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.
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.
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).
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 :)
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.
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.
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
A very enjoyable day making our garden bench. We really enjoyed visiting Ian's workshop and learning about how things were done in the past and also having a go at these techniques. Our garden seat was beautiful and we were so pleased to see how a tree trunk could be shaped into a useful item. The course was well prepared and Ian was patient and encouraging at every stage.
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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.