Learn to turn in Snowdonia
A very extensive Covid-19 risk assessment has been completed and a whole raft of control measures are in place. This course re-commenced on 1st August and is certified under the "We're Good to Go" scheme and we also have a scannable NHS track and trace QR-code poster at the workshop. If you wish to see a full copy of our risk assessment and control measures, before booking, please ask.
About the tutor….Les Symonds is a qualified teacher with an honours degree in adult education and is a member of the Register of Professional Turners. His work has won numerous awards and accolades and has been exhibited at several galleries throughout North and Mid Wales. He is based in Bala, where he has his well equipped training workshop which is ideally suited to one-to-one teaching. A second student can be accommodated, but only if the two students book together.
Woodturning tuition courses are structured to the needs of the individual, their skill level and their future aspirations. All courses commence with a Health and Safety briefing and a range of PPE is available for use. For those who simply want to experience the fun of woodturning, without any plan to develop it as a hobby or career, the session will have an emphasis on basic practical skills, whereas those who do wish to continue to turn after tuition can opt for a greater emphasis on tool technique. At the end of each session, every student will come away with a finished piece of work.
This full-day course runs 09:30 to 15:30 although the finish time may be flexible to allow you to complete your project - we often work until 16:00. Dates are flexible, so please state what date you'd like (we don't teach on Wednesdays or Sundays) and if your chosen date is available, it will be reserved for you. If it isn't available, you'll be given a range of other dates to choose from.
Please get in touch for details, bookings and other options.
Cancellation and a full refund can be obtained up to 2 weeks before the course starts. Start dates may be amended on request.
The cost of each course includes all materials and finishes required, along with all PPE. Tea, coffee etc will be available within the price of the course, although students booking a full day course should bring their own lunch. Students are required to wear clothing which is either close-fitting, or can be fastened closed. Those with long hair will be required to wear a suitable hat/cap, or to wear their hair tied back. Prior to their session, Les will contact each student to exchange ideas and information so that your course can be structured to your needs and wishes.
Accommodation is not available at the course venue, but we will be happy to recommend a local hotel or guest house.
1 day (9:30am to 3:30pm)
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.
We have done a few craft courses over the last couple of years, and this was (by far) our favourite. Les is a really friendly guy who strikes that fine balance between teaching you and letting you learn from your mistakes. But he also manages to do that without letting you turn your piece of craft into a meas.
Would highly recommend and we will visit again for sure
Response from Pren:Thank you so much for the review....I thoroughly enjoyed working with you both and will be more than happy to see you again.
I had a session bought for me as a birthday present and hadn’t touched a lathe since I left school 30+ years ago. Les is a great teacher who is very knowledgeable about his craft. He has an easy manner and explains everything in terms you can understand without getting overly technical. I had a great time and came away with a fantastic bowl & tree as well as some new skills. I’ll be booking another session with Les once I’ve got a lathe and some practice under my belt.
Thanks for a great day Les.
Response from Pren:Thanks for the review, Andy, I'm really pleased that you enjoyed your day.... there's a woodturning club which used to meet at bangor, but now meets at Star, near Gaerwen, on Anglesey. If you're interested, let me know and I'll find some further details for you.
Really good fun. Les is very knowledgeable and the day was full of interesting information with real hands on learning. Definitely a full value day.
I highly recommend all women wear high neck clothing!
I came aware having made several items which my daughter loves.
Nice to see an expert at work to.
Response from Pren:Thanks for the review, Rachel. I'm pleased that you enjoyed your day and especially pleased that your daughter loves her wooden cup and her tree.
My wife booked a one day wood turning course with Les a a surprise birthday present.
Although I had acquired some knowledge of wood turning some years ago Les was able to show me skills using a bowl gouge that I had not seen beforehand. Les is a fantastic teacher and with his skilful and knowledgeable guidance I was able to complete the difficult task of turning a yarn bowl.
I had a fantastic day working with Les in his workshop.
Response from Pren:Thank you so much for that, Peter. I thoroughly enjoyed working with you.
I have just attended a full day course with Les and I have to say I throughly enjoyed the day. Les took me from no experience to completing to projects. His manner and how he explained every detail was very good indeed. Good facilities and great equipment to use plus all COVID aspects were covered. I would recommend this course, brilliant.
Response from Pren:Thank you so much for that, Mick. I thoroughly enjoyed our day at the lathe.
I was having difficulty bowlturning so I spent a day with Les to see where I was going wrong. The difference between what I could make before to after the lesson was huge! Les is very informative, knowledgeable and is very patient, which really gives you a confidence boost for being able to do it yourself. He clearly addressed any problem areas and suggested numerous ways of going about the different aspects of woodturning. All of which I am very thankful for!
I would highly recommend him to both complete novices and experienced woodturners and to anyone thinking about getting in touch to do so.
Response from Pren:Thank you Rhodri, I'm so pleased that you found the day useful.
Les' one day course is perfect for any novice and I highly recommend it. This was a fantastic birthday present from my parents from which I was able to walk away with a few pieces I will always treasure. The tuition itself is 1-to-1 and excellent value for money. Les' depth of knowledge, passion, and experience were top notch and his workshop a great retreat. Naturally I had many questions and learned a lot about the sylvian arts throughout the day. Thanks again for a great day. I hope to be back soon.
Response from Pren:Thanks for that, James. I really enjoyed working with you and I have just one question....did you ever get all those wood shavings off your jacket?
I have just completed a wonderful woodturning course with Les.
I found him very knowledgeable and patient when teaching, this allowed me produce a very nice wooden fruit bowl. Les explained correct use of all the various tools and techniques needed.
His workshop is clean and very equipped with everything required available.
I would recommend this course to everyone.
Response from Pren:Many thanks Graham, I'm really pleased that you enjoyed the day.
An excellent teaching day and well worth a 2 hour journey from the Midlands. Les is an excellent skills teacher and coped with a complete novice turner. The teaching is hands on from the moment you enter his Aladdin's den of a workshop and the theory is picked up as it arises, rather than in a formal presentation at the beginning. We moved rapidly through all the basics, with tips on technique and general advice throughout the day. As an experienced woodworker, I was a little unsure as to whether turning was a natural progression for me. A few minutes with Les convinced me that a new world or woodworking lies out there. A one day course is extremely good value for money as it is one-and-one tuition for the whole day.
Response from Pren:Thank you so much for the review, Graham. It was a very enjoyable day and your desire to learn and enjoyment of what you were doing, made my job a very easy one.
Les is very welcoming and put's you at ease.
Les is very patient and knowledgeable, with his guidance I was able to make a lidded box, Xmas tree bauble, and a small Xmas tree, these items were what I had asked Les to try to make.
I already have orders for 15 of the Xmas trees, so I am going to be busy for awhile.
If there are any budding wood turner's out there it would be money well spent on a lesson with Les.
Thank you Les on a very enjoyable day.
Yours Xmas tree John.
Response from Pren:Ha ha! We had a bit of fun, John.....'twas a good day and I do hope that Grace liked the box.
Les is a first class tutor with a very easy going manner along with a vast knowledge of wood & turning it.
I had a two day session with him & along with learning how to use the lathe & tools safely I managed to produce 4 very pleasing pieces to take home with me.
Altogether a very pleasant & educational time, money well spent, I may even do another couple of days when I have gained some experience on my newly acquired knowledge to go a stage further.
Thank you Les
Response from Pren:Thanks for that, Nigel....it was a pleasure to work with you and I'm really pleased that you felt that it was two days so well spent.
Great course - Les helped me to turn a bowl that was of a far higher standard than I could have imagined prior to the course.
Response from Pren:Thank you for the review, John. It was a pleasure working with you and I'm delighted that you're pleased with your bowl.
Excellent for these reasons;
Very able wood turner with excellent standards of completed product and wide experience
Able communicator interested in teaching students to achieve using highly developed skills
Well equipped workshop using higher quality machinery
Pleasant scenery and surroundings in this part of Wales
A warm welcome and interest in people coupled with his love of wood turning meant the whole days' experience was very enjoyable and fulfilling
Thank you Les
I had the pleasure of attending one of Les’s Woodturning class - it was brilliant.
He assessed my previous experience (total beginner) and doctored the lesson accordingly.
Extremely articulate, informational and a general fab guy I left having proudly turned two pieces very excited and inspired.
I cant recommend the experience enough.
Had a brilliant time, learning how to operate the lathe safely and came away with a good understanding of how to turn. Les is a very knowledgeable and patient tutor and puts you at ease. I enjoyed the day, which seemed to fly by!
I came away with a lovely scorched bowl and a xmas tree!! I have since purchased a lathe and Les was good enough to advise me on what was good and not so good, and has even offered to help me get started once i have the lathe set up, what more can you ask for!!
My introduction to wood turning allowed me to create a very attractive bowl from a simple block of oak. Les explained the pros and cons of different woods, the basics of the various equipment we used and the choices available to finish the bowl. He guided me through the various production stages while allowing me plenty of hands on experience. Les was a great teacher and we had some fun. I can thoroughly recommend the experience which, now that I am retired, has left me seriously considering buying a starter kit (and returning to Bala to have some more coaching).
As well as being an excellent craftsman, Les is a very accomplished, attentive and personable tutor. Completely open and keen to share his own hallmark techniques, tips and tricks.
A thoroughly enjoyable day tailored to exactly what I wanted to learn. Recommended!
Attended one of Les wood turning courses this week and It was one of the best and most enjoyable things I have done. I came away with a desire to continue it as a hobby and a oak burr bowl that surpassed my expectations. Les is a great teacher he understands, and can simply explain any aspect of the process. and the one to one tuition was great. Highly recommended, Thank you Les.
Les provided my husband and I with 4 hours of expert and friendly tuition. We were both able to come away with a beautiful bowl - far more professional looking than i ever thought possible. Les is a fabulous teacher and the one to one nature of the course really helped. We both thoroughly recomend this course and both are enthused to go back and spend more time learning this skill.
I attended a day course and with Les's guidance, completed a bowl that impressed even myself, whos a beginner. . Good content and Les offers additional information plus is guided by the students. In fact I would consider attending again to devrlop more turning skills.
Thoroughly enjoyed course. I am very pleased with the bowl and candlestick I made, I liked choosing the piece of wood to use. Les is an excellent tutor.
Excellent course, very enjoyable. Les is very patient and a skilled instructor, even managing to coach me to turn a bowl I am really proud of. I would highly recommend this course to anyone wanting a start in the art of wood turning.
i took my girlfriend lizzi to go and do an introduction into woodturning as it is something i have got interest in. Les was kind, encouraging and a great teacher. He demonstrated his vast knowledge of the tools and how to use them correctly as well as his knowledge of wood. He gave us lots of opportunities to use the tools and if we were struggling he would come and give us extra support when doing more challenging techniques. i got to experiment with beading techniques on my sycomore wooden bowl whilst Lizzi made a fruit bowl out of walnut wood with some scorched lines. We were both incredibly proud of the product we made. Overall, we have thoroughly enjoyed our experience, would recommend it to anyone looking to learn a new skill. We are definitely going back to seeing Les again. Thank you Les you were brilliant
I took my son to a Wood Turning Taster Session with Les and he had an absolutely fantastic time. He made a bowl out of oak, scorched it and lime waxed it. He loved being able to use the machines and coming home with something to show for his efforts.