As a member of the Register of Professional Turners, (RPT) I run these courses from my well equipped workshop in North Devon. I can arrange courses for all levels of experience, from complete beginners to the more experienced. I recommend a structured course for beginners which will cover both bowl turning and an introduction to spindle turning. For the more experienced I can tailor each course to meet the student's specific requirements. I can cover all aspects from improving tool techniques to specialist hollow forms, adding colour (stains, dyes and various painting techniques), different texturing techniques, wood conversion and drying and green or wet turning.
These are hands on courses and the student will have access to one of three lathes and to my 28 years of turning experience. As well as teaching in my own workshop, I teach regularly at West Dean College in West Sussex and have taught and demonstrated woodturning throughout Europe, New Zealand and the USA.
The price shown is per person per day.
If you want to try your hand at woodturning or want to develop your your skills further or have a specific project that you need help with, please get in touch.
Cancellation and a full refund can be obtained up to 2 weeks before the course starts. Start dates may be amended on request.
- all tools and materials are included
- all Personal protective equipment
- comprehensive course notes
- a choice of weekends or week days
- refreshments and a light lunch will also be provided.
Local accommodation can be arranged
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.
My wife and I recently did a one day lesson with Colin for wood turning in his workshop.
Neither of us had any experience and didn’t really know if at the end of the day what we might end up taking home.
Colin was great, his experience and knowledge was amazing, his instructions and understanding of our abilities put us both at ease, we learnt (and did) the whole process from a slice of tree trunk, to attach to a lathe, woodturning/cutting, sanding and types of finishes. At the end of the day we had made two fantastic bowls. We are both so proud and amazed what we had achieved in one day.
Thank you for a great day’s experience Colin and thanks to his wife who made a very tasty lunch.
I had an excellent day with Colin, I learnt so much in a short time thanks to his patience, understanding and formidable depth of knowledge. I thoroughly recommend his course to anyone interested in wood turning.
Response from Devon Wood Crafts:Thank you John. Happy turning!
Sarah and I booked a joint single day course with Colin and we were really impressed with his professional but relaxed approach, his knowledge and expertise, his patience and his ability to work with people with different skill levels. We felt we learnt so much in a single day. Colin answered every question no matter how simple and gave us both confidence to try everything before us. We have recently acquired a second hand lathe and Colin invited us to bring the lathe chisels, which he assessed, explained their uses and sharpened. All in all we got everything out of the day we could have hoped for and more....and left with a great bowl each! A brilliant day!
Response from Devon Wood Crafts:Thank you Mark and Sarah. I enjoyed the day too. Happy Turning!
I was given a one day course with Colin with no idea what to expect and with no wood turning knowledge. I was greeted with great enthusiasm, but had no need to worry Colin had great skills and patience.The day just whizzed by.I managed to make a lovely bowl and egg cup, will be booking another session .Well I think it was a great bowl.Thank you Colin.
Response from Devon Wood Crafts:Thanks Malcolm. I had a great day too.
Well what can I say apart from I had a brilliant day. Learnt loads of techniques, my fear of the skew is no more, and honestly if you are thinking of having a go at turning or you want to improve then book a day or two with Colin, it's great fun, I also feel I have found a friend. Thanks again. Bob.
Response from Devon Wood Crafts:Thanks Bob. I also enjoyed the day. Keep in touch and if I can help in the future, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Hope to see you At North Devon Woodturners next year.
Having seen Colin demonstrat at my local club in West Sussex which I found very interesting the family as part of my 70 th Birthday present the family gave me a days tutoring with Colin, as a self taught turner I found the day very beneficial to me we started with sharpening of tools the on to techniques,after coffee we moved on to spindle turning witch was very helpful the finished the day by sorting out my problems when bowl turning .Colin has a wealth of information which he is very happy to pass it on to his students, I can thoroughly recommend this course, thanks Colin for making my 70th Birthday such a memorable one .
I spent the day with Colin on his woodturning course. It was a fantastic day where I learnt techniques, safety and more. I am very pleased with the bowl I was able to produce on my course and have definitely got the woodturning bug now and wish to progress further.
Colin is a friendly knowledgeable chap with a passion for what he does.
Response from Devon Wood Crafts:Thanks Nicky, much appreciated.
As a complete beginner with a lathe I didn’t really know what to expect from my day with Colin. His patience and excellent tutoring saw me leaving with a lovely bowl and egg cup and proud memories of an excellent day. Would recommend this course to both beginners and advanced students.
Response from Devon Wood Crafts:Many thanks for this feedback, Philip. Much appreciated
Just had a second day with Colin, previous one about 3 years ago and always intended to return after some practice. Again really enjoyed the day, Colin is very good company and an excellent teacher. I felt we covered all the areas I wanted to. I have no hesitation in recommending Colin as a teacher to wood turners of any level.
I’ve just had my third day with Colin; the first was as described above. The second was when he kindly came over to my newly fitted out albeit cramped workshop and went through all the equipment which I had acquired en masses from a retired woodturner. I decided to have a 3rd day with him - this was to be a needs-led day with it being very much what I wanted to discuss and practice on having started the hobby and having had my more than fair share of problems. The day didn’t disappoint. We started by going through preparing blanks (I am lucky to have a good supply of forested hardwood), techniques in minimising problems in seasoning and green turning. This was followed by some more specific problems I was having such as the problems I was encountering with the shape of the sharpened bowl gouge I was having, deep hollowing and the confusion that I suspect all beginners have with what finishing products to use and when. All in all another excellent day.
What a great session with Colin, all the other reviews have said what I wanted to say. I had the pleasure of a full day of tuition under Colin's expert eye in the comfort of my own workshop, this was great as I was being taught using my lathe and tools. At the end of the session I had the confidence to turn on my own and maintain my tools. I will be looking to book another day or two very soon.
We attended a one day course as two complete novices. Great experience. Clear instructions, excellent equipment and a watchful but unobtrusive eye. The balance between instruction and letting us make our our safe mistakes was perfect. We both learnt a lot and had an excellent day. Highly recommended.
I was given this one day workshop as a birthday gift and it was brilliant! I had a wonderful day with Colin and under his gentle instruction made a bowl and a goblet! I wasn't expecting to be able to achieve so much but Colin made it very easy to understand and the way he would do a demonstration and then watch as I followed made for some great progress.
If you have an itch to have a go at turning then I can't recommend Colin enough. I'll be back for a follow up course once I have practiced up on my own lathe that I am sure I'll buy soon!
Thanks very much Colin. I had a really great day.
I have just spent two thoroughly enjoyable, satisfying and educational days with Colin. As a complete wood-turning novice and admirer of turned wood, I was keen to find out whether wood-turning would provide an outlet for working with my hands and for creativity. Colin’s tuition was just what I needed. He patiently and clearly provides the right balance between theory and practice and enabled me to come away from the weekend with pieces that delighted and surprised my family as much as me. Colin strikes just the right balance between guiding, correcting and making space to learn by practice. Unequivocally and whole-heartedly recommended. Very Many Thanks Colin.
Just spent three days with Colin and learnt so much. I have previously had some turning tuition in group classes, so this was a great opportunity to iron out the bad habits, gain confidence and learn new techniques and skills. The three days were tailored to my exact requirements and interests, but with sufficient flexibility to explore new things when an opportunity arose. Colin is an excellent teacher, with endless patience combined with a good sense of humour. Thoroughly enjoyable, definitely recommended.
I thoroughly enjoyed my two days private tuition with Colin. I left with far more than the three pieces turned whilst in his company! As I'm self-taught, Colin was able to expand my knowledge and confidence - tool use and finishing techniques particularly - correcting errors as necessary, all in a very relaxed manner. As others have noted, he is an excellent teacher and I have no hesitation recommending him to others.
Recent acquired an old Myford lathe which I have restored, Colin did an excellent job of teaching me basic turning technique to get me going and catered what he taught to the equipment I have available at home.
Spent most of the day making a bowl which I am very pleased with the out come and a now trying to replicate on my own lathe.
He also did a quick intro into sharpening the tools and explaining how to sharpen the one I had and advised on the tools that would help me get started.
Excellent day worth it even if you just want to try your hand at wood turning for a day.
What a great couple of days. I was really tired at the end of the second day (and the first, truth be told), but only because I'd had to focus on one thing, and that was what Colin was telling me. I made a few mistakes, especially towards the end of the second day, feeling a bit cocky I suppose. As a teacher Colin cannot be faulted, I've read some of the previous reviews and don't want to waste our time repeating them. 5 stars deserved.
I spent an invaluable day with Colin relearning many long forgotten turning techniques. Colin judged what I wanted to gain from the day perfectly. He gave enough slack for my confidence to build whilst being patient when things needed to be repeated (and repeated!) I came away with two beautiful bowls and a renewed enthusiasm for my lath. In addition Colin also reshaped and sharpened all my tools. I would heartily recommend paying him a visit.
There has been a fifty year gap since I last tried my hand at wood turning and, as with a lot of things, tools and techniques have changed during that time. I was a trifle rusty. Colin quickly determined the style of coaching that I respond to best and, over a two day period, patiently guided me through the steps required in order to get me started again. He explained what had to be done, why it had to be done and how to do it before demonstrating how to do it myself. He then observed my attempts and corrected me (diplomatically) has I tried to apply the skills he had imparted. It was a very useful two days and I would recommend Colin and his courses to anyone that wishes to take up the craft or improve their existing skills. Most enjoyable and very useful.
Bowl turning. I have just had one amazing day with Colin, learning how to turn a bowl, tool sharpening and how to process wood. The tuition was brilliant and Colin was so easy to get on with. He instills confidence in you so that you can enjoy the 'magic' of turning. I came away with a beautiful bowl and lots of new skills.
I was given a days introductory course by my wife as a retirement gift - probably in the hope it would get me out of her way! I had always loved wood as a material but prior to the course had no experience of turning and only collected wood to add to my log store. But I have become an enthusiast thanks to Colin. His style is very much “let’s crack on and make something” so it is from the start a hands on no nonsense practical approach. He was a very effective tutor and had no end of patience with, at times, my rather stupid questions. I took away not just a very presentable bowl but an understanding of the basics which has only encouraged me to pursue things further. Highly recommended.
I contacted Colin on the personal recommendation of an instrument maker so I knew already that he is an expert. As well as being an expert craftsman he is an endlessly patient, gifted and humorous teacher, and gave this novice invaluable help with the things like the correct positioning and movement of the body when making specific cuts, how to sharpen tools quickly and efficiently,as well as tailored advice regarding lathes and equipment.I would thoroughly recommend him.Many thanks Colin!
I have been thinking about taking up woodturning for a while as more time becomes available as I move into retirement, but wanted to have an introductory course before committing to any serious expenditure on equipment. The day spent with Colin was just what I wanted and has definitely whetted my appetite to progress further into this interesting aspect of working with wood. My wife was suitably impressed with the bowl and eggcup that I produced, so that will help when I come back from the forthcoming Harrogate Show with several purchases to get things underway! It is always helpful to have a decent set of notes to bring away from a course and Colin provides just that.
Thanks again Colin for an excellent and informative day that I can thoroughly recommend to anyone wishing to take up turning or perhaps just wanting some practical tuition from an expert.
I spent the most wonderful day with Colin. I booked myself a one on one tutorial for the day as an introduction to woodturning. With no experience at all of lathes or turning wood of any description I relied on Colin to teach me from scratch. I thoroughly enjoyed the day and having turned my first bowl and egg cup to a standard I thought well out of my capabilities.... I can thoroughly endorse Colin's teaching ability and the structure of his day course. He was a superb guiding hand throughout the day but let you learn and progress at your own speed. Lunch was superb and I am looking forward to booking a secondary day course soon. Thanks again Colin - your skills were first class and seeing your work gives me something to aim for now.....
I had an excellent day with Colin learning the basics of wood turning. Being a D&T teacher I wanted to get our school lathe back up and running and Colin gave lots of helpful advice about how I could apply things in a school situation. I thoroughly enjoyed the day and not only got lots of information relating to D&T but came away feeling very proud of my finished products. 5
I spent 2 fantastic days with Colin, learning the basics of wood turning. Aside from him being a thoroughly nice bloke, Colin is extremely thorough when explaining techniques. Nothing is too much trouble and if a question arises which is at a tangent to the project you are working on, he often 'chucked up' a rough piece of wood in a spare lathe to demonstrate his point.
Colin is a great instructor. He is extremely patient and he explains everything clearly, but mostly, he ensures that you get plenty of time on the lathe to master the techniques he passes on. I now need to put into practice what I have learned, but I will definitely be back for more training in the near future.
I attended 3 day course with my partner. The course was personalised completely for our requirements - we got exactly what we wanted from the course
Colin is undoubtedly a subject matter expert and an excellent tutor and maker of tea!
We had a great few days with Colin, learning lots and spending time with a person who clearly loves this creative artform.
Go spend some time in beautiful Devon learning and creating beautiful items.
I have just spent 3 days learning with Colin and have found it a genuinely enjoyable experience. From having no knowledge of woodturning at all, I am now desperate to get my own lathe and start creating! Colin is not only very experienced and knowledgeable about his subject, but also a good teacher. He was patient, interested and constantly on hand to guide with plenty of positive words about every mishap (or 'design opportunity' as he calls them). I would thoroughly recommend working with Colin.
I have just spent an educational and very enjoyable day with Colin learning the basics of woodturning. He is an excellent tutor and has a relaxed yet informative style. After a short demonstration of each technique from Colin, I was "let loose" and allowed to work on the lathe which means that I went home at the end of the day with some pieces of work of which I am excessively proud. I think that he may have introduced me to a new hobby!
I had a really good and very helpful day with Colin. His relaxed style and patient manner made learning the basics relaxing but informative. I felt like safety was there throughout but without being rammed down your throat and he was happy to let you try things for a moment before correcting you or tweaking your technique. I had only turned a few items before by just sticking something on the lathe and hoping for the best so Colin was great for a proper intro to turning and basic techniques as well as sharpening tools and what to use when. I'll have to go back to improve my spindle work i reckon!
2 days with Colin was twice as good as 1 day ! Anyone who enjoys the feel and smell of wood will love learning the basics and not so basics of lathe work from this friendly enthusiast . Colin is happy to taylor the time to whatever the student wants (or needs) to cover, but with safety and careful explanation of techniques as the starting point. Very worthwhile and very much recommended.
Great day. Would not hesitate to recommend course. Far exceeded my expectation. Excellent and patient teacher. Day was given as Birthday gift. Had not turned before but now feel confident to use lathe and sharpen tools.
I've just read through most of the reviews left by others and they all concur that Colin is a really good patient teacher. And that the day went far too quickly. I visited last week with my partner for a day of novice bowl making and spindle turning. We came away with two lovely bowls and a huge amount of confidence. Colin is obviously a very experienced teacher. He is so gentle and never makes you feel you are making a horlicks of it, even when it looks like you are. His wife, Skye, is lovely too and she prepared us a delicious lunch. It was a fabulous day and we are so proud of our handiwork. Thanks Colin.
My wife surprised me with a wonderful birthday present. I had a great day with Colin. Being a novice turner, the one on one tuition was brilliant. It gave me a lot more confidence and put me right on numerous methods. The real bonus was using a bowl gouge with the Ellsworth grind, I immediately put it on mine next day and so far its transforming my turning. I feel I have more control. The day went so quickly I was disappointed when it came to an end. Lunch was great too. Well worth the investment.. Thanks once again Colin.
What a great day.
I have a little experience in wood turning producing my own bowls and pens. Colin structured the day around my needs and ability and with the comprehensive course notes supplied I hope to retain most of the techniques. I learnt so much! Colin is a great teacher with loads of experience to be able to give practical demonstrations and techniques. He has various tools and examples of items to help clarify the most muddled of students.
The advice received has saved me hundreds of pounds on buying unnecessary items so well worth the cost of the course which is very reasonable anyway.
It is clear Colin enjoys teaching, he is patient and very helpful, the hours just flew by. I would not be able to recommend Colin enough whether you have never experience wood turning before and want to try something new or you want to consolidate and build on your experience.
I will definitely be going back, there is so much more to learn!
Since my days in the school workshop (a while ago now) I have always had a desire to try my hand at turning wood so I was given a one day introductory course. Colin is not only a master of his craft but also an brilliant teacher. The day gave me all the basic techniques and tool handling skills to safely get started turning along with tool sharpening and wood finishing. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and would highly recommend it to anyone who has an interest in turning. I came away inspired and with a rather nice oak bowl! Colin's courses are one-on-one and he tailors them to your needs so I shall definitely be returning to hone my skills with his excellent tuition.
Colin has a wealth of experience and knowledge for woodturning, but importantly is an excellent and patient teacher. Everything was covered in a logical and friendly way combined with enthusiasm and a genuine love for what he does. I was provided with a vast amount of notes prior to the course, and he was flexible and willing to tailor the day to specific needs, making sure I got what I wanted out of the day. Incredible value for money considering all the equipment, materials, constant supply of coffee and skill of the teacher.
On top of all this, Colin is a really nice guy and a pleasure to spend the day with! Next time I'm in Devon I'll definitely be back.
I really enjoyed my one day course with Colin. We covered a lot of ground in the time available, this included bowl turning, spindle turning techniques and sharpening. Colin's approach is very relaxed, he is patient, knowledgeable and enthusiastic. I would highly recommend the course.
This course is ideal for the aspirant wood turner and you could not have a more knowledgeable or inspiring teacher than Colin. As an absolute beginner I appreciated the open and friendly style of Colin's instruction and I came away with some nice pieces of wood but, more importantly, the necessary information to start turning on my own.
The whole day was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and I would recommend this course without hesitation.
While on holiday in north Devon I spent a very enjoyable and informative day with Colin. His knowledge and teaching techniques are second to none. I now wish I had done a 3 day course with him, so will have to spend more time with him next time I'm in Devon. Thanks for a great day Colin.
I received a 1 day course Colin as a present for my 65th birthday. Having carried out some woodturning following a course some 20+ years ago and then not using the lathe for the last 6 or 7 years my techniques and confidence had been lost. Colin has restored my confidence and updated my techniques. He is an excellent Instructor who is able to discuss options with you and customise the course content to allow the student to gain maximum benefit from the course.
I have no hesitation in recommending a course with Colin and look forward to being able to book another course to develop new skills with Colin's excellent tuition. Thank you Colin and the notes provide handy reminders.
As a beginner to wood turning and had never worked on a lathe before with Colin's relaxed, clear and conscious instruction I was soon developing a feel and skill set to use the tools. With his enthusiasm I am now looking to join the world of the wood turner. A big thank you to Collin for a brilliant day that went all to quickly.
I spent a very enjoyable day with Colin Simpson and achieved far more than I thought was possible.
He was very supportive and greatly helped me to produce a large candlestick; which happily my wife was delighted with.
I cannot thank Colin enough for his friendly direction and can thoroughly recommend his course to other prospective woodturners out there.
I shall certainly continue this hobby on my retirement next year.
Just had a full day one-to-one turning course with Colin. His expertise and experience are second to none and he is a superb communicator. I was put at my ease, made to feel relaxed and at home (literally - a very pleasant lunch in Colin's kitchen was included!) and most importantly I was taught dozens of new skills in turning and sharpening. Excellent! Most enjoyable! Highly recommended!
The other reviews are spot on. Colin is a very good teacher with endless patience. I thoroughly enjoyed my day with him and came away with the best bowl I have turned to date, a box with a lid that fits, my tools properly sharpened and a host of new skills to practice. Many thanks Colin!
I was given a 1 day course for my 60th Birthday, colin was very easy to get on with and explained how to do things in simple steps, as a beginner i managed to produce 3 pieces!! my wife and daughter were very impressed. I would love to do more but will need more lessons to learn how to hold tools correctly without having to check, as I was taught so many different types of cut using a variety of tools.
Well worth the cost and effort, a great day I would recommend it to anyone very satisfying great fun Lovely day, if you can do it you will not regret it.
Having just spent a day with my 12 year old son on a beginner session with Colin I can say that every previous review is spot on. His enthusiasm for his craft is clear but its the calm, consistent approach that really has really given us confidence to get started turning on own. The day itself is really well structured and the fact that we both had fun and came away with beautiful finished bowls was just great.
Trying my hand at woodturning was something I had wanted to do for a very long time, and as a complete novice, I was as keen to learn, as Colin was to teach.
Having run through the necessary safety matters, Colin demonstrated a few of the basics, and before long, I was doing it myself!
As an introduction to faceplate and spindle turning, this was definitely a day well spent. I came away feeling confident that this was something I could do, and most of all, enjoy doing. Watching videos and reading books is fine, but there is no substitute for actually stepping up to the plate. And coming away with a bowl and an egg cup, made me very happy indeed.
So thank you Colin for your patience, and for your clear explanation of what a novice like myself needs to know!
I had not used a lathe since leaving school nearly half a century ago. The only techniques that I could remember had left me with bad habits! Colin's endless patience and calm manner was able to correct these faults and his clear method of teaching and undoubted enthusiasm was infectious.
I finished the day with renewed determination to follow this up with practice at home, and with a beech bowl which now sits proudly on our kitchen table!
I hope to make a return visit to Colin again soon for phase 2.
From the outset I was made welcome and it's obvious that Colin has a real interest and dedication to his subject, plus endless patience. I spent a very enjoyable day learning quite a number of techniques including tool sharpening which is the single most important thing... I can thoroughly recommend this course to anyone and I can imagine that I will be back to see Colin myself again soon.
I thoroughly enjoyed the day and I was impressed by Colin's endless patience and enthusiasm for his work; also by his skills as a woodturner. I would certainly go back. Thank you.
I was given a two day course by my wife for Christmas and as this is something I had always wanted to try I was delighted and couldn't wait to book it. I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the course. I was a little apprehensive when it came down to it but Colin soon put me at ease and before long I had forgotten my nerves. His patience and ability to judge the level at which you are comfortable at whilst also pushing you a little out of your comfort zone was perfect, I learnt loads and hope to continue my new hobby. Very much recommended, thank-you Colin!
I am a senior citizen who has never used a lathe, but was always curious. My wife gave me a one-day introductory course with Colin, and I could not be more pleased. His patient explanations, demonstrations, and tolerance for novice mistakes gave me an appetite for much more. It was worth the trip from London to Devon, and were the distance shorter I would already have signed on for a followup.
Colin is an awe-inspiring woodturner and also an excellent teacher who takes care to ensure his students actually learn and make progress. At the same time he has a great sense of humour and is great fun to be with. I spent three highly enjoyable days at his workshop improving the few skills I already had, learning new skills and techniques and improving my confidence considerably. I also appreciated his design talent which helped me make the best of the pieces of wood – one in particular quite exotic – that I took along. I feel now I can really make substantial progress back in my own garage and make my competence with handling wood come much closer to my passion for it. Many thanks, Colin!
Just finished a 2 day course with Colin. I started as a self taught beginner with bad habits and a complete lack of correct technique. I can honestly say I have had a brilliant 2 days being put right. He has a great relaxed manner of teaching and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I also came away with some nice projects. Definitely recommended.
I attended a one day course of private tuition. As a complete beginner, I had little idea what to expect and had a lot to learn. However, the whole day was a great experience. Colin's teaching style is relaxed but he inspires confidence, and throughout the day I learned an enormous amount, had great fun and came away with some beautiful pieces of wood! I thoroughly recommend this experience.