Looking for intermediate/ beginner furniture making course in London or abroad

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Hi guys!
Can anyone recommend a good furniture making course in London or alternatively in Europe? The London School of furniture looks good, any reviews or other suggestions ?

Ideally looking to start something in spring 2020

Any help is appreciated!

I did one of the intro courses a couple of years ago - I found Helen, the leader / tutor to have a really good teaching style. I’ve been meaning to go back and do a more in-depth class but went self-employed in the meantime so haven’t had the time yet.

My experience is most furniture making courses are run outside of London - cost of space is too much in the capital.

There’s a few schools around the country



I met MarcFish and nice guy, design and contemporary edge to their work.

Most do 1, 2 day or week long tasters. They are expensive though and you’d need to relocate.

More locally try neighbouring adult ed courses, they are very cost effective - the Southwark one I did had an excellent workshop facilities.

If you can wait till summer there is a Japanese master woodworker coming to give a month long course in London. He usually teaches the course for 4 students at a time in his Kyoto workshop. Its focused on japanese handtools and joints. With those skills you could make any piece of furniture.

I’ve been thinking of bringing in a furniture maker to run courses at SLMS for members, if there’s demand we could look into that more. Benefit is it would be tailor made, local and lower cost.


This sounds great

That sounds like a brilliant idea. I would very much be interested in signing up for woodworking courses run by SLMS for members.

I would sign up for that

Will ask for it be added on to the next meetings agenda.

This doesn’t need member meeting approval…but we can of course discuss it

A Discourse proposal for how it would work, and enough interest from members (and check of course with relevant techs), and as long as there is no compelling reason not to do it, it should be fine

The main consideration is that it isn’t massively disruptive to general use of the workshops. If it was ‘all the woodshop, all day every Saturday for ever’ that would be disruptive…for example

I would definitely be interested in a slms course if there was one going! If any help was needed in working it out I’m happy to help! :blush:

Options are:

  1. Invite an external cabinet/furniture maker and run a course to make something mid to high range in complexity like a small set of drawers or chair. Course could also cover teaching on various finishes, oil, wax, stains, french polish. Cost low hundreds of pounds. Would take up the woodspace benches ideally be evenings or midweek daytime.

  2. Run a course to make basic plywood/MDF boxes - that could then be used in SLMS for members storage in snug or around woodshop. Could also make shelving and storage items for woodshop. Cost tens of pounds if that - run internally. Would take up the woodspace benches so ideally be evenings or midweek daytime. But can be argued for weekends as output is for SLMS. Run by volunteer or woodtech.

  3. Have a designer/cabinet/furniture maker/ residence scheme - say running 3-6 months, offering access to SLMS facilities, and some storage, in return for maintaining tools and workshop (in liason with tech) and running a 0.5 or 1 day course on various joints, chairmaking, drawer making etc - mid-high level stuff. Or two courses, combing 1 & 2 above, one entry level, the other higher level. Cost low.

Personally I’m in favour of 1 or 3.

No. 3 solves the table saw challenge - to run meaningful course the tutor needs to be table saw inducted/experienced.


All 3


I agree No.1 and No. 3 sound great. For No.3 Would they be paid a rate by SLMS for the residency with an additional price they could then charge for their day/half day courses? (hypothetically) Do you think it would be easy to find someone interested in doing it ?

A member helped me making my first hard wood box. It took a couple of evenings and it gave me the opportunity to use (supervised) table saw, jointer, band saw, spindle.

It’s almost like an advanced induction.

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A typical Artist Residency offers some or all of:

  1. Studio/desk space
  2. Access to tools/equipment
  3. Stipend
  4. Mentoring
  5. Networking/skills share

In return, the Artist can be asked, some or all of below:

  1. Running workshops/public engagement
  2. Giving a talk about their work/research
  3. Donating a piece of work

The list is not exhaustive - combinations are common - you can find residencies where the artist is not paid but they receive accommodation, or there is a stipend but they donate a piece of work.

The above is for Artists so needs tweaking for a Designer/Furniture Maker

I imagine the main challenge of early/mid career furniture maker living in London is capital costs and overheads of establishing a woodworkshop. I see our scheme as addressing that need, in return for skills sharing.

Obviously needs woodtechs buy in.

If anyone wants to form a working group to put a proposal together for techs and directors , let me know and we can continue via DMs.