Start dates: January, May, September

This two-year course is aimed at those who may be looking into a conventional furniture design and making degree course with one of the UK’s universities. Our research into people leaving with a degree in these subjects shows that many feel they lack practical skills. This may be techniques, hand skills, or wood machining. Here at robinson house studio we aim to bridge that gap. We are the only private furniture making school to offer a dedicated two-year course – the last two-year course offered was at the renowned John Makepeace’s now closed Parnham College. There appears to be a wide gap between the usual furniture design and making degree courses, and the hands-on courses run in a workshop – so our aim is to offer something that would meet the requirements of students and employers alike.

Our higher-level diploma scheme gives you a real feeling of achievement, and shows an employer your aptitude, skill and practical application abilities. Whilst it is not a degree in furniture design and making, it does carry some weight in the industry – Marc Fish and robinson house studio have become internationally renowned due to the experimental and progressive nature of their work and the exceptionally high level of tuition given by the school.

You will cover advanced subjects including mixed media making, computer aided design and machining, model making, metal working including welding. Unlike a degree course the subjects are largely verbal discussions and not essays. This means that if you are maybe not academic or do not like exams this is going to be a better option than the usual degree course in furniture design/making or product design at a university. You will be encouraged to use these materials and skills in the projects produced in your second year.

At least six projects are usually completed in the two years; the projects will be designed by you with guidance from Marc and his team. Our photographer will produce your portfolio, which you can use to promote your business or gain employment.

Hand tool selection – New, old, tuning and sharpening. Use of hand tools and accurate measuring

Glues – Different types, strength comparison, and correct uses.

Abrasives – Different types and correct uses

Machinery – Maintenance, identification, and applications

Health & safety

Hand power tools – Routers, router tables, biscuit jointers, domino jointers, sander, drills

Joints – Cutting, assembly, identification, construction


Jigs and small batch runs

Drawing – Sketching, working drawings, rods, CAD

Cutting lists

Ordering timber – Costing and estimating waste

Timber study – Movement, moisture content, drying, defects, and conversion

External timber yard visit

Veneering – Selection, storage, preparation, hand pressing, vacuum bag

Laminating – Cutting, thicknessing, invisible glue lines

Curves – Steam bending theory, coopering, laminating

Finishing – Types, applications, polishing oils, bleach, colouring

These topics may be studied in addition to core topics, subject to availability and schedules


Steam bending, coopering

Power carving

Material science

Carbon fibre

Design history

Design principals & appreciation


CAD, CNC machines

3D printing and 3D scanning



Setting up a workshop – machinery, legislation, dust extraction

Meeting clients and communication

Exhibiting your work – retail, galleries, internet, your own exhibition

Introduction to websites – SEO, marketing, PR

Printed stationery – branding, designing, brochures, business cards, letterheads, drawings, photography

Course cost

2 year course cost: £32,500

Deposit: £3,000

Please contact us for details on the instalments for the remainder of the cost

Other costs

A budget for tools should be allowed, we can advise on what is needed

A budget should also be allowed for materials for your own projects. Materials are provided for small samples and test pieces


Our student intakes are in January, May, and September. Occasionally we can accept students outside of these dates, please email us to enquire about this

Teaching is 9am until 4.30pm

Some out-of-hours and weekend practice time may be available, subject to terms and conditions

2 Year Furniture Design & Makers’ Course