Buy a Gift Voucher

Make a Spindle-back Chair

Duration: 5 days

Price: £400

Run by: Peter Young
at Green Ash Chairs


Broughtonknowe Woods
South Lanarkshire
ML12 6HL

Contact course provider

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 commonsense rules, anyone can work with greenwood 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 chairmaking 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 primary 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 (45mins) and 75 minutes from Carlisle.

The course takes place in a woodland glade, under a tarpaulin shelter. In extreme conditions we can move operations into a shed.

From 2018 courses will also take place at Beechwood, Gorebridge, EH23 4QG. This is a reclaimed pit-head site within easy reach of Edinburgh on the Waverley Line or by bus.

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

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 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.

Want to review this course?

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!

- - #16947

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!

- - #16392

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)

- - #15453

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!

- - #15406

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!

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

- - #15405

Response from Green Ash Chairs:

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

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.

- - #15148

Read more

- - #13392

Read more

- - #13223

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!

- - #13189

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.

- - #13055

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.

Course Start Dates

Monday 6th May 2019
Monday 10th June 2019
Monday 15th July 2019
Monday 12th August 2019
Monday 9th September 2019
  • Accessible by public transport
  • Suitable for beginners

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.