Wood, carving and turning

Starting out in woodturning with Colin Simpson

Ref: SLW09073


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About this course

Discover spindle and bowl turning techniques as you make a bowl, goblet shape and lidded box. Learn essential tips such as the properties of wood, sharpening tools, chucks and chucking methods.

Course Description

This course is an introduction to spindle and bowl turning for those who have very little experience in woodturning or who have not turned before. On the first evening the tutor will introduce and explain the parts of the lathe and cover safety aspects. The first project will also be demonstrated. Each day includes demonstrations of techniques and tutorials on topics such as sharpening, understanding the wood, chucks and chucking methods.

You can expect to make up to three pieces - a bowl, a goblet or egg cup, or a lidded box. But if you have a particular project in mind, the tutor will be happy to consider it, providing it is appropriate for the skill level of the course and if time allows after you have grasped the basics. The tutor will explain techniques both formally and informally to the group and on an individual basis. You will leave with a good understanding of the basics of practical woodturning, and the confidence to work safely on the lathe.

On this practical course you will have exclusive use of a lathe and its accessories for the duration of the course and work at your own pace.


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


  • Timber provided for set projects, abrasives and wood finishing products (sealer and wax).

What students need to bring

  • Whilst the College provides a comprehensive set of tools, you are encouraged to bring your own (labelled with your name) especially bowl gouges, if you have any, so that the tutor can assist in correcting any problems there might be in sharpening or using them.
  • Some examples of your own work, if you have any
  • Roll of kitchen paper
  • Overall or smock, hair ties for long hair etc.
  • Sturdy covered footwear is essential

Available to buy

  • Pencil
  • Abrasives (if you require further supplies)
  • Wood finishing products, (sealer, wax)
  • Additional timber if required


Colin Simpson

Colin Simpson has been woodturning for over 30 years. He has been teaching and demonstrating woodturning for over eighteen years in his own workshop, throughout Europe, the USA and New Zealand. He is a past editor of world renowned magazine 'Woodturning', and now writes regularly for woodworking magazines.


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

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