. The venue worked very well, and the size of group was just right - large enough for some camaraderie, but small enough that Dave could make sure that everyone was keeping up. A good day. Recommended.
Ian Dickinson - - #10984
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