12 week Woodworking Skills incorporating Furniture Design and Making

Woodworking Skills

‘Woodworking Skills incorporating Furniture Design and Making’ gives people a solid, certificated foundation (and more) in wood and working with wood.  Students design and make a piece of furniture as part of the course.  The course and its Level 3 diploma (mapped and quality assured to the national Qualification and Credit Framework) are exclusive to the Boat Building Academy.  A maximum of ten people are accepted onto each course.

Although the course has nothing to do with boats, it follows the principles that have built the Academy’s reputation as a world-leading vocational training college; students spend the majority of their time at their workbenches, learning by hands-on experience of making.

Objects you will make (and take home)

  • Dovetailed, lidded box
  • Small table (if electing for the Level 3 qualification.  More information below)
  • Small cabinet with a door and drawer (if electing for the Level 3 qualification.  More information below)
  • Personal project piece
Ham and Hec crop

Instructors give ‘hands-on’ demonstrations of the work as the course progresses. Comprehensive handouts cover all aspects of the training.  There are outings to local tool suppliers, to a wood yard, where students can see a wide selection of timber and choose the wood for their personal project piece (some students have been so inspired by wood they have discovered that it has formed an integral part of the design of their project piece) and to Hooke Park, the Dorset campus of the Architectural Association.

The course is suitable for absolute beginners as well as the more experienced, but if you are nervous about the intensive nature of the course joining the two day ‘Introduction to Woodworking‘ or five day ‘Basic Woodworking 1‘ courses  are a good introduction and will help your confidence.

Course content

As with all of our courses, the 12 week course starts with tool selection and sharpening before moving on to the following skill areas:

  • Identifying and selecting timber types
  • An introduction to technical drawing
  • Producing joints
  • Fixings and fastenings (including adhesives)
  • Use of hand tools and machine tools (including an introduction to large machinery in the Academy’s machine shop)
  • Producing rods and cutting lists
  • Curving and bending timber
  • Finishing
  • Health and Safety

Personal Project Piece

IMG_3854 crop webStudents research, design and make a personal project piece as part of the course.  This might be a toolbox (a classic apprenticeship piece), something for the student’s home or a piece that demonstrates the skills learnt on the course to potential employers.  The complexity of the piece is discussed with the Instructor at each stage of the design and make process.  It is important that students are aware of any extra hours they may need to realise their design by the end of the course.

Browse over 75 personal project pieces created here at the Academy since 2008 and take a look at the most recent creations.

(We want people to make the most of the Academy’s facilities and expertise while they are here and so students have access to the workshops in the evening and at weekends, on condition that Health and Safety requirements are satisfied).

Peter Bromwich (Class of January 2015) built a Hammered Dulcimer as part of his course and sent us this great video:

 Qualification options

All students undertake the Level 1 6219-08 City & Guilds Certificate in Construction Skills.  Students then decide, in conjunction with their Instructor, whether to undertake the Level 3 Diploma and the personal project piece, or whether to concentrate on the personal project piece alone.

More information about the course can be found in our prospectus, which also gives details of what ‘Woodworking Skills’ students have gone on to do after the course.


Read more about the people that join us on the 12 week Woodworking Skills course on our Woodworking Skill Students and Graduate Case Studies pages.


2018 course dates

22 January – 13 April

21 May – 10 August

17 September – 7 December