The course was fantastic. I learnt so much about how to maintain your axe and to use them safely and to the maximum of their potential. Dave and his volunteers were really helpful and made the two days really enjoyable! My confidence using an axe has improved greatly since doing the course.
Matt Grayson - - #17746
Great course! Very knowledgeable and skilful tutor.
Learned how to use and maintain a variety of axe types. Covered a lot of different techniques from felling to carving and how other tools can compliment axes for use in all sorts of tasks.
Amazing how much we got through even though it rained so much!
Jamie Pennington - - #17591
I loved every minute of the course. It was wonderful having access to the tremendous experience of Dave, the course leader. I learned such a lot and I could see that others did too. I'll certainly be putting my newly aquired knowledge to use at the earliest opportunity.
Alan Sprung - - #17431
I thoroughly enjoyed the course - the tutor was very knowledgeable and the learning environment was friendly and relaxed while at the same time I was helped to feel safe using the tools. As the tutor was assisted by capable volunteers there was always someone on hand for guidance - and I was amply supplied with cups of tea!
During the course I developed more confidence using axes and billhooks in particular. I now have an understanding of the process for felling a tree, the tools to use and the safety issues to be aware of. I was able to improve my skill working with an axe to shape wood to prepare it for craft use - I also learnt more about sharpening and maintaining my axe.
The weather is always bound to play a part in outdoor courses and over the weekend we had both windy and rainy conditions however as there is indoor space to use and a covered craft area we were able to keep busy and learning - I'm glad that we were able to go out and do the hands on work though, felling trees then dealing with them on the ground, sawing, chopping and snedding.
Kay Aitch - - #17410
The coppicing course on Sunday 23rd September 9.30-4pm at Ecclesall Woods looked too good to miss so I promptly emailed the co-ordinator Fay Kenyon who booked me on the course.
It was fascinating! There were only three participants and under Dave’s expert and patient tuition, ably assisted by Peter who is a volunteer, we learnt about the ancient craft of coppicing trees including hazel, ash, oak, and sweet chestnut. We were introduced to the history and principles of “coppicing with standards” which gives a sustainable timber crop for construction and furniture making. The uses for different species of trees was explained. After the efficient and safe use of different tools was demonstrated, we practiced coppicing hazel and were shown other aspects of woodland management and woodcraft. Everyone could have a go; after the gales and downpours last week the day turned out fine which couldn’t have been better for working in the woods on a sunny autumn day.
I doubt if I have spent a more productive Sunday for a long time and consider myself very lucky to have had the opportunity to take part. Perhaps it was a shame it wasn’t better attended but we all enjoyed the experience. I can certainly recommend it and would encourage anyone to take a look at the website http://www.ecclesallwoodscraftcourses.co.uk/ which lists the variety of courses run at the JG Graves Woodland Discovery Centre at Ecclesall Woods.
Stephen Ward - - #17071
From the first minute the good humour and the banter encouraged by Dave gave promise of a good day ahead. Most of the eight attendees were in the same boat, not having made a stick before. We needn't have worried. Dave quickly put us at our ease and under his expert guidance we were soon all on our way to the end result of a simple stick. Lunchtime arrived all too quickly and I still had three bits of a stick but progress from there was rapid and by the end of the afternoon I came away with a completed thumbstick.
Tea, coffee and biscuits were plentiful. Parking was easy even for "Lollo" my much travelled motorhome and all the staff and volunteers were friendly and helpful. I was reluctant to leave at the end of the day.
Martin "Tosh" Braithwaite - - #16917
Relaxed style of learning promoted by Dave. Excellent. The joints we made are not traditional but pegged with steel pin. I was happy with this as my skills, I am sure, wouldn't have run to making pegs/dowels etc. I messed up with stick straightening but Dave rescued me by giving me a spare. Instruction and examples were very clear. Dave did some of this himself eg drilling holes for the pins. It is good that we left with a finished stick and a choice of what t o do if we want to do more work on it. Lovely location and workspace - plus emergency room if we needed to shelter.
Tea/coffee and biscuits available all day - excellent. I enjoyed the day and didn't find it too challenging ( which I was happy about as really I am a bit of a bodger! )
Paul May - - #16893
I attended a rustic table making course earlier in the year and enjoyed it so much I thought I would have a go at spoon carving. On both courses the teaching was very good using a variety of tools and techniques. The facilities in the teaching area and the centre were very good.
I now have a very nice table that I am staining and waxing, and the skills to try spoon carving at home.
Paul McCaffrey - - #16550
Exceptional tutoring, fun engaging and really relaxing. A wonderful day learning new skills safely with experienced and knowledgeable craftsman. I was so pleased with my first attempts. Great advice on materials and tools. I would thoroughly recommend any greenwood workshop here. This is the place to grow your imagination!!
Amberlea McNaught - - #16515
A really super day. I have made very simple stick in the past, this course has spurred me on to make better sticks. As with many things personal guidance is a million times better than a book [or even You Tube videos].
Dave has a very easy style of teaching. You are guaranteed to enjoy the day
John Cartwrigjht - - #16104
On the course you have a chance to try all the skills necessary to make a table from greenwood. Help is always on hand, and the instructor and helpers were very knowledgeable. A very enjoyable course.
Andy Malkin - - #15382
Really enjoyed this course and am very happy with my table. The teacher and assistants were excellent and very knowledgeable.
Edd - - #15379
A very enjoyable day learning an essential skill that I just haven't got round to learning, despite its usefulness in so many crafts.
The small group brought quite a selection of their own tools and Dave also demonstrated the technique for chisels, planes, spoke shaves and knives.
A good bunch, pleasant surroundings and they even arranged warm, sunny weather for a Bank Holiday weekend. Who could ask for more?
Richard - - #14800
This course was booked for my 13 year old daughter who suffers a bit from lack of confidence and who finds embracing new challenges head on a little intimidating.
She thoroughly enjoyed the course, which gave her new skill opportunities with achivable objectives suitable to her level of understanding and ability.
Courses like this should be compulsory in every school curriculum.
Ian Banks - - #14132
Dave and the Team were most informative with the pace of instruction just right, interspersed with priceless Top Tips on how to make that little difference in making a walking stick that is yours. In addition to the expert tuition based on years of experience Dave readily shared his passion and subject matter expertise for the right tools for the job, of which he has a fair few, some adapted for the purpose. I came away motivated to get the garage cleared out, the workbench set up and stick making underway using the additional materials purchased on the course. My thanks to Dave and the Team for a most informative, enjoyable and productive day and to my wife Sally for purchasing the course for me as a Xmas gift. Dave a warm welcome awaits in Hampshire.
Paul Burt - - #14171
Enjoyable, easy to achieve something meaningful and useful in the day. Challenging without being off-putting. Great tutor, gave good feedback and loads of genuine praise. I would highly recommend the course, the venue and the whole business model. Thanks very much.
Ronnie Smith - - #13903