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!

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.

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 are the courses?

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 quarry within the woodland. The quarry has greened up over the past hundred years, creating a beautiful sheltered setting for outdoor activities. 

See course venue.

What do I need to bring?

Several layers of clothing for a changeable climate. Midge repellent possibly?