Buy a Gift Voucher
In-person course

Make a spindle-back chair


About the Course

A 5-day course, from tree to chair.

Starting with a freshly cut log you will make your own chair and, at the end of the course, take it home with you. Hopefully it will be a friend for life and something to bequeath to future generations!

If you are looking for a digital de-tox, a few days in the woods and learning something new, this course might be for you. By following a few common sense rules, anyone can work with green woodworking tools safely and proficiently. If you like working with your hands you can discover for yourself the joy of making something useful and beautiful from green wood. No previously learned skills are required.

However, some may find the course physically taxing. The working day is long, from 9.00 am till 6.00 pm each day.

The course instructor is Peter Young. Peter recently retired from directing a study retreat centre in the Scottish Borders. He is passionate about green woodworking and has learned yurt-making from the legendary Hal Wynne-Jones and chair making from the equally legendary Mike Abbott. Mike has done more than anyone else in the UK to rescue green woodworking from oblivion, and is supportive of these courses.

Peter feels deeply that this traditional type of work has wisdom in it, respecting both the materials and ourselves. 'We can learn a lot from it,' he says. 'We work with nature, not against it. We use only local, sustainably grown timber, often from coppiced woodland. Every bit is used and nothing wasted. But more than this, we try to see what the particular log is doing, how the grain is flowing and from this we learn what part it wants to play in the whole chair.'

The course venue is Broughtonknowe, a privately owned wood, 25 miles south of Edinburgh on the A701. By car, it is within easy reach for commuting daily from Edinburgh (45 mins) and 75 minutes from Carlisle.

The course takes place in a stunning disused quarry within a woodland, under a tarpaulin shelter. Hopefully the courses in 2020 will be in the new woodland workshop, a large yurt structure currently under construction.

There are basic facilities - composting toilet, kitchenette etc. Camping on site is possible.

What do you need to bring? Several layers of clothing for a changeable climate. Midge repellent possibly?

If you will be redeeming a CraftCourses gift voucher on this course, the voucher code must be provided at the point of booking.

What's included in the price?

All tools and equipment are provided. The green ash and seat weaving materials for making your chair are included in the course fees.
Tea, coffee, cake and biscuits are included as well as a light lunch - bread, soup, cheese, olives etc. or we might cook something, depending on how we all feel.


Peter Young at Green Ash Chairs
Broughtonknowe Woods
South Lanarkshire
ML12 6HL
See more from this course organiser All reviews for this course organiser
Gold Badge
What does this mean?

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.

Suitable for

  • Public transport
  • Suitable for beginners

Available as a gift

Learn about gift vouchers




5 days

Available dates:


In-person course
- - #24260

What a wonderful week I had taking my woodworking to another dimension by turning a "bit of a tree" into a fantastic chair using traditional hand skills.
Thanks Peter for sharing your skills and expertise with me in a way that encouraged a better understanding of what can be done with green wood and opening up a whole new interest for me.
As well making the chair the social aspects of the course were great, allowing collaborative working and a good ethos.
The set up Peter has is well organised and resourced to allow the chair to be completed in the one week timescale.
The food provided was also excellent.
One week on and at home I have built a shave horse and am gathering tools from ebay and looking to source green ash.
I'm hooked!

In-person course
- - #24029

This is simply a wonderful course. The old quarry at Broughtonknowe wood is an idyllic setting, and Peter has invested so much thought and attention into equipping the site for chair making. Peter is a thoughtful and patient teacher, and had a special capacity to connect with all of us as individuals. The group dynamic was therefore very special, which is important, because you spend a fair amount of time working in pairs at various stages of the making process. Peter also went out of his way to help us complete our chairs on time, so that we all were able to leave on Friday with something that looked really special. I felt I had learned a whole raft of new woodworking skills, which I'm now eager to try out at home. I'm still astounded that it possible to turn a log into piece of strong, elegant furniture in five days -- with essentially just hand tools, and without glue!
Thank you, Peter, for sharing your time and your skills with us.

In-person course
- - #23321

Peter teaches well and shows a sound understanding of the skills and methods needed for all aspects of these projects. He makes a brilliant cup of tea, and is a lovely guy. There was just a whole Zen about the experience for me. The people, the location, the project. It just made for a very calm week.

In-person course
- - #16947

Th experience of immersing yourself in learning and making for a week is fantastic. Peter is a kind, patient and encouraging teacher who seems to know when you need a bit of help, and when it's best to leave you to get on with it at your own pace. Love my chair, and couldn't recommend this course enough!

In-person course
- - #16392

this is a really amazing course and I would recommend it to everyone. peter is an amazing tutor and the whole process of making the chair is made clear and simple from the start. I can't express how fun and rewarding this course is. to be honest I probably would have done it even if I didn't get to keep the chair! this is a great course and I think everyone should do it!

In-person course
- - #15453

After a week on the job again and in the quiet of the weekend after this great course in Fushiebridge comes back to my mind. The chair I could build with Peters specialized assistance for my wife, we both like very much. Even more I enjoyed being with Peter and the other participants and having this time with them, the talks about green woodworking and the senses of working with nature as a companion. In that way Peter have shown us how to build a chair in the open air and with simple tools, how every step became obvious, everyone will be able to do it. I'm glad I was there.
Hermann from Franconia (Germany)

In-person course
- - #15406

Making a chair quite literally from scratch is an experience I won't forget. The sense of achievement and pride at the end is well worth the effort. I was impressed with Peter's ingenuity and his hand made tools. It was deeply humbling to learn a little of his craft. If you have any apprehensions about signing up, be brave, you won't regret it!
P.s. a shout-out also goes to Peter's wife who made us such delicious lunches each day. Thank you to you both!

Response from Green Ash Chairs:

Thanks SK, what a very heartening response! My wife and I are very pleased you enjoyed the lunches. Enjoy your chair!

In-person course
- - #15405

For me taking taking part in this course was both tranformative and elevating and I enjoyed it so much. "Following the grain" was not only in working with the wood, it was also in the way I related to myself during this process and also in the way Hakim related to me. I feel truly humbled and grateful to have been taught how to make a chair to seat on...and it fits so beautifully in my kitchen. Merci.
Sylvain Ayite

Response from Green Ash Chairs:

Thanks Sylvain, it was a pleasure to have your company for 5 days! Enjoy you chair!

In-person course
- - #15148

It was a wonderful experience to learn how to make a chair with a few branches of ash, some hand tools, my own hands and Peter's guidance. For me green wood work was new and I feel I made a great discovery; It suspended the time for 5 days, opening a place for letting go. Peter's way of teaching is in harmony with this idea of letting go: pressureless, enjoyable and safe! ... Going with the grain.

Thank you Peter.

In-person course
- - #13392

Read more

In-person course
- - #13223

Read more

In-person course
- - #13189

This course in Greenwood Chair making allowed me to deepen my understanding and appreciation of woodworking and the art of 'going with the grain'. I came to the course with no previous experience in woodworking, but the pace and intimacy of the course accommodated my skill level, and I was able to absorb as much learning as I could. The location was peaceful and green, and the quiet of the surroundings made for a heightened level of awareness, as we were fully immersed in the tasks at hand. Peter is a clear and responsive teacher. He offered good direction, whilst allowing room for the creativity of each student. The course allowed me to develop craft skills and to take a step outside of my routine to see things differently. And I also made a beautiful chair!

In-person course
- - #13055

Making my chair was a challenging undertaking as I had never done anything like this before. Peter was very patient in introducing and helping me with the new skills needed.
It was inspiring to make a beautiful object starting from a log of wood and using traditional tools.
The woodland setting is perfect for this course.
I am delighted with my chair.

Review this course


Please note that email addresses added here are not published. Contact information will not be shared or used for marketing unless you opt to receive our monthly newsletter about UK creative courses. You will be notified by email within two weeks if the course provider responds to your review.

Have you done this course?