Six Month Woodworking Course

Student with his finished french polished box

Our six-month furniture building course will immerse you in the world of woodworking, teaching you all of the vital skills required to create your own furniture projects in the Rowden Atelier workshop. You will have access to the expertise of our renowned furniture making tutors, plus all of the specialist equipment available in our studio. From basic carpentry to designing and making a box, this is a thorough initiation into fine furniture making.

First projects

For your first few weeks here at Rowden we have tailored some woodworking exercises perfect for both beginners and experienced makers to hone your skills and get up to the workshop standard. You will find yourself completing the following projects which will train both hand and eye:

  • Crosshalving

    A basic joinery task which leaves a professional and clean finish. As simple as it appears, this is very tricky but a key task to plane, pare and mark out correctly.

  • Winding sticks

    Creating the perfect tool for working out twists on timber. This will require a good eye to make the tool flat so that it can aid you in later projects.

  • Breadboards

    This will require you to get a very flat and very accurate planing technique. Built from three separate pieces of timber using “invisible glue”. Here you will learn to plane straight, making the job square and hand planing a chamfer 30mm wide.

  • Dovetail practice

    We will work upon your accuracy and a keen eye for detail here. Making the correct cutting lines and chiselling flat against the line you can create really high-end professional joinery. You can only get better at this through repetition so you will be putting it to the test within different projects such as creating bookends and a jewellery box.

  • Mallet

    Have a go at creating your own mallet. This will require you to pare accurately a tapered fitted handle with two hand-pared faces which are dead flat. You will be working a lot on your chiselling technique here.

  • Mortice & Tenon

    This joinery exercise will come in handy for later on when you will be creating your workbench. This technique is great for when you need to disassemble a piece of furniture, and in this case your workbench.

  • Trestles

    Everyone needs a good set of trestles to work from when you’re working on large projects and these trestles will be perfect for your work on your bench project.

These exercises have been developed so that whatever level you are, coming into the course, you will have the satisfaction of being challenged and the accomplishment of being brought up to the Rowden Workshop standard. They cover all of the primary techniques you need to move onto creating beautiful and accurate work.


The Bench

Six months in a workshop like this, working all hours, absorbing information like a sponge can take you a very, very long way. We would aim that you will have gone through all of our hand tool teaching projects, you will have learnt how to handle machines and power tools in a safe and efficient manner. You will now make your own cabinetmaker’s work bench. Create a bench to suit your own height, dead flat and stable with dovetailed end vices to furniture making standard.

The combination of good hand tools, your developing knowledge of how to use them and a great cabinetmaker’s bench come together. The psychological effect of making the piece that all your other work comes from is powerful. Don’t ever again put up with a cheap commercial bench, make your own bench whilst you can, everyone who has done this in this workshop, and there are hundreds of them, will tell you of the benefit of this project.

The other side of this is the Biz Course run by Jonathan Walter. This will take you away from the bench for a couple of hours each week to learn aspects of running a business making furniture. Jonathan and his partner Lakshmi were in successful careers as an accountant and design writer before coming to Rowden ten years ago now they run Bark Furniture and help you get your businesses going.


  • Create cutting lists and project sheets for your first major project. Breaking it down, learn to “eat an elephant, but a bite at a time”
  • Order your own timber, using the right terminology that we will teach you, you will learn to buy economically, avoiding trade pitfalls.
  • Safe machining of all your 4 inch Iroko or Sapele components to specification. We teach you to mill accurately to get your joints “smack up” from the machine and get your quality with one stroke of a hand tool for final fit
  • Mark out and cut mortices. mark out and cut tenons.
  • Cut and clean angle shoulders. Fit and adjust if necessary.
  • Dry assemble hand plane and polish. Beautiful.
  • Create your bench top. Butt jointing three long boards of three-inch Maple with invisible glue lines. Hand plane the machined edges to a light hollow to create a great fit. This is good work.
  • Mark and fit a metal end vice. Design and make your own wooden tail vice with large dovetail joints.
  • Flatten your bench to perfect flatness. You need never put up with a second-class work surface again.

“This is the best eight-week first major project we know to teach you everything you need to know. A large-scale, relatively simple structure made to furniture-making tolerance. A statement of intent.”

– David Savage

Build your own cabinetmaker's work bench during a Twelve Month furniture building course


Now you want something small. A bench can be admired at a distance but a small jewellery box will be examined up close and personal. If you get your skates on you will probably have a month or so to make a small jewellery box with tray.

  • We have designs that will help to speed you through this project
  • You can add your own elements to this project, different timber handles and feet.
  • OR, you can design your own box from the ground up.
  • Fine fitting, small tools, exact work, immaculate polish, Rolls Royce fitting to the lid closing with a wooomph…
  • The workmanship of this piece must be peerless – a real test of the skills you’re on the course to learn.


Course Price List

We offer a range of courses to suit all abilities and availabilities:

  • Twelve Month Designer / Maker – £19,950
  • Six Month Designer / Maker – £12,810
  • One Month – £3,486
  • One Week – £870
  • Weekend – £360

Contact us

Interested in a six month course?

Get in touch to discuss pricing and availability:

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