Furniture making – a Japanese-style wooden tray with Abdollah Nafisi


Ref: SWE12453

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About this course

Make a contemporary, Japanese-style, double-sided tray. The course introduces you to some important joinery skills – marking, cutting joints, accurate sawing and design thinking, as you construct this useful project.

Course Description

The concept for this tray project is to make a useful everyday object that is also beautiful. The tray is designed with dual functionality. Placed on its base, it can serve afternoon tea or a gin and tonic or your breakfast. Placed upside-down it is a cheese board or charcuterie plate or other display board.

The learning outcomes are to enable you to understand how the piece has been designed, with an introduction to the material. You will learn how to join a wooden base, how to mark and cut a joint, how to assemble and glue up the parts and finishing techniques. The aim is for you to walk away with the skills to be able to scale this project up to make larger boxes or drawers. You will gain confidence in how to take on a woodworking project from design to finish.


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 until 9pm, 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


  • The tutor will supply the materials, including: English oak and utile wood, oiling cloths and tung oil.

What students need to bring

  • All tools necessary will be available to borrow, but if you wish to bring your own, the following will be useful: a marking knife, Japanese saw, hand-planes, chisels, mallets and sandpaper.
  • An apron and stout covered footwear to wear in the workshop are essential.
  • A notebook and pencil
Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio. This includes stout covered footwear, i.e. no open-toes or sandals, and safety boots, if specified.


Abdollah Nafisi

Abdollah Nafisi is a designer craftsman at Nafisi Studio, with over 15 years experience in woodworking. He has created luxury furnishings and artwork for the home as well as sculptural works for the outdoors. 


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

Courses of interest

Interested in a career in woodworking?

Our Foundation Degree specialising in Furniture is designed to give you well-rounded woodworking theory and craft skills to become a self-employed maker or craftsperson, to continue your studies in higher education or to find employment in the creative industry sector. Find out more

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