The Rowden Set Up

… Because everyone starts their courses in September, we don’t.

Rowden has long held the tradition of having four start dates during the year, one more or less every three months. Schools don’t do it, universities don’t do it, and nor do other furniture schools. Let’s face it, the administration of four intakes, and keeping track of where four streams of students are at any one time has to be (and is) a huge burden on the staff. And no small headache for David Savage!

So, there have to be good reasons for deliberately increasing the workload for everyone involved. And there are, several. And they all benefit the students. I should know, I was one!

From personal experience I can say that one of the best things about walking in on day one was that I was one of just three students being enrolled, even though there were a good dozen students at Rowden at that point. That meant that we three got all the attention we needed while working out which end of a chisel was which. So much better than if the teachers had to deal with twelve numpties all at the same time!

At least as important was the fact that we could immediately see how students were progressing. The three month students were working on their benches. The six month students were working on their first bespoke pieces they had designed themselves. And the nine month students were completing pieces and developing their skills further on more challenging pieces. Some even had commissions already! In no small way did this give us the confidence to believe we too could be fine furniture makers within twelve months. Amazing!

Maybe more important than all of this was the camaraderie that grew between us three. We helped each other out, bought tools and materials together, and answered each other’s questions so we didn’t need to ask Daren (again).

Ultimately, the whole experience felt personal, customised, friendly and uninhibiting. The opposite, in fact, to every other enrolment I have ever experienced!

Until next time,



David established Rowden Atelier in 1995, a now world renowned fine woodworking school. Discover Rowden, the woodworking courses, and the work that students go on to do.

Looking for our woodworking courses? is the new home of Rowden Atelier Fine Woodworking School.

It is where you will now find all the information about our renowned fine woodworking courses, our ethos, and why our students go on to do so many great things. This site remains dedicated to the designs and work, of Rowden’s Founder; David Savage. If you are looking for our woodworking courses, please click here.