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Make a Welsh stick chair

Duration: 7 days

Price: £550

Contact: Ben Willis at Ben Willis Woodcraft

Boultibrooke House
Norton Road

Course Start Dates

Due to the uncertainty caused by COVID-19/Coronavirus, please contact the course organiser before finalising plans to attend this course.
Saturday 16th May 2020
Thursday 18th June 2020

About the Course

The Welsh stick chair is the vernacular style of Windsor chair that evolved west of the border several hundred years ago. They’re simple but striking, and will grace any hearth with a charismatic presence.

Over this seven-day course in a beautiful woodland workshop you’ll be taken through the process of crafting a Welsh stick chair from log to finished piece. You’ll fashion the legs, spindles and other frame parts from locally sourced ash using a range of simple tools, including drawknife and spokeshave. You’ll also use an adze and travisher to ‘bottom’ the chair seat to a comfortable form. The highlight of the course, apart from going away with your own heirloom, is the process of steam bending the graceful bow that forms the distinctive arm of the chair and the comb that tops off its back.

This is an intensive course, but is suitable to beginners with no prior knowledge of chair making. More challenging variants on the Welsh stick theme may be possible for woodworkers with some existing skill.

Ben Willis was mentored by the green woodworking legend Mike Abbott. He has been making chairs and other green-wood furniture for over 10 years.

If booking with a CraftCourses voucher for part or all of the course fee, please fill in the contact form above. Your voucher code must be provided at the point of booking.

What's included in the price?

A simple lunch will be provided each day as well as copious quantities of tea, coffee and biscuits to keep your motor running.

Basic materials will be provided, but there will be an additional charge for the timber used to make the chair seat. This will range from £25-40 depending on what I have in stock at the time.

Want to review this course?

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- - #24959

I cannot recommend both this course and Ben highly enough. Somehow Ben managed to make the week relaxing, informative, great fun and educational all at once. The venue is spectacular, set in the beautiful Redwood Valley woodland, and Ben could not be a better teacher - patient, phenomenally knowledgeable, good humoured and a decent chef too! I came back home after the week refreshed, more confident in my woodworking, and with a beautiful Welsh stick chair to cherish for many years. Thanks a million, Ben!

- - #24439

What a week. Seven days spent with six great people from all walks of life, under the incredible guidance and instruction of Ben. What a Star. What he doesn`t know about woodcraft and special tools is beyond belief, and he shared and explained his skills with us. Had a whale of a time, ate lots of cake, drank lots of tea and now own a wonderful Welsh Stick Chair that i have always wanted, But instead of buying one, i actually made it. Hopefully it can now be an heirloom to pass on to my new grandson. Also, what a magical setting in Redwood Valley. Breathtaking scenery and very friendly hosts. I have to say its been one of the best and most rewarding weeks of my life. Thank you Ben. {your dads sour dough bread was awesome}

- - #23442

I had a great week on this course, and can thoroughly recommend it to anyone interested in working with wood. The workshop is lovely, equipped with all we needed, and the woods are a stunning setting. Ben is an excellent tutor - the course is well planned and structured and though it's a lot to fit into a week Ben ensured that we all did it and we were really pleased with our chairs. Ben was good at teaching all the many new skills involved, he was calm and patient and very encouraging and was skilled at keeping an eye on everyone and knowing when help was needed.
Can't recommend it enough!

- - #22680

This is a great course, making a really nice chair, and I would highly recommend it. It's well structured and Ben is an excellent tutor, clear and patient. The outdoor workshop is in a beautiful piece of woodland and is a lovely place to spend the week. Sign up for the next course as soon as you can!

- - #22556

Really good course-great woodland setting, excellent tutor who took the time to explain, demonstrate and assist with all the skills which we were introduced to during the week.
It may feel a bit daunting at the start- you see examples of finished chairs , and probably think 'I can never make that ', but all of the different processes come together and you will achieve a lot of satisfaction from producing a really lovely unique piece of furniture by the end of the course.
Whilst the course does involve hard work , it is also very relaxing and therapeutic - no-one will 'get left behind 'any stage.
Many thanks Ben, I can highly recommend the course to anyone interested in green woodworking

- - #16938

Amazing!!! Such a fantastic course, I have never done anything like it, a truly wholesome experience! From start to finish I loved every minute. Learning new skills, working with wood, handling new tools, being outdoors, couldn’t really have asked for more. Ben is great, really welcoming, very patient and keeps the course running at a good pace, ensuring everyone is getting to grips with the tools and processes. The location is perfect and Ben does a pretty mean soup too! To be able to take away a beautiful chair that I already treasure will be a lasting reminder of a week well spent! I’ll be back! Thank you Ben

- - #16876

I think the other reviews here cover things nicely - I'll only add that I've done a few woodwork courses and this wins hands down - in terms of setting, teacher, and finished product!

- - #15780

Absolutely wonderful.

As someone who has never done much woodworking before, i was amazed that i came home with a hand crafted heirloom that i suspect the kids will be fighting over when I've gone. May have to return to make another one!

Setting was fabulous as you will see from the photos.

Group size is limited so help always at hand.

The best course I've ever attended.

Thanks again Ben.

- - #15710

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- - #15680

Impossible to praise this course highly enough. A truly special, highly rewarding experience. Enjoyed every minute of it.

As well as an obvious master of his craft, Ben is an outstanding teacher - the essential ingredient which so many courses fail to offer. (Plus he's a really great bloke to spend a week with.) He knows just what and how much guidance to give; a helping hand and an inexhaustible supply of expert knowledge and experience when you need it, yet essentially leaving you to get on with it. As a result I feel that really learned my stuff, and I came away with a huge sense of achievement - not to mention a beautiful chair.

The setting is beyond beautiful too, and if you stay on site as we did (very highly recommended indeed) the whole thing adds up to an unforgettable week.

- - #15671

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- - #10617

If you are looking for a form of woodland therapy away from the rat race you could do no better than sign up to Bens woodcraft course. Not only that you will construct a piece of furniture to use for a lifetime!

The peaceful and beautiful woodland workshop always has the fire kettle on. Ben is a great instructor and even if you are the most accident prone student in the world (me) you will construct something elegant.

Although as a word of warning: this course will begin a lifetime interest in green woodwork and a tool addiction no rehab can fix.

- - #9558

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- - #9548

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