The Wharfedale Workshop

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Beginners and intermediate Woodwork Courses

ADDITIONAL COURSE DATES: as nearly all Quarter one 2022 courses have sold out we have been able to add a couple of additional dates. We will now run 2 day beginners woodwork courses on Saturday 29/Sunday 30 January and Saturday 26/Sunday 27 February. If you are interested we suggest you sign up soon as places may be filled quickly as Christmas approaches.

You can email us at if you would like to sign up for any of our sessions. You can also call 07341 828 954.

Britain’s “Best” Woodworker: the first series of this programme has just finished and seems to have caused quite a stir. Whilst it is great that woodwork is on prime time TV (and was C4’s 6th most highly viewed programme) the format does seem more of a reality show about design rather than high end woodwork craft. That said, despite the crazy time restrictions, some of the contestants created some lovely pieces – some less so! However it is probably pretty clear to most people that the contestants were a very long way from Britain’s best – hence the quote marks on “Best” at the start of this paragraph. In their defence however, we would absolutely not have wanted to create a quality piece of work in 2 days; nor would we have wanted to be critiqued by two of the most miserable, negative judges that any show of this nature has ever had. (They make Craig Revel-Horwood on Strictly seem quite human…)

One to one tuition: Not everyone fits a group session for all sorts of reasons and over the past year we have run a number of one to one days for individuals with a wide range of woodworking needs. This included a joiner who wanted to top up his hand tool skills, a very competent hand tool woodworker who needed some sessions on machining and preparing wood, and a very skilled wood carver who wanted to “branch out” into furniture making….

If this is of interest to you a full day is £235 during the week and £285 at weekends. The day can be completely structured around your specific needs. Contact for more information.

New stuff. We’ve got a bunch of new hand tools to use. Some are brand new – some “new to us”. It has not been easy getting hold of some of these during lockdown as there is a distinct shortage of quality tools from our usual suppliers. (Spot the difference in the two new shoulder planes in the bottom right picture – one from Quangsheng/Luban and one from WoodRiver.)

We have a new section – Projects – on this website. You should be able to click on it at the top of this page or in the menu if viewing on a mobile device. People often ask what beginners do after they have completed their 1 day, 2 day or 6 week course. Well, here in the Projects section we have a cross section of the type of projects they undertake.

One of our 2020 students who came on our 2 day introductory course went on to study at in Lyme Regis. He popped in to see us recently and brought a selection of his lovely work for our inspection – top marks all round!. We especially love the swimming paddles!

He also made a wonderful workbench which you can see at

It is worth mentioning that since the first Covid lockdown we have seen a big increase in people looking for beginner or intermediate courses in woodwork. Learning to make things from wood seems to be a real hidden passion for many people and fits with the general move towards making more food from basic ingredients, growing your own food, making clothes, greater appreciation of nature and so on. We ask people who come on our introduction to woodwork courses why they are here. Answers vary but almost always include one or two of: “I just love wood”, “I’ve always liked making things and this seems be the one area I’ve missed” or ” I really wish I’d kept going with woodwork at school but I was pushed into studying geography/history/etc instead”.

It’s slightly strange although we have got used to it, but people often say that they like the smell of our workshop; it often reminds them of school – in a good way we hope! Ultimately we are trying to introduce people to working with wood and to help them begin to develop their skills so that they can enjoy working with wood and creating objects and simple furniture for themselves.

Two day weekend Introduction to Woodwork – £255 including beech box project pack ( Additional 2022 dates: all places currently available – 29/30 January – 5 places left; 26/27 February – 5 places left)

Woodwork – projects – this is reserved for students who wish to continue after their beginners course (Mondays – 6.30-9.00pm Wednesday 12-2.30pm; Wednesday 6.30-9.00pm ) (currently all full – new dates when places available)

2 consecutive weekends Cabinet Making course (4 days in total) £595 including all materials- This course will build on the skills and joints learned on the 6 week beginners course and/or the 1 or 2 day weekend courses and will result in a beautiful small oak cabinet with door and drawer. (2022 dates: 19/20 March and 26/27 March – 1place left)

Router skills course – a one day introduction to routers and routing – £155 (5 March – 1 place left)

One day beginners course a one day introduction to hand tool woodworking – £135 (15 January – full 5 February – 1 place left)

6 week evening introduction to woodworking plus box making – £155 including all materials (Tue 4 Jan for 6 weeks – 6.30-9pm -full, Tues 15 Feb – 6.30-9pm – full)

One to one sessions: a full day is £235 during the week and £285 at weekends.

Small wooden “vouchers” are available for the one day course as presents – see below!

Below you will find more details on each of the courses. You can email us at if you would like to sign up for any of our sessions. You can also call 07341 828 954.

Small print: We require full payment on booking. If national or local Covid restrictions change meaning you cannot attend then we will refund or re-schedule as you prefer. Cancellations: Up to 4 weeks before course – money refunded or re-scheduled; 2-4 weeks before course – we will try to fill your place with a reserve – if not feasible then 50% of the course fee will be retained; under 2 weeks to the course we will try to fill the place with a reserve – if not feasible then 75% of the course fee will be retained.

Course Reviews

Some students have been kind enough to leave us reviews on Google – you can read them all if you search Google for Wharfedale Workshop – but here are a few comments:

  • I came away from the course feeling much more confident about my woodwork and ready to tackle anything
  • It is safe to say I learnt a lot over the 6 weeks including both techniques and about the ‘art’ of woodworking. Great to be able to make something which at the start of the course appeared quite complex.
  • Had a great experience on the beginner course, just had a lovely time overall. I learned really helpful skills in tool maintenance as well as wood working and I am looking forward to using these skills in future projects
  • Excellent learning about tools, using them effectively and tuning/maintaining them, materials, woods and buying, all the way through to workshop and bench tools. Lots of hands on. It hugely helped my skills, and helped me to make decisions about what to buy, and renewed my project ambitions. I can highly recommend
  • All in all, I wasn’t sure what I was expecting from the course but it surpassed my expectations and I’ll certainly be interested to come back for another course in the future

Two day weekend Introduction to Woodwork plus project pack

This is a fun but pretty intensive course for hand tool woodwork beginners and will be fairly hard work as we will cover a lot of ground. Much of the 2 days will be hands on with tools putting the skills you learn into practice; we will also have time to go into a fair degree of depth about the various subjects. This course is very much an introduction to fine woodworking and whilst some techniques may be useful for the keen house DIYer, those who get most out of the course tend to be embarking on or re-kindling a commitment to hand tool woodworking.

Subjects we will cover include:

Safety: workshop safety, using tools safely and now Covid safety and how we are going to use the workshop and keep safe.

Sawing: different types of saws, using a bench hook

Planing: different types of planes, maintaining a plane, sharpening a plane, using a bench plane, using a block plane, using a shooting board

Chiseling: different types of chisels, sharpening a chisel

Sharpening: primarily focused on chisels and planes, freehand sharpening, using a honing guide of varying types, using the Scary Sharp system, using a diamond plate, water stones, using a strop

Marking out; basic concepts, face side/face edge, using a marking gauge (traditional and wheel), marking with a knife, using metal squares and metal rulers

Wood: different species of wood and their characteristics, grain, movement, sawing patterns, sourcing and buying wood

Jointing: different types of joints and their properties including cutting a traditional mortice and tenon joint

Dovetail jointing: basic concept, dovetail guides/jigs, marking out, sawing with dovetail saw and fretsaw.

Sanding and finishing wood with waxes and oils

Home project: we will begin to work on a simple dovetail box. We couldn’t possibly get this finished within the 2 days but you will receive a pre-machined project pack of wood to enable you to complete this at home using the skills you have learned. We will spend the final hour working through the various steps to set you on your way. The box is designed such that you don’t need too many tools or a dedicated workbench. (more details on the box can be found in the 6 week beginners evening course – these folk spend more than 12 hours on the box alone so you can see why we can’t cover all of the beginners’ content and make the box in the 2 days)

Tools: some of you may already have some tools – some of you are starting from scratch. We’ll talk through what the basics are, what you can make, what you can get second hand (and re-furbish with your newly found sharpening skills) and what may be worth investing a few pounds in. Over the 2 days you will get the chance to use a lot of different tools and should begin to get a sense of what you need. The following three “tools” all work really well; one from a car boot for 50p, one from Aldi for £3.99 and one from Workshop Heaven*. (*Workshop Heaven is actually a real fine woodworking specialist not a joke! Wharfedale Workshop students get a 10% discount at

One day beginners course

The one day beginners course is really a condensed version of the 2 day course although it obviously covers the subjects in less depth. As with the longer course, this day is very much an introduction to fine woodworking and whilst some techniques may be useful for the keen house DIYer, those who get most out of the course tend to be embarking on or re-kindling a commitment to hand tool woodworking.

We cover use of a hand plane, chiseling, sawing, marking out and will cut a simple dovetail joint in the morning and a mortice and tenon joint in the afternoon. (The “box pack” is not part of this course as there is insufficient time)

See top of page for latest availability. You can email us at if you would like to sign up for any of our sessions. You can also call 07341 828 954.

Router skills course

This one day course is designed for absolute routing beginners. We cover a lot of ground including: Basic router overview, Router set up,trim router vs plunge router, router power, router speeds, Collet sizes, Bit choice/different types of bits, Speed, Direction of cut, Guide bushes, Extraction, Fences, Feather boards etc. Depth stop and depth setting, Chamfers, Round overs, Grooves (plus tongue and groove), Mortice and tenon, Routing jigs, Rebates, Circle cutting, Router tables (although mainly hand held routing)

Our goal is to leave you knowing how to use your router safely and accurately in a variety of situations. We have a good selection of trim routers and plunge routers in the workshop for you to use, but you are encouraged to bring along your own routers as well as long as these are under 12 months old (for safety reasons)

Course Fees

Two day beginners – £255

Two day intermediate – £255

One day beginners – £135

One day router skills- £155

6 x evenings beginners – £145

Four day intermediate course (both 2×2 day and 1 x 4 day) including materials- £595

Materials cost are included unless stated otherwise.

Some work by our students

Get in Touch

Wharfedale Workshop
The Cornmill, Ilkley, West Yorks., LS29 8HT

Call us on 07341 828 954

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