Advanced furniture making – individual projects with Bernard Allen

Ref: S5D08874


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About this course

If you have a sound understanding of furniture construction and good practical skills, extend your practice by working on a piece of furniture of your own design. Plans for a suitable project are drawn with the tutor in advance, to maximise making time during the course. Ideally suited to those who have attended several furniture making courses at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation.

Course Description

The tutor can assist with the design and construction issues you may have. Guidance is given in developing design ideas appropriate to your abilities and within the context of the course. The course is workshop based throughout and the tutor gives one-to-one tuition and guidance at the bench. You are expected to study and acquaint yourself with every aspect of your project beforehand, to enable you to start making when the course begins

It is ideally suited to those who have attended several furniture making courses at West Dean College, or have attained advanced woodworking skills elsewhere. If you are new to the course, you need to liaise with the tutor well in advance to discuss your ideas and plan your work programme according to your skills and experience before the course.

Due to the many variables, it is unlikely that you will finish your project over the five days. So you need to be prepared to complete your projects at home or return to a subsequent course to complete your project - these are currently programmed twice a year.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials

What students need to bring

  • It is essential that you please contact the tutor as soon as possible to discuss your chosen project. Please email an outline of the project you hope to be able to make, ideally with a rough sketch without delay by e-mail to Also include details of your past experience of woodworking, joinery, cabinetmaking or furniture making. This will be passed to the tutor who will then contact you directly to discuss your project prior to the course.
  • Wood and materials - it is essential that you discuss this with the tutor and make arrangements to purchase timber or any other special materials for your project (glues, hardware etc) prior to the course.
  • Tools - you are expected to bring your own hand tool kit to this course. All tools brought should be tuned, ready for use. In addition, please bring any sash cramps and quick release cramps you have. The College will provide all electric tools needed and students are asked not to bring their own as they will be unable to use them in the College workshops for health and safety reasons.
  • Included in the course fee is an additional charge for the provision of a wood machinist to assist the course and the cost of some general materials supplied by the College for the use of the group as a whole. If you use a large quantity you will need to reimburse the college for an additional amount.

To comply with Health and Safety Regulations, sawshop machinery will only be used by the tutor and the wood machinist. There may be an opportunity for demonstration as appropriate, again on a one-to-one basis, if time allows.


Bernard Allen

Bernard Allen is a designer-craftsman. He produces traditional and modern furniture, screens, architectural and ecclesiastical commissions and small turned items.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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