Make a Welsh stick chair

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Description

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.

Cancellation and a full refund can be obtained up to 8 weeks before the course starts. Start dates may be amended on request.

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.

Maker

Ben Willis at Ben Willis Woodcraft

Venue

Boultibrooke House
Norton Road
Presteigne
Powys
LD8 2EU

Suitable for

  • Accommodation offered
  • Adults
  • Corporate days out & team building
  • Engagement, birthdays & anniversaries
  • Hearing impaired
  • Learning difficulties (SEN)
  • Parking provided
  • Seniors
  • Suitable for beginners

Duration

7 days (9:00am to 5:00pm)

Platinum Badge
What does this mean?

This craft course provider has been awarded Platinum status for receiving 50 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.

Reviews

In-person course
Barry Bailey - - #34566

For more years than I care to remember, I have wanted to do a course like this, in an environment reminiscent of my childhood many years ago, using the basic tools of our forefathers. Finally, on a whim, having seen Ben's advert, and at the age of 76 yrs, I decided it was now or never, and decided to book this course. I am so glad that I did. The woods in which we were based, in Redwood Valley, were of a maturity rarely encountered these days. The commitment, depth of knowledge, and dedication to his course participants, by Ben, likewise. The other similar-minded people on this course were an absolute pleasure to be with, and will never be forgotten. My one regret - I didn't do this sooner.

In-person course
Paul Rees - - #34487

I would highly recommend this course. An Ash log was turned into a beautiful Welsh stick chair in seven days. The result for all attending was something to be proud of.
I've worked as a Carpenter/ Joiner for over 30 years but learned so many new skills and techniques using ancient hand tools to create a beautiful chair.
Ben is an excellent tutor: calm, patient, informative and not a bad cook! The setting is stunning. The open sided workshop is in the middle of ancient woodland with birds singing and the open fire burning. Truly idyllic.
Book this course. You wont regret it!

In-person course
Steve Cooper - - #34457

I attended Ben Willis’s ‘Welsh Stick Chair making course’ in July 2021. It was superb. The setting in Redwood Valley took you back hundreds of years and close to nature in an open sided wooden structure with an open fire continually burning providing both hot water for the continual coffee and tea ,Ben’s homemade soup for lunch and a gentle drift of smoke to give you the authentic smell of wood smoke!

Eight of us were shown a pile of ash logs from which we were expected to produce a work of art. With Ben’s expert tuition over seven long days the results were remarkable with everybody finishing a chair (each slightly different) to be proud of.

A big part of the overall enjoyment was getting to know the seven other participants and Ben. All from very different backgrounds but all with a passion for wood.

I cannot recommend the experience highly enough with thanks to my wife for it as a birthday present.

In-person course
Bridget Thompson - - #34455

What a fabulous week we had, all 8 of us finished our chairs under the excellent supervision of Ben. The setting is ideal, in the woods, the sound of birds along with our shaving and hammering. Ben's help when I wasn't quite strong enough was patient and kind, his knowledge and skill amazing. Having never worked with wood before, I learnt so much and every time I look at my wonderful chair I'll remember each shave, knock, hammer, saw stroke, sand and decision I made about how I wanted it to look. I would recommend this course to anyone, who loves the idea of working with wood and a chair that will last 100's of years. Go for it........

In-person course
Rhys Phillips - - #34451

Simply the most pleasurable and satisfying way to spend a week.
The setting is second to none but it’s Ben’s knowledge, expertise and patience that make all the difference in this course. It is appreciable the effort that goes into organising the course prior to arriving to ensure it’s smooth running meaning everyone goes home with a wonderful and unique chair.
Would not hesitate to recommend this course to anyone interested in having a magnificent hand made centrepiece for their room!

In-person course
Kevin Hollings - - #30349

A productive and thoroughly enjoyable week in the woods making a Welsh Stick Chair, Ben's expertise and patience ensured that all attendees walked away with a chair to be proud of. The whole experience from the pre-course communication, the woodland location, the way the course is structured was first class, I have no hesitation in recommending Ben and this course.

In-person course
Stephen Dobbison - - #30322

Thank you, Ben, for the course, your company and your patience in helping me produce a wonderful chair.

I had an amazing week learning a new skill and really surprised myself in what I produced.

This was entirely down to Ben’s skills and teaching techniques which were well thought out and delivered in a manner even a complete novice like me could understand.

My family were speechless when I brought the chair in to show them and still think I bought the chair somewhere!

Once again thank you Ben for a fabulous week in the woods.

In-person course
Kevin Fisher - - #30230

Just back from a week of making a Welsh Stick chair with Ben and three great fellow chairmaking novices. Ben was a great teacher. His humour and patience made the week really enjoyable. Having the opportunity to spend a week in the woods to make a green wood chair was a wonderful life affirming experience. I have come away with a chair that I am both proud of and one which I hope will be the first of many.

In-person course
Christopher Hadley - - #24959

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In-person course
Campbell - - #24439

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!

In-person course
AL White - - #23442

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}

In-person course
Helen Brent-Smith - - #22680

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!

In-person course
Sarah Phillips - - #22556

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!

In-person course
Phil Venables - - #16938

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

In-person course
Rob Eagle - - #16876

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

In-person course
Edward - - #15780

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!

In-person course
Pete Baldwin - - #15710

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.

In-person course
William Gibson - - #15680

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In-person course
Andrew Allberry - - #15671

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.

In-person course
Rob Cock - - #10617

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In-person course
Josh Yaxley - - #9558

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.

In-person course
Alison Lockett-Burke - - #9548

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