Try before you buy with our Taster Week!
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 craftsman Dylan Aplvor.
If you are considering booking a longer course with us, the one-week taster is the perfect way to see if it’s the right decision. When booking a 12, 24 or 50-week course, the cost of the one-week taster is refunded against the cost of the long course, so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain!
One week course schedule
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.’
‘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.’
Price – £650.00 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.
2023 course dates:
- 10th – 24th November – fully booked. Join the waiting list.
2024 course dates:
- 8th – 12th January,
- 4th – 8th March,
- 8th – 12th April,
- 10th – 14th June,
- 15th – 19th July,
- 7th – 11th October,
- 18th – 22nd November.