Try before you buy with our Taster Week!

One week students with their finished trays

A course for everybody

Our one-week taster course is designed to give you an all-round introduction to furniture making techniques. It’s for everybody, from those with absolutely no experience or a hobbyist keen to develop a deeper interest in the craft.

You’ll be guided all the way through the week, gaining skills and confidence as we cover a range of techniques, from the absolute basics to more advanced methods of woodwork. Using these acquired  skills you will produce a beautiful, solid wood tray that you can take home.

This course is also a great way to see if furniture making is something you would like to do as a career, take one of our longer courses or simply develop a deeper interest as a hobby.

No previous experience is required, just plenty of enthusiasm!

All tools are provided by us here at robinson house studio; we have toolboxes for each student with everything you’ll need throughout the week. If you have any of your own tools then feel free to bring them along and we can look at tuning and sharpening them.

Each week-long taster course has  a maximum of 5 students, so there’s plenty of one-on-one teaching throughout the week. You will predominantly be taught by Theo Cook our Vice Principle and Senior Tutor at RHS with any extra input from experienced craftsmen Tom and Dylan.

I recently completed a one-week furniture making course that was truly exceptional. Under the guidance of Tom, Dylan and Theo, I crafted a beautiful laminated cherry wood and maple tray and delved into woodworking theory. Tom’s expertise in woodworking theory was informative and inspiring, making the tray project a memorable experience. Dylan’s personal attention and assistance on my (side) DIY electric guitar project were invaluable.

The well-equipped workshop and the supportive environment made for a fantastic learning experience. In a nutshell, this course not only helped me create a stunning tray but also deepened my understanding of woodworking and making. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in furniture making and craftsmanship. Kudos to Tom and Dylan for their excellent instruction! This isn’t just furniture, it’s art.

Kev Jones

One week course schedule

One Week taster course - tray making. Bandsaw


The first day is entirely dedicated to sharpening – one of the most fundamentally important skills of woodwork and the starting point for every aspiring furniture maker. We’ll cover blade steel types, blade bevel angles, using water-cooled grinding systems, honing on sharpening films and Japanese water stones. By the end of the day you will have chisels and hand plane blades sharp enough to take hairs off the back of your hand!

One Week taster course - tray making. Clamping


On the second day, we start to use the tools we have sharpened and look at the three main hand skills – hand planing, sawing, and chiseling. You will learn how to properly set up a hand plane so that it takes wood shavings 1000th of an inch thick, how to use a hand saw to cut perfectly to a line, and to use a chisel to create perfectly square joints.

One Week taster course - tray making. Laminating


This is when we begin your project to take home with you. Over the course of the rest of the week, you will make a tray with a veneered base and curved handles. Apart from the initial machining of the components, you will make the entire thing yourself. This day is mainly getting to grips with the router table, and laminating the curved handles at the end of the day.

One Week taster course - tray making. Wood Finishing


On day 4 we will glue up the four tray sides, cut the handles using the band saw and then shape them by hand using spokeshaves and rasps. We will also look at veneering, an important and widely used skill in furniture making. By the end of the day the tray will really start to take shape.

One Week taster course - tray making. Final Tray


The last day is reserved for putting the finishing touches to the tray – gluing on the handles, sanding and cleaning up. By the end of the afternoon you’ll be applying a coat of oil. By this point in the week you will have covered basic and advanced furniture making techniques, used a few machines, finished a tray and, most importantly, had a good time!

Here's what some of our students are saying about our one week taster course:

‘I learned an enormous amount and enjoyed every minute of it. It was also great talking to your colleagues and one year students, and learning that they all find you as fantastically inspiring as I have! The atmosphere is very special. Among the many things that struck me were, one, how great design is the backbone of everything you do, and, two, how beginner students are expected on day one to strive for the same levels of precision that you achieve.’

Jeremy Bradshaw

‘It has been one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Marc constructed a programme of activities perfectly suited to my abilities and needs. All in all I cannot put into words how special this week has been and how useful and inspiring it has been to me in my future work.’

David Carter-Hitchin

Price – £750.00 per week

The price is all inclusive so there’s no need to bring any tools or materials, but please bring a packed lunch!

Please arrive at 10am on the Monday and 9am for the rest of the week. The day finishes at 4.30pm.

Maximum of 5 students per week course.

2024 course dates:

  • 10th – 14th June,
  • 15th – 19th July,
  • 7th – 11th October,
  • 18th – 22nd November.
 Note: Please add your email address and telephone number to the booking. Many thanks.

An Introduction to Handtools and Furniture Making
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