Greenwood Chairmaking


A 5-day course, from tree to chair

Starting with a freshly cut log you will make your own chair and, at the end of the course, take it home with you. Hopefully it will be a friend for life and something to bequeath to future generations!

Who is it for?

If you are looking for a digital de-tox, a few days in the woods and learning something new, this course might be for you. By following a few commonsense rules, anyone can work with greenwood tools safely and proficiently. If you like working with your hands you can discover for yourself the joy of making something useful and beautiful from green wood. No previously learned skills are required.

However some may find the course physically taxing. The working day is long, from 9.00 am till 6.00 pm each day.

Who is the instructor?

The course instructor is Peter Young. Peter recently retired from directing a study retreat centre in the Scottish Borders. He is passionate about green woodworking and has learned yurt-making from the legendary Hal Wynne-Jones and chairmaking from the equally legendary Mike Abbott. Mike has done more than anyone else in the UK to rescue green woodworking from oblivion, and is supportive of these courses.

Peter feels deeply that this traditional type of work has wisdom in it, respecting both the materials and ourselves. 'We can learn a lot from it,' he says. 'We work with Nature, not against it. We use only local, sustainably grown timber, often from coppiced woodland. Every bit is used and nothing wasted. But more than this, we try to see what the particular log is doing, how the grain is flowing and from this we learn what part it wants to play in the whole chair.'

Where is it held?

The course venue is Broughtonknowe, a privately owned wood, 25 miles south of Edinburgh on the A701. By car, it is within easy reach for commuting daily from Edinburgh (45mins) and 75 minutes from Carlisle.

The course takes place in a woodland glade, under a tarpaulin shelter. In extreme conditions we can move operations into a shed.


Where to stay?

Camping on site is possible by negotiation. Washing and toilet facilities are limited: water is collected from rainfall, and there is a composting toilet and washroom. As yet there is no showering facility. Drinking water is brought in from nearby.

B & B accommodation is available in the nearby village of Broughton (2 miles).

What do I need to bring?

The weather in Scotland is famously variable, so you will need to bring multiple layers of clothing. Midge repellent would be sensible!

Course fees

£400 inclusive of all chairmaking materials, and lunch, tea and coffee.

Concessions (students, unwaged and disability) £325.

£100 payable on booking and balance four weeks prior to the course.