Here at Little Trewern, looking out across Herefordshire’s Black Mountains, we offer Woodworking courses for Beginners and Improvers. In our workshop you can learn how to cut and craft wood, and you will discover the true joy of “creating something new”.
But if you come here on a Woodworking Course for Beginners, you will also discover that woodworking is about much more than tools, tenons and dovetails, although these are all important. A good woodworker should, I believe, be able to “work wood” – not just the wood that we can buy planed and packaged from timber yards and hypermarkets – but also the ‘round’ wood that is nearest to us, in our local woodlands.
Therefore, if you want to “learn about woodworking“ in its truest sense, you also need to understand the relationship between the wood that we use and the world that we live in. It encompases knowledge of the species of trees that provide our timber; an understanding of the forests and woodlands in which our timber grows; and an awareness of the rich heritage that comes down to us from hundreds of generations of woodworkers.
After all, homo sapiens sapiens, you and I, are only here because of the extraordinary interaction of human intelligence with trees and stone, that allowed our ancestors to people the world. Just as certainly, unless we start to live sustainably, and stop stripping the earth of its natural resources, there will only a bleak future for our descendents. Therefore, everyone who “uses wood” whether in the workshop or the hearth, should question where it comes from, and ask “am I putting back into the earth what I have taken from it”?
So the woodworking for beginners courses at Little Trewern encompass this holistic approach to learning about woodworking. We ask questions before picking up our timber to work it. What type of wood is it? Where has it come from, and at what cost?
The wood we use on our courses all comes from local woodlands (including our own) and the techniques we use to ‘season’ it are ecologically sound, using only the earth’s natural energy. You will be able to follow the journey of the timber that you use from woodland to workshop, and by using our native woods rather than imported timber, you are actively encouraging management of these woodlands to maximises bio-diversity.
Woodworking Courses for Beginners at Little Trewern
Please note that there is a maximum of two learners on every course. This helps me to provide you with individual tuition as you start to learn the key skills of woodworking.
Learn about Green Wood Working – Beginners’ One Day Taster Course
A chance to find out if Green Wood Working is for you! You will be able to explore our woodlands, harvest some green wood, and shape the green wood in our workshop. You will be able to make a small stool. More
Learn About Traditional Wood Working – Beginners’ One Day Taster Course
A chance to find out if Traditional Wood Working is for you! You will be able to have a go at measuring, sawing and planing timber, and cutting basic joints. You will be able to make a pair of sliding book ends. More
Learn About Green Wood Working – Beginners’ Two Day Course
Here you will learn learn how to identify hazel, oak, and ash in our woodlands, how to harvest coppice wood for furniture, how to split and shape green wood, and how to cut round tenon joints. You will be able to make a small green wood table or stool. More
Learn About Traditional Woodworking – Beginners’ Two Day Course
Here you will learn how to use the four key tools of the furniture maker, how to sharpen these tools, and how to mark and cut a mortice and tenon joint. You will be able to make a fold-up stool. More
Learn about Green Wood Woodworking – Beginners’ Four Day Course
As well as the content of the Two Day course, you will also learn how to measure moisture in wood, how timber is cut in a sawmill, how to stack and season oak and ash planks, and how to join seasoned timber. You will be able to make a chair or table from green wood and seasoned timber. More
Learn About Traditional Woodworking – Beginners’ Four Day Course
As well as the content of the Two Day course, you will also learn how to obtain quality timber from different sources, how to select native grown timber for woodworking, how to design a small table, how to finish your furniture using different products, and how modern power tools can be used in furniture making. You will be able to make a small table. More
“Thank you Simon for a great weekend. The teaching was very informative, clear, and concise, with each individual’s ability and goals in mind. The course exceeded my expectations. I feel inspired!” Beginners’ Two Day Woodworking Course, March 2018.
“The learning environment was excellent, with the teaching style fun and relaxed. I will be back again, thanks!” Beginners’ Two Day Woodworking Course, March 2018. More
Simon runs the Woodworking Courses for Beginners
“As an apprentice cabinet maker in the 1970’s I made fine furniture from Brazilian mahogany. It was only later that I asked whether this mahogany had been clear-felled from the rain-forests, and questioned what impact that had upon the indigenous peoples who lived there.
Indeed, seeking answers to those questions led me to become a woodworking anthropologist!
My woodworking inspiration has come from William Morris, socialist and founder of the Arts and Crafts Movement; from the indigenous peoples I have had the privilege to study, especially the Baka of Cameroon and the !Kung of southern Africa; from the “ woolly-hatters” at the Green Wood Trust who shared their knowledge and skills with me over three decades; and from the foresters and academics who have patiently knocked some sense into my head about the ecology of our native woodlands.” More