Learn to Turn in the Dartmoor National Park
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About the Course
Learn to turn in Devon!
Chris runs courses in his well-equipped workshop in Ashburton, on the edge of Dartmoor in South Devon.
Each course is tailored to meet the individual needs of the student, their capabilities and experience, whether complete novice or more advanced turner.
The correct selection and use of tools and equipment, and the characteristics of the materials and finishes we use are fully explained, along with important health and safety considerations, to advance the students' proficiency and skill in the woodturners' craft. Full-face masks will be provided and must be worn at all times when any machine in the workshop is being used. Dustmasks will be provided when necessary. (Dust extraction is provided to all machines as required.)
Students can expect to learn the basic bowl turning techniques to turn and finish a bowl which they will take home at the end of the day.
There is a reduced rate of 20% for 2 people booking together to attend on the same day.
Chris has been a professional woodworker for 50 years. After serving an apprenticeship as a carpenter and joiner in the late 60s, he has been self- employed for the past 45 years, producing purpose-made joinery, architectural, decorative and functional turned work and sculptural forms. He has been in his present workshop in Ashburton, within the Dartmoor National Park, for the past 40 years.
Combining uncomplicated, balanced form with natural features - as well as the effects of fungal and insect activity - he finds that the most unlikely looking pieces of wood produce the most striking end results. His work essentially celebrates the imperfections of wood as features of a beautiful natural material, rather than as defects.
The timber he uses is sourced as locally as possible to his Dartmoor workshop. The majority of wood comes from trees that have fallen, been cut down due to damage or disease, or from licensed conservation pruning and felling. Any exotic species used will be either recycled or from sustainable FSC sources.
There are examples of Chris's work in 13 countries, on 4 continents, and he exhibits widely in galleries, exhibitions and craft events. He also opens his workshop to the public during the annual Devon Open Studios event. He takes commissions for commemorative and presentation pieces, for such events as weddings, engagements, anniversaries, birthdays, and also funerary urns.
He also offers tuition to individuals and small groups, and gives demonstrations at craft events and to woodturning clubs.
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?
Everything you will need will be provided in terms of turning smocks, equipment and materials. There will be plenty of tea, coffee and biscuits available - just bring a packed lunch, (microwave available), a sense of humour and a willingness to learn.
The day runs from 9.30 -4.30 with tea and lunch breaks.
Plenty of reasonably priced local accommodation is available.
Now, after all the serious bits, let's enjoy our woodturning as a mind-stretching and thoroughly enjoyable pastime!
I recently decided to try woodturning and bought a second hand lathe and tools. In order to feel confident and to try and avoid becoming self taught, with all the bad habits that learning that way brings, my wife bought me two days of tuition with Chris at his workshop in Ashburton. After having had to reschedule in order to avoid work commitments of mine, which Chris was unbelievably tolerant of and accommodating, I have just had my two days with Chris and can only echo everyone else's glowing reviews of his patient and excellent tuition. He immediately puts you at ease and explains in easy to grasp language what we are there to achieve. His affable manner and friendly professional skills make it a treat to learn the rudiments of wood turning. His lathes and workshop are amazing, his teaching is second to none. I came away from the two days of one to one tuition with an enormous enthusiasm for my future hobby, a respect for the tools that we use and a true regard for the materials that we can turn into such things of beauty. I will book another course with Chris after I have honed my basic skills a bit more and can return to show him how his training has helped me.
Beginner like me or keen hobby turner; all would benefit from time with Chris in his workshop.
I can't recommend his courses highly enough. A true craftsman.
Mark Bloomfield - - #13951
I can only repeat all the good things said about Chris in other comments.
I had a wonderful day woodturning in a wonderful setting on the edge of Dartmoor. Chris very carefully and patiently explained every step to this complete beginner, including correct and safe use of tools and equipment. By the end of the day I managed to produce a beautiful sycamore bowl, admittedly with lots of help!
Would thoroughly recommend.
Joy - - #13649
Wow! Not just an outstanding introduction to wood turning but also a man (or equally a woman) shed experience. No fear of dehydration with copious tea on this two day course a mile or so on the moor side of Ashburton. Sufficient time to get to grips with basic principals and create two bowls with constructive helpful advice and guidance. Useful advice on what tools to start with and how to sharpen and maintain them.
As for the "Crac" we covered most topics and the world's problems are sorted.
Graham HOWELL - - #13417
I would be gilding the lily if I repeated all the good things everyone has said about this most patient, professional teacher and craftsman. So I will just say 5 stars all round.
Go and do a course with this consummate craftsman.. even his workshop is a treat to visit.
Even his tea making is second to none.
Mei Lim - - #13370
The course was a Christmas gift from my parents and in-laws and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute. Chris is so careful to explain the whole process from basics to the more skilled steps and is great company throughout the day. The bowl I produced far exceeded my expectations of what I thought I was capable of and the whole day was a wonderful experience. Highly recommended
Adrian C - - #13062
My husband and I spent an extremely enjoyable day crafting a beautiful sycamore bowl under Chris ‘s expert eye. He is an excellent and very patient tutor and always able to correct any beginner’s mistakes and set you back on the right path. We would highly recommend Chris’s course to anyone.
Rebecca C - - #13061
A lovely day of woodturning tuition.
Chris is very patient and clearly knowledgeable and experienced in the subject.
The day was very relaxed and pleasant. Chris was chatty and put me at ease.
I made a beautiful bowl of sycamore.
Savannah Southcott - - #13022
I had a really enjoyable day learning woodturning with chris. He's extremely knowledgeable, likeable and a patient teacher. It definitely feels like he wants you to leave with a product that is finished to a good standard and nothing feels rushed. Tea and lunchbreaks were also good as conversation was varied and interesting and chocolate biscuits were on tap! I would definitely recommend this course to a complete beginner like myself or a self taught hobby turner. He also has a display cabinet with some beautifully made pieces for sale. Highly recommended!
Martyn Satterly - - #12895
I have just spent a wonderful day with Chris learning woodturning with two friends. I have learnt lots of techniques along the way. Chris is a fantastic teacher and extremely patient! I’m really pleased with my end product and can’t wait to go again!! Thank you Chris - that’s one thing I’ve done off my bucket list and thoroughly enjoyed it. You are a master craftsman 😃
Grace Simmonds - - #12791
What a brilliant day. Chris is an excellent teacher with the patience of a saint! Went with two friends. We all managed to make a beautiful bowl learning a variety of techniques. Even when we made mistakes Chris managed to save the day with amazing skill he has gleaned over 50 years of woodworking.
Can I come again please ?
Clare Knight - - #12787
Chris was the perfect teacher, calm, professional at all times, inspiring and his love for woodturning is infectious.
The workshop was clean with good kit to work with.
I would recommend anyone to go to Chris, for any level of woodturning, his health and safety was outstanding.
We will be going back.
Lee Veale - - #12168
I couldn't recommend Chris enough, his course was excellent.
The workshop was very clean and tidy, the machines were well maintained.
Chris' tuition was very clear and really moved my woodturning on, he explained things so,easily, he was very patient and kind, and we had a beautiful bowl to show for it and the end of the day.
We will definitely be going back without a shadow of a doubt, thank you Chris.
Trudy Veale - - #12167
I am intending to turn sculptural shapes and needed specific tuition for this. Chris was brilliant in adapting his training to meet my needs. He was patient and also prepared to push me along, not dumb things down. the day was challenging, but I came away with what I needed, and a very beautiful wooden object.
Stefan Batorijs - - #11932
My sister and I spent a great day with Chris, he is very knowledgeable and extremely patient. We were very proud of the two beautiful bowls we went home with.
Derinne - - #11883
I have been woodturning for a few years and was self-taught so I thought it was time to learn how to do it properly. The day spent with Chris was inspirational and enlightening to say the least.
Chris has a friendly, calm, supportive and patient manner which, together with a clear ability to explain and demonstrate techniques will put any student at ease and enable them to discover the beautiful world of woodturning and come away with new-found skills.
If you have any doubts about attending a woodturning tuition day, then go and spend a day with Chris. You won't go wrong. I certainly will be going back! Thank you Chris for a fantastic day!
David Mohan - - #11835
Just attended the one day woodturning course with Chris. As a complete novice he was the perfect tutor, patient with detailed explanation and support throughout the day resulting in a beautiful bowl.
His practical but thorough approach to the safe use of machinery and tools was spot on.
His demonstration and explanation of techniques has inspired me to take up woodturning as a hobby.
Andrew Shipman - - #11793
Had a great day with George and Chris. Made a bowl I am really proud of - with some expert (patient!) help! Sue took great care of us, tea and coffee on tap � would highly recommend, and look forward to visiting again.
Becca - - #11756
"We spent a lovely day with George and his brother Chris making beech bowls. They're very attentive and knowledgeable tutors explaining every stage of the process in detail, I highly recommend the course. Thank you George and Chris for a day of woodturning, politics and philosophy -
Ilse - - #11726
Joined Chris for a wood turning course and went home with a nice bowl.Would recommend and will be returning for more lessons in the future.
Jeremy - - #11375
A day of two halves. The morning setting up my grindstone and learning how to sharpen my tools correctly, sharpening my tools and learning about the use if tools - the afternoon turning a socket jig to hold fruit and turning an apple and a pear.
A very informative and constructive day. Chris is a very patient man and gave good clear instruction on what to do.
Thank you Chris for a most helpful and constructive day.
John H-D - - #11341
I had a very enjoyable day learning the skilful craft of wood turning. Chris is a great teacher, giving as much support as needed to create the desired effect. I highly recommend this as an experience day out and love the fact you make something to take home with you as a memento of the day. Many thanks Chris, I had a great time.
Bethany Woodburn - - #10779
Such a great day spent learning all about the process of wood turning! It was fun, interesting, and extremely satisfying to work with Chris on creating something from a lump of a log to a smooth circular bowl at the end of the day! Chris was a fantastic tutor in each step involved in the process and I came way with a great deal of awe and respect for the craft, plus a proud owner of my own created first piece which Chris assisted me in creating in just the right way: to teach and advise in a safe and calm way for a beginner like me, but also allowing me to add my own slant to the piece and I felt like it really was my own. I would thoroughly recommend this experience to anyone and everyone as it is a great day out, and Chris will be a perfect tutor for people of all abilities and levels of confidence. Thanks, Chris, see you again!
Aidan Woodburn - - #10775
My partner and I spent a really enjoyable day with Chris. I would recommend this course to anyone interested in learing how to turn wood as Chris is extremely patient and attentive to your level of ability. Despite neither of us ever having done anything like this before we both came away with a beautiful bowl each. It was nice to know we could do it. Thanks Chris!
Matt - - #10219
I have just had, I think, my third visit here. Chris is endlessly patient & an extremely good teacher. Part of yesterday was devoted to setting up my bench grinder for sharpening, I might add that all this was at my request. After that I made a lovely bowl out of sweet chestnut.
Anybody out there & thinking of giving woodturning a go, this is the chap you want.
Needless to say I shall be back!!
Roger Hoey - - #9914
Did this course with my wife a couple of weeks ago. We both ended up with amazingly good products thanks to Chris's tuition, help and care. The workshop is well equipped with plenty of space for 2-3 people working there and the tuition was exceptionally good. Chris not only explained the intricacies but was patient to the extreme when we got it wrong. A most worthwhile day; we may well go again to develop our, as yet, very limited skills.
David Norman - - #9893
I highly recommend this day's course. I took my 16 year old nephew and we each came away with the most beautiful turned piece. Chris is superb and makes everything clear and straightforward - it was a fun, creative and uplifting day. Don't hesitate: go!
helen sargent - - #9877
I bought my boyfriend and I a woodturning course for Christmas.
We visited Chris in April and it was beyond what we imagined, we thoroughly enjoyed our day. Chris took his time and explained each step very carefully and continued to give us helpful tips to be able to complete our fruit bowls.
Chris was an extremely friend man and very passionate about woodturning, a pleasure to converse with.
We will be back to see him for sure, I would and have recommend people to spend a day with Chris! 10/10
Megan Bovey - - #9592
I have spent two day with Chris and greatly enjoyed both of them.
He is very knowledgeable and endlessly patient with a beginner who does not always remember what he was told an hour ago!
I learnt a great deal and am going back again.
Magnus Mowat - - #8954
My Dad and I really enjoyed our day with Chris. We learnt a huge amount, practiced a lot of turning skills and techniques under patient tuition and really felt we were in the hands of a true expert with an amazing eye for detail (particularly with regard to sanding!). There were one or two slip-ups on my part, which Chris swiftly turned into "design opportunities". (Thank you). It's a relaxed pace of course but there is a lot to remember and I wish I'd written stuff down as we went. Perhaps some 'course notes' that cover the different terminologies, equipment and techniques used would be a useful aide-memoire to take home. Would love to return for another day. Highly recommend this course.
Christine - - #8869
Chris is a patient and knowledgable teacher who takes time to explain how to turn based on a given student's learning style. On the bits I found challenging he took more time to show me methods to help make it easier. Chris is flexible and understanding and I have really enjoyed both courses I have done with him.
Jenni Rajoo - - #8508
Have just attended a day's course with Chris at Ashburton.My wife bought me a voucher for Xmas and this was my first experience of woodturning.A very satisfying and enjoyable day.Chris has a great tuition style,very relaxed but informative with masses of patience.The course is great value for money and a lot of fun.Suffice to say am booking further courses with Chris to learn more very shortly.5
Mike Bray - - #8200
I highly recommend Chris as a wonderful teacher. My first experience in this craft and was not sure what to expect. At times I felt challenged by the physical skills and the precision required. Chris has got a great ability to reassure and guide a confused novice through any challenge. He is an incredibly skillful craftsman but most importantly , able to pass on his knowledge in a gentle, student centered and hands on manner. The bowl I made under his tuition looks perfect, I am chuffed.Thank you ,Chris. Any student taught by you is in safe hands!
Kat Werner - - #7948
My wife gave me a day's wood-turning tuition with Chris as a birthday present, Having just returned I can say that I had a great time. Chris was very supportive in his instruction, gently leading me through the many tasks required to turn a block of wood into a beautiful bowl. The wife is delighted.
Michael Baier - - #7794
Spent yesterday woodturning for the first time. Chris is an excellent tutor. The day is very well organised and structured with full guidance and support throughout. Also it is great fun!
Richard - - #7674
I have now attended two of Chris' wonderful courses. The first was so enjoyable I took my son along for the second. Chris' teaching style is humourous and knowledgeable and he supports you at every stage of the wood turning process. At the end of the day you find that by some miracle you have produced a perfectly turned bowl and learnt some impressive skills. It is a process which requires concentration and precision and although you start out very nervous about what injuries you may be about to inflict on the innocent piece of wood ( not to mention the lathe and tools ) you very soon relax under Chris' guidance and encouragement and find yourself mesmerised by the activity. The Dartmoor location and Chris' excellent supply of chocolate biscuits and bonhomie make it a day of complete satisfaction.
Peter Gilbert - - #7626
A really terrific day's instruction. I purchased a second hand Axminster lathe and desperately needed some practical advice. I've never had any experience whatsoever.
A good friend recommended Chris. He had attended the one day course and was extremely positive.
Chris is a real treasure. Apart from being an extremely knowledgeable, highly skilled practitioner, his ability to instruct is super. The approach and advice in terms of overall safety was exactly what I wanted since I hadn't laid hands on my lathe since purchase....being somewhat nervous that I might do something daft!!
With Chris's careful instruction, I managed to create a fine sycamore bowl which will hopefully be the first of one or three.
I was also given much advice and help in terms of what tools I needed and hands-on demonstration re sharpening and care.
It's a lot to absorb in one day and I intend to return once I've dipped my feet into some investigation/ creation (!!) in my garage.
Fabulous day and very much recommended.
Nick Massey - - #7578
Chris's beginners woodturning course is highly recommended. I was given a day with Chris as an experiential birthday gift, and I had a great time, learnt some new skills and came away with a very handsome piece of contemporary woodcraft as a memento.
Chris is a good instructor. He knows when to step in and assist the student, and when to step back and allow the student to complete the necessary tasks to learn the process.
His workshop has the added attraction of being situated in the beautiful and wholesome surroundings of Dartmoor, in God's own county of Devon.
Mac - - #6917
I've had the best day with Chris today and have come home with a beautiful bowl that I'm over the moon with. Chris is a fantastic teacher, he explained everything clearly, was very patient, but he never took over. I'm definitely keen to do more turning.
Ellie Emberson - - #6447
Chris provided a real fun day for me and my daughter in a fantastic setting on the edge of dartmoor. I was particularly impressed with the attention to safety in the workshop environment . And we produced two fantastic bowls !!
Glenn Latham - - #5938
My Dad and I had a great day with Chris. I had recently inherited a lathe and was keen to learn the ropes before taking on my new tool. On our craft day both my dad and I turned a lovely bowl under the helpful watch and guidance of Chris. Chris really gave me the confidence I needed to continue wood turning in my own workshop and there's no doubt I'll be doing a level 2 course with him in the near future.
ZOE E LATHAM - - #5937
Had a very enjoyable day with Chris learning about wood turning . Chris gave the right level of help to ensure we came away with a dish to be proud of and that we were happy we had produced it. Chris's helpful and friendly personality made it feel like we'd known him for ages.
Martin - - #5932
Chris was a great teacher. I am 14 years old and i found that Chris was very patient and whilst he helped and advised he didnt take over. At the end of the day i ended up with a beautiful beech bowl. I really enjoyed the whole day.
Kirsty - - #5931
We did a day woodturning as a joint birthday present to ourselves. It was a great mix of productivity and learning and fun. The whole day went so smoothly because Chris is a great natural teacher and communicator; he understood who we were and paced the day accordingly (I don't have the greatest eye-sight and my wife has some issues with her hands). We now have two bowls that are both beautiful and functional, and of course they are a permanent reminder of what we did when we stumbled across into our sixties. Thanks Chris for a great day out - and your patience and kindness.
Gary and Terrill - - #5197
I was a bit nervous about booking this course, as I have never done anything like this before, but Chris soon put me at my ease and I had a very enjoyable and productive day. He explained a lot about wood that I didn't know before, and his sense of humour helped me to relax and enjoy myself. The proper use of the woodworking tools was well explained and safety issues were well catered for. I produced a nice bowl out of sycamore wood, which I was very proud to take home. I would certainly recommend one of Chris's tuition days - good value and good fun!
Rowan - - #5152
I have just attended a days woodturning tuition with Chris and really enjoyed it .As a girl I thought it would be a bit too physical for me but Chris's calm reassurance soon settled me and I went on to turn a beautiful Beech Bowl.
I will defiantly be going back again for further tuition and I would recommend a day with Chris if you want a enjoyable day and to come away with something you turned .
Thank you Chris I will be back
Alison - - #5126
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Course Start Dates
Course dates are flexible; please get in touch for the next available date.
- Suitable for beginners
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