Furniture making for beginners – a side table with Derek Jones

Ref: S5D09036


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2 places available

About this course

Learn hand skills which are sustainable in a home workshop, as you construct a side table. You are shown the principles behind sharpening and maintaining tools (using your own or the College's). Other topics include understanding wood grain, setting out and cutting mortise and tenon joints and oil finishing. This course is for anyone wishing to acquire the skills to work with hardwoods, as a stepping-stone to making your own furniture. Please note that Derek Jones will now be teaching this course rather than Tom Kealy.

Course Description

This course is designed for those with little or no experience of fine woodworking or cabinet making, who would like to explore working with hardwood timber and to acquire the skills which could lead on to making your own furniture designs. During this course, through demonstrations and practical work, you will make a small side table - a project designed to take you step by step, through all the various processes necessary to produce a table.

During the first evening session we will look at the table design and discuss the stages involved in its construction, and you will be introduced to the tools that you will be using.

The primary focus is on working with traditional cabinetmakers hand tools, to a high degree of proficiency and accuracy, which are sustainable in a non-commercial or home workshop.

Some of the topics discussed include understanding the wood grain and how to make the best use of it, the use of a hand plane, the setting out and cutting of mortise and tenons and oil finishing.

At each stage the tools required, and how they should be used, will be covered. You will learn the basic principles behind sharpening and maintaining the tools used. If you want to buy your own tools in the future, the course is also an ideal opportunity to learn about the various factors to consider when purchasing tools.


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


  • Some sundry materials supplied for the workshop are included.

What students need to bring

  • HB Pencils
  • Reading glasses, if worn
  • Sturdy covered comfortable shoes are essential (not sandals)
  • Any tools you already own which you think may be useful to bring, including planes and chisels

Available to buy

  • The shop stocks some of the additional materials required for this course.
  • The tutor will supply timber for the project. This charge will be approximately £70, this should be paid to the tutor before the end of the course, by cash or cheque.


Derek Jones

Derek Jones has been the editor of Furniture & Cabinetmaking magazine for the last seven years and has written extensively on the subject. A furniture maker with more than thirty years experience he now splits his time between teaching, demonstrating and running a bespoke furniture making business.


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

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