Stool making experience - rustic carpentry & green wood work
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About the Course
This unique green woodworking stool making course is an opportunity to 'unplug & slow down' & take a step into the rural life of an old fashioned village carpenter. During this very 'hands on' experience you will learn many traditional carpentry skills & techniques using a selection of beautiful old hand tools.
You will walk away with a beautiful solid oak stool with a high quality finish (good enough to sell!) and made to last. Oak is used most of the time but sometimes there will be elm and ash timbers too.
The course fee is £85 per person for small groups of up to 4 people, so that everyone has plenty of time and space. If you would like to come one-on-one then the fee is £95.
The Rustic Carpentry workshop is an historic old tithe barn on a farm which is 5 mins drive from Loughborough train station (we can collect you from the station!)and right in the heart of The National Forest. We specialise in the ancient and traditional art of green wood working & rustic carpentry, coppicing and bush craft skills.
Ian Varley is a rustic oak furniture maker so most of his time is spent on commissions such as rustic benches and seating for parks and woodlands, play structures, cleft fencing and oak timber framing. Ian specialises in creating handcrafted unique pieces and use only timber sourced from sustainably managed woodlands within the boundaries of the national forest. Please click through to our website above to see examples of our work.
'I look forward to teaching you the way of the grain and you will leave my workshop with a fabulous rustic hard wood stool.'
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 materials, tools and hot drinks & as many biscuits as you can eat.
This experience was given to me as a birthday present. It was an excellent present. The course was fully hands on and extremely rewarding to attend. Ian is very knowledgeable and very friendly. The course was relaxed and there was plenty of time to complete each stage of the project without feeling rushed. The stool I made now has pride of place in my home and I sincerely look forward to visiting again for another one of his courses. I would recommend his courses to everyone.
Richard David Way - - #17023
What a brilliant experience! Ian is so passionate about his work and is a wonderful teacher. He took us through some of this history of wood working before showing us the traditional way to make two beautiful stools. It was hard work but we absolutely love the end product and they are now looking great in our home. We have learnt new skills and have a new found respect for this craft. We would like to thank Ian for a wonderful experience (and for all the cups of coffee) and would highly recommend this course to everyone-thank you!
Clare Mellor - - #16994
An absolutely amazing experience. Really enjoyed the workshop. Ian has done an excellent job of introducing the variety of traditional woodworking tools and techniques, and guiding us through various stages. Brought home with me a high quality stool, and a mallet that I made during the workshop.
Esin Esat - - #16423
Wasn't sure what I was letting myself in to - but I shouldn't have had any reservations. It was exactly what I wanted. Ian was both welcoming and understanding and his obvious passion for the craft is infectious. Given the time limitations I felt we achieved a great deal, with Ian's help and guidance. To come away with a mallet and an oak seat stool was very satisfying.
If you want to learn basic geenwood skills, then this is an excellent introduction to the craft. With people like Ian around, the skill, knowledge and appreciation will hopefully never fade.
Wahid Khan - - #16422
This was an amazing thing to do. I bought it as a gift for my younger son who is an artist and loves working with natural materials. I tagged along, more to spend some time doing something with him without the mayhem of the wider family. Ian was so friendly, knowledgeable and helpful that the hours went by really quickly. My stool has pride of place in our conservatory, where we spend most of our time now that we are retired! An added bonus is that I now have lots of Christmas present ideas for that son because he wants to do more woodcraft.
Erika Lax - - #16379
I was bought this experience for Christmas from my wife and took my dad on the day. It was great! Ian is very knowledgeable and very friendly and the class is very informal. Plenty of time to ask questions and try techniques out. We both had a great day and were VERY pleased with the stools we took home. We would highly recommend this course and I have mentioned it to some colleagues already.
Dean - - #16375
The day was like being at your mates workshop, having a good chat and creating some amazing work. Ian is incredibly competent, passionate and has a deep understanding in the history of the craft. Amazing practitioner too as I was able to have a nosey around his workshop at some of his projects. The day unfolds at a good pace and Ian is never more than a wood shaving away for some advice or keeping you moving in the right direction. A great day with a great guy (tutor).
Krishan Vara - - #16309
We had the BEST day making a mallet and stool each with Ian. The barn is perfectly in keeping with the traditional tools and feel of the day. Ian was great and taught us a lot. We are so pleased with the beautiful stools we have taken home and can’t wait to try another course with Ian! Thank you again for a lovely day :)
Katherine and Luke - - #16050
First course I got for my partner was the stool making, based on my partners experience and the excellent hand crafted stool he produced and the whole experience of being taught by a true craftsmen who is a mind of information and and is of a wonderful disposition, I decided to purchase the Bench making day for my adult son who has never put his hand to this sort of thing before,working as a manager and with a very busy home life with three children, time to just lose yourself in this craft for a few hours was the best experience of relaxation albeit physical but totally rewarding work to produce the most amazing Bench which is pride of place in my sons garden waiting to have its very own area to sit proudly in. Cannot praise Ian enough for the way he is in his patient and informative teaching manner, my son thoroughly enjoyed his experience (especially as I'd arranged it as a surprise for them both to be working on something together) and he was amazed at how it took him away from the rat race for two minutes and has learned a valuable pratical new skill and is already thinking of what he could do next. In short, give this course a try, you wont regret it and you'll have a life long memory of a wonderful day making something in the traditional way with excellent tutelage and be very proud of your work. Truly worth every penny.
KC Constantine - - #15511
What a fantastic day! Ian is a fabulous host/teacher, who is clearly passionate about green woodwork. His craftmanship is simply amazing, and the pieces of work that he produces, anyone would be proud to own. Right from the start he makes you feel very welcome, including providing you with a lovely cup of tea. For a novice who is keen to have a go and learn new skills, Ian is extremely patient. He guides you without being overbearing, and allows you the time to create your very own handcrafted stool. What can be better, than to have a day learning traditional skills, and to go home with a beautiful piece of furniture. Would highly recommend! Thank you Ian.
Karen M - - #15433
We spent a fantastic day in the sunshine making stools under Ian's expert guidance. It is obvious from the start that Ian has a passion and knowledge of green woodworking and with his friendly and relaxed teaching style makes for a wonderful day and you end up with a lovely stool to take home. Would fully recommend this workshop
Andrew & Geraldine - - #15041
What a fabulous 5 hours my son and I had. Ian is a brilliant teacher & his passion shines through. It is so theraputic & you end up with a beautiful & unique piece of furniture. Totally recommend. Thank you Ian for a splendid time
Jackie Cable - - #14385
Ian is very obviously passionate about wood and it's impossible not to have some of his enthusiasm rub off on you. With his instruction and support we produced lovely and useful oak and ash stools.
Thoroughly recommend this 1 day course as an introduction to working in green wood.
Bob Halsey - - #14294
Ian is very knowledgeable, interesting and a good teacher. We had an extremely enjoyable day. I would recommend this course to anyone.
Mike Dunn - - #14292
An excellent day. I really enjoyed learning from Ian, who is encouraging, knowledgable and clear in his guidance. It was fascinating to hear a bit about the history of the craft and see the tools, and very cool to end up with your own hand-made stool! Highly recommended.
Danielle - - #14193
Great course! Ian was an excellent teacher, patient, friendly and knowledgeable. And we came home with a lovely stool made of quality materials! Thoroughly recommend.
Liz - - #14161
I bought for my boyfriend for Christmas present. He absolutely loved the lesson and the end product. He learned a lot and cannot stop talking about it. Highly recommend Ian’s workshop.
Joanna - - #13793
A really enjoyable day, lots of interesting things to learn plus, because Ian is very passionate about his craft and the importance of maintaining these rural skills, that adds value to the time he puts into teaching them. There is also the bonus of walking away with your own stool.
If you need to find someway to break free from the pressure of a hectic work schedule, spend a few hours in Ian's workshop, it may help put things in perspective!
David Cox - - #13650
This course is great, I enjoyed it very much. I had no experience at all of working with wood beforehand, but with Ian’s patient and encouraging tuition I was able to take home a very strong, attractive and useful stool, with which I am delighted. I went to the course on my own, there was one other student on the day, and it was a very relaxed and comfortable atmosphere with plenty of one-on-one instruction. Thank you, Ian.
Valerie Faulks - - #13421
I Bought my partner a half day course (4-5) hours at £95 as a birthday gift. He has talked of doing woodworking crafts in his retirement in May and although only having done your usual DIY projects, he'd never done anything like this. This quite simply was the best present he'd ever had (his words), so without hesitation I'd recommend Ian and his workshops to anyone who wants to learn rustic and traditional carpentry skills using traditional methods and tools.
Ian is a natural teacher with a friendly disposition and helpful hints and tips. He is knowledgeable, patient and easy going, his passion for his craft is evident. He a very skilled person, my partner learnt a lot from him, this has certainly given him the excitement of retirement to look forward to to crack on with his own projects, he came away from the day with not only a mallet he'd made and a stool (very impressive, I must say) but also full of enthusiasm.
There is no doubt I would recommend his courses to all.
You can't go wrong by having this delightful man show you how he will give you the time and patience to explain the various stages of construction, using his wonderful high quality woodworking tools.
This is excellent value for money, learning so much and coming home with your very own quality hand crafted stool and tool. My partner already wants a longer session next time the all day bench making I think at £280, and at least I know every single penny is worth it.
What more can I say, I Highly Recommend.
KC Constantine - - #13371
I really enjoyed the stool making course with Ian Varley and another 'student', Helen. We were picked up from Loughborough rail station, which made the whole thing possible for me, which was great. We spent alot of time learning to use tools such as a fro, a side axe and a draw knife. We first practised by making a mallet, to learn how to use the draw knife, which we got to take home as well as the stool, so that was great. Ian was very friendly and encouraging and helped boost our confidence during the learning process. Ian reinforced the learning through repetition which really helped. The whole day was very informal, and we were able to take breaks when we wanted. Tea and biscuits were provided too. we also learned alot about Ians work and the place where he works which was interesting. It was a great day out, which I would repeat again at some point, to make a different object and learn how to use some other tools.
Ali Clark - - #13188
I actually live in London but decided to travel up to Leicestershire do this course after seeing all the recommendations and I'm very glad I did. The experience of learning to use the different woodworking tools was really enjoyable and I was really happy with the end result.
It was very gratifying to start the day with some branches of wood and go home with a hand-crafted piece of furniture at the end of it. Ian was a fantastic and enthusiastic teacher and I would recommend his courses without hesitation. I felt that the course was also very good value for money considering you get several hours of one-on-one tuition and a beautiful piece of furniture to go home with. I was also good knowing that you are helping to support a countryside business.
Helen M - - #13085
Great day and fantastic stool at the end of it!
Tom - - #13050
Excellent course! We spent the day making 2 beautiful oak stools. Ian welcomed us warmly and is an absolute gem! What a wonderful person and craftsman. He is passionate about his craft and is a great human being. We have left his workshop inspired and are grateful to have our furniture as a memory for this day! Thank you so much Ian.
Asli - - #12504
Had an incredible time with Ian hand crafting our very own rustic coffee table! Ian was so great to work with and we learnt so much from our 5 hours with him about different types of wood and all the many traditional tools. I booked this as a christmas present and it truly couldn't have been any better. Thanks Ian, we will be recommending to all our friends!
Hannah and Rob - - #12455
Ian was a fantastic tutor - passionate, knowledgeable, skilled and patient. For 5 hours I lost track of time and was immersed in a very different and new (to me), but ancient, skill. Both the mallet and stool I created have been in use today!
Mark Parsons - - #12446
Best 4 hrs course I've been on. So interesting excellent teaching style. Highly recommended.
Nick Smith - - #12373
My husband and I had an excellent day crafting a beautiful stool each which now take pride of place in our home! Ian was fantastic, full of patience, enthusiasm and knowledge. Highly recommended!
Charlotte Behan - - #12264
What an amazing day. Ian is a great teacher and I love my stool. To make something with traditional tools and my own hands has been so satisfying. I highly recommend Ian’s course to anyone looking for authentic traditional wood working. With natures magic - wood.
Rebecca - - #12128
Great time. Ian very patient and informative, taking through the whole process and learning all sorts of things. And you leave with a lovely stool that it's totally unique to you. We had a great time. Would definitely recommend.
Miriam - - #11763
Ian is a top bloke very patient and knowledgeable. It was a relaxed day working with my hands to create something myself with Ian's guidance that I could take home at the end of the day. Highly recommend.
Bryan Rampton - - #11655
We spent an absolutely fantastic half day at Ian's workshop making a pair of rustic stools. With little prior knowledge of the skills involved, Ian taught the basics of green woodworking, and through his gentle guidance and demonstration, we learnt so much from the day and returned home with two beautiful stools that we are so proud of. Ian's workshop is wonderful - full of interesting bits and bobs, and it was great to spend time with someone so dedicated and enthusiastic about his craft. We hope to return soon on another of his workshop days - and would highly recommend Ian's courses to anybody- keen woodworker or complete novice. Thank you Ian!
Olivia & Liam - - #11644
This course given to me as a gift from my daughter and my son in law. I had a really enjoyable and productive time with Ian in his workshop. I made the stool using the techniques taught and had the pleasure of learning about tools to not generally used in furniture production today. In the end I produced under Ian's guidance a very rustic stool.
Mike - - #11484
I attended this course with no previous experience of green wood working and it was an excellent introduction to a wide range of skills. Ian is patient, friendly and highly experienced in his craft. The course is also a great opportunity for a digital detox, time to disconnect from the world and focus on making something beautiful, we should all do a bit more of this! Mary
MaryEluned - - #11389
Ian's work shop was absolutely brill! Great vibe. Great skills to learn. Ian really knows his stuff and leads the course great. Would highly recommend t0 anyone considering a good day out with friends or family.
Will diffidently sign up for Ian's future wood working courses.
Patrica Ovens - - #11381
Truly amazing session. Wow!
I've no knowledge or skills in traditional wood working and want to learn from Ian who has been highly recommended.
I really liked the talked about traditional wood working skills. I would well recommend Ians workshops. 5 star. Amazing. :)
stefan Thomas - - #11338
We had a great time woodworking with Ian, my children (7 & 10) made walking staffs which are now regularly used on walks. They learned about the traditional tools they used, the different types of wood and found themselves immersed in 'the making'.
Ian is a natural teacher with a very gentle & patient manner and his passion for the craft is inspiring.
Renee Brailsford - - #11319
Wow, I have just spent an afternoon with Ian. I am exhausted and elated!! I left with my beautiful stool and a mind full of greenwood working advice. I hope to return soon to learn more from this amazing craftsman. Thank you so much, our time together was truly inspiring.
Mart S - - #11286
I enjoyed the day from start to finish. Learnt some great new skills and have come home with a beautiful stool. I'd definitely recommend this course.
Jacquee - - #11012
What a great experience that turned out to be !.........enjoyed the whole day & feeling quite proud of myself for making a lovely stool.......looking forward to doing another one of Ian's courses....top bloke!!!
brian - - #11011
What a great course! Ian is a great teacher and loves what he dose. I really enjoyed it and would 100% recommend it! Thanks Ian!
Ben - - #10891
I have recently been on Ian's stool making course at his wonderful tithe barn workshop, just outside barrow upon Soar. From the offset it was a great experience. I was introduced to the concepts of greenwood working and the related tools and their use. He is a proper craftsman and takes the time and patience to explain the various stages of construction, using his wonderful array of high quality woodworking tools. I would thoroughly recommend Ian and his courses to anyone with an interest in this field. Plus you get to take home what you have made on the day!
Simon c Ford - - #10885
Ian is a master. He has the the skill of a hundred men. I made a stunning stool with no previous knowledge. I left after my time with ian on cloud nine. Id highly recconmend this course.
Alec pearson - - #10848
My wife was scouring the internet looking for a unique 5 year wedding anniversary gift and found Ian's website... and im very glad she did.
My brother and I met Ian at his workshop on the Saturday morning, and the first job was to make a wooden mallet out of what seemed an old tree trunk! That was hard work in itself, learning how to effectively swing a hatchet. We then spent the day using various woodworking tools to make a rustic oak table using traditional methods. With a hour or so ledt over, we were also able to make a walking stick each.
My table now has pride of place in my living room, the walking stick is used frequently when we're off rambling.
Would I recommend this course? Without hesitation! Ian was a great laugh, full of patience and funny anecdotes as we crafted away... oh and tea. Plenty of tea!
Robert Banks - - #10777
I have met Ian a few times at different country shows and I always show an interest in what he is making. Wood working is an hobby of mine and to my surprise my wife and children had booked me on to one of Ian's courses. I had a wonderful time. I learnt new skills and how to use the old traditional hand tools. I have since bought myself some. I had such a wonderful day that I have booked to go again in a couple of weeks time. Ian is a very easy going and skilled person, I learnt a lot from him. I would recommend his courses to all.
Darren White - - #10728
Such a good experience. Ian is knowledgeable, patient and fun. The time he spent showing us how to make our stools was impressive. He really felt for the wood and our hands working it and managed to pass on that empathy.
The finished article is saleable yes, but its going to stay with me to remind me of an ace day. Thanks Ian!
Phil Leng - - #10711
This was a lovely surprise gift from family. The experience was very enjoyable and engaging creating this beautiful oak stool using traditional methods by hand. Ian was a relaxed, friendly and helpful teacher with good hints and tips on using the tools. It was a great experience to receive and I would certainly recommend this experience to all.
Martin - - #10635
I attended one of Ian's workshops a couple of weeks ago with my daughter as a friend recommended him to me.
I was slightly apprehensive as I've no knowledge or skills in traditional wood working and didn't no what to expect.
On our arrival we were both greeted by Ian who was a softly spoken very welcoming gentleman, he explained what he did for a living and talked about traditional wood working skills.
Whilst there my daughter and myself made stools under the watchful eye and guidance of Ian, the whole experience was amazing for both of us and Ian amazing workshop just added to the feel of such a creative process.
I would strongly recommend this to anyone, great day awesome Guy.
We will definitely be back soon.
Mick - - #10634
Ian was excellent throughout the workshop and showed patience, understanding and a great attitude to my 10yr old daughter. He encouraged her with how to use the tools correctly without being over-bearing and was patient with her when she complained about it being hard work!
Ruby came away with a great stall she made with Ian and has been very proud to show and tell every visitor to the garden about how she made it from just "lumps of wood".
I'd recommend Ian and his workshops to anyone who wants to learn rustic and traditional carpentry skills using traditional methods and tools.
Alan Ranger - - #10579
Ian's workshop was absolutely brilliant - I bought it as a gift and couldn't have been happier with how well it went down! My husband learnt so many new skills and crafted his own stool which is now a favourite piece of furniture in our home. Ian was so incredibly friendly and helpful, he really does offer a warm and inviting experience which you won't forget. I'd highly recommend his workshops!
Kathryn Pattison - - #10571
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Course Start Dates
Course dates are flexible; please get in touch for the next available date.
- Accessible by public transport
- Child friendly
- Disabled access
- Suitable for events & groups
- Teen friendly
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