Ben Willis Woodcraft reviews

13 Jan 23'

Gareth Clayton reviewed: Make a Welsh stick chair

"This course was excellent and Ben is a very accomplished, welcoming and patient instructor. The end product is amazing and you genuinely feel like you have had the majority of the input in making it. I learned a lot from the course and looked forward to each day. Highly recommended!"

17 Oct 22'

Tom reviewed: Make a Windsor-style stool

"I had the best time on Ben's stool making course. Ben's very friendly and knowledgeable allowing any novices to learn the skills to leave with a stool to be proud of! The workshop is very well equipped and plenty of time is spent explaining the skills needed both as a group and 1 to 1. Would highly recommend to anyone"

25 Jun 22'

Melvyn Cole reviewed: Make a Welsh stick chair

"What a great experience! As a man that has tools, this course was an eye opener. Not only didn't I have any of the tools needed for this adventure in my own collection, I'd never heard of them either. This mattered not a jot, as Ben had all the tools necessary to hand craft a beautiful Welsh Stick Chair from, well, basically a laying down tree. All I had to do was provide the sweat. I had a great week with an amazing group of people and would certainly do it again. Highly recommended."

9 May 22'

Harald Lamon reviewed: Make a Welsh stick chair

"The perfect setting, a very skilled and enthusiastic teacher, beautiful wood to work with and quality sharp tools. All that made me go home with an amazing chair I 'm really proud of! Thanks again Ben!! Harald from Belgium. (www.lepelhuis.be)"

5 May 22'

John reviewed: Make a Welsh stick chair

"Having done a couple of courses at Ben's workshop in London, I couldn't wait to give this one a go. Redwood Valley is lovely, the workshop is really well equipped and the local town is good for a pizza and a few pints when you're done for the day. Ben is a natural teacher, an expert craftsman and above all a really nice bloke. He has designed the course brilliantly, with a mixture of teamwork (steam bending was great) and individual time on the shave horse. Our group ranged in ability from experienced woodworkers to total beginners and everyone came away with an impressive chair. I'll have fond memories of that week for years to come, not only because I have made a lovely piece of furniture for the home, but spending seven days with a group of lovely people, working and eating together."

2 May 22'

Shaun Thomas reviewed: Make a Welsh stick chair

"After the first day I was apprehensive and told my wife not to expect too much. With no greenwood experience it looked like a tough ask to produce any level of quality. By the end of day three I felt I’d already learned so much and was so much more comfortable with the tools and working the wood. I was learning new things every day - all of them useful. To put a cherry on top we have a great hand made chair that I am truly proud of. Despite the amount of work we had to do and the learning curve the whole experience was relaxing, absorbing and invigorating at the same time. Thank you Ben, I hope to join you again next spring to build on all I’ve learned so far."

1 May 22'

Alex Harris reviewed: Make a Welsh stick chair

"Ben is an excellent teacher and his immense knowledge allows him to answer all questions, help with any problems and teach anyone to construct an incredibly complicated chair! I had a memorable week and though it was hard work, I had an incredible time and I’m proud of my achievements and my lovely chair! I’d recommend this course to anyone, I’ve learnt so much and met loads of nice people and worked in a lovely setting. Somehow it was exhausting and relaxing at the same time."

20 Aug 21'

Barry Bailey reviewed: Make a Welsh stick chair

"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."

15 Aug 21'

Paul Rees reviewed: Make a Welsh stick chair

"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!"

11 Aug 21'

Steve Cooper reviewed: Make a Welsh stick chair

"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."

11 Aug 21'

Bridget Thompson reviewed: Make a Welsh stick chair

"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........"

11 Aug 21'

Rhys Phillips reviewed: Make a Welsh stick chair

"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!"

16 Aug 20'

Kevin Hollings reviewed: Make a Welsh stick chair

"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."

13 Aug 20'

Stephen Dobbison reviewed: Make a Welsh stick chair

"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."

4 Aug 20'

Kevin Fisher reviewed: Make a Welsh stick chair

"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."

20 Feb 20'

Rhys reviewed: Make a live-edge bench or table

"Ben really encourages participants to get an authentic green woodworking experience regardless of their skills - I had none when I started- so that everyone can produce something to be proud of. I will do more courses with Ben!"

21 Jan 20'

Shyam reviewed: Make a Windsor-style stool

"I had a great time. Ben gives clear and interesting descriptions and demonstrations and helps you just the right amount. It’s good fun trying out all the different tools. Time flies! I love my new stool, too."

20 Jan 20'

Steve H reviewed: Make a Windsor-style stool

"I really enjoyed this course - learnt loads and got a great little stool at the end of it. Ben really knows his stuff and communicates it very well; friendly, patient and just an all round good guy. His workshop is well set up too. I will hopefully be doing more with him soon. Thoroughly recommended."

20 Jan 20'

John reviewed: Make a Windsor-style stool

"Incredible fun and rewarding weekend. Ben is a fantastic teacher - extremely knowledgeable, patient and attentive. Not to mention a really nice bloke. Learned an awful lot and took home something I am proud to say I made. I'll certainly be returning to take another course soon. Cheers Ben!"

3 Nov 19'

Nicola reviewed: Make a live-edge bench or table

"Really enjoyed and looked forward to our evening sessions. Ben took us through the process step by step and managed the class well allowing us to progress at our our pace but all finishing with a lovely piece of furniture for our homes. Would like to do another course with Ben in the future. The course was more physical than I was expecting but definitely beats a session in the gym!"

29 Sep 19'

Christopher Hadley reviewed: Make a Welsh stick chair

"Absolutely wonderful course. This is the third course I have done with Ben, having done his stool and chair courses in London. Taking a week out of the city to work intensively on a chair was, however, a totally different experience. The location of the workshop is beautiful, and it really feels like you are away from everything. The workshop offers protection from the inevitable Welsh rain from time to time, while being mostly exposed, allowing you to enjoy the woodland flowers while working! The course is well structured, and the workshop has plenty of good quality tools for everyone to crack on in parallel. Ben is a great tutor - he has a lot of patience and always manages to rescue novice errors! He is a thoroughly nice chap too, and our group got on really well. I did this back in May/June of this year but have only just got around to writing this review. Looking back, this was one of the most fun, peaceful and rewarding weeks of recent years. I'm absolutely delighted with my chair, which will look great in my new flat. I hope to be back one day!"

6 Sep 19'

Campbell reviewed: Make a Welsh stick chair

"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!"

16 Jul 19'

AL White reviewed: Make a Welsh stick chair

"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}"

20 Jun 19'

Ruari reviewed: Make a live-edge bench or table

"A great course for all experience of wood work. Ben is a great teacher and gives you the confidence to give everything a go unsupervised. You will surprise yourself with the end product achieved in a relatively small amount of time. Fantastic way to spend a weeknight!"

19 Jun 19'

Dan Bailey reviewed: Make a live-edge bench or table

"I honestly cannot recommend this course highly enough. Even if you haven’t an interest in woodwork / green woodworking, you are basically dead inside if you don’t find this course engaging, fun, challenging and absorbing. Ben is a natural tutor and he sets an excellent pace - which is no easy feat when leading a disparate class. His course draws you in and it is the perfect way to empty your mind of the detritus of the working day. As you might expect there is ‘instruction’ at times - which is absolutely necessary, but Ben is never patronising (even when novices like me ask really obvious / stupid questions) - and he never holds back on giving gentle guidance after you’ve forgotten what he just taught you. Ben encourages you to make the piece your own, clearly explaining the available parameters, and he shares his experience in abundance, punctuated with titbits of interesting and relevant knowledge. All of this is delivered with good humour and in a relaxed atmosphere. You won’t regret doing this course.…and the results are pretty spectacular - people will want to buy what you made!"

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