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Peter Sefton Long Courses

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samhay

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My plans are to go into studying international security and diplomacy, it's a subject I enjoy rather than have much experience in since my undergraduate is business related. I realise it would be a tough three years, which is why I'm hoping that a year in woodworking would give me a break from academia - I'd probably still go on to further education afterwards but realise it would seriously impede my workshop time, but also that workshop time would be far more productive if I'd been on a course.
A year of woodworking as a sabbatical sounds good if you can afford it.

Most PhD's (in the UK) take 4 years these days and in the sciences students usually arrange funding about 9 months ahead of start date. It may be very different in your field, but don't leave it until the last minute.
 

Droogs

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it is not good advertising if all your students are reconised through missing digits!
Oh what a great name for a carpentry school "The 9 fingered Attelier" sounds very cool in francious "l'atelier à neuf doigts"
 

Jacob

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I had a look at the "world famous" Chippendale International School of Furniture site.
Never heard of them myself though the name is oddly familiar :unsure: . Furniture Making Course | Chippendale School
Their 30 week course has a spectacular syllabus - which to be realistic can only be a very brief taster of each of the topics. Their "up to 1400 hours bench time" looks impressive - nearly 50 hours a week on top of all that other stuff!
"....aimed at those who want to make fine furniture design their career" ?.....
"or to learn a professional skill in retirement". Sounds more like it! The money for a start.
And why not, if that's what turns you on.
I'd go C&G myself.
 
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Droogs

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From some of the students I have spoken to from there, they average a 12 hour day at the school (voluntarily) most at the bench. The standard of work I have seen is top notch.

edit to correct typo - hour
 
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Blackswanwood

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From some of the students I have spoken to from there, they average a 12 hour day at the school (voluntarily) most at the bench. The standard of work I have seen is top notch.
While I am unable to benchmark against other schools I would echo that. I know someone whose partner dropped out of the rat race and trained there.
 

clogs

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AJBhope this interests you,
I got stuck in Bordaux train station.....in the main concourse area was a grand piano, screw'd down...hahaha....
it was free to anyone that wanted to play.....
over the hour's I had to wait for my train many people played, some great and some not so....
but after they stood up everyone clap'd and cheared.....
it made a most pleasant afternoon for me and many others.....
just wish I could play....anything.....I get a good noise out of my bandsaw blade if that counts.....
my time over again, perhaps I'd make the effort....easy looking back.....
 

Jacob

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AJBhope this interests you,
I got stuck in Bordaux train station.....in the main concourse area was a grand piano, screw'd down...hahaha....
it was free to anyone that wanted to play.....
over the hour's I had to wait for my train many people played, some great and some not so....
but after they stood up everyone clap'd and cheared.....
it made a most pleasant afternoon for me and many others.....
just wish I could play....anything.....I get a good noise out of my bandsaw blade if that counts.....
my time over again, perhaps I'd make the effort....easy looking back.....
Something I'm learning belatedly (guitar, banjo); to play something simple but well, pleases an audience a thousand times more than playing something difficult badly. PS that would apply to making wooden things too! Gone the full circle!
n.b. it's never too late to start (I'm told)
 
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Skydivermel

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If money isn't an issue Bill then I'd go with the school that gives you the most personal satisfaction and skill development. I did an evening class at Rycotewood in Thame Rycotewood Furniture | Furniture Making College | Oxfordshire during the early 2000's and really enjoyed it. I started with virtually no wood working knowledge, having been trained as an Engineer. The tuition was excellent and I learnt a lot but sadly they closed it down and moved it to Oxford. I followed them there but the tuition was poor in comparison as our tutor left and the instructor/student ratio was far too big, so I left, I don't know what it is like now.
Like Mike I trained at Rycotewood in the mid to late 80's doing the Antique Restoration HND course. We had 2 very good instructors whom were very passionate about woodwork and antique furniture. I decided that I would do antique restoration and earn my living that way. I realised after a couple of years that the only people making any real money were the antique dealers. As an example one dealer in Essex brought me a 1800's bonheur du jour to restore. (It was in a poor state) I asked him how much he wanted to spend and he said about £60. I told him I could wax it for him for that price and he promptly took it off to some other mug to restore for him.

After 4 years as a restorer I started to buy furniture at auction and restore and sell myself. I earnt far more money that way than just restoring. I later trained as a mechanical engineer which I've been doing since and I'm due to retire next year whereby I'll likely go back to buying, restoring and selling antique bits to keep the beer tokens coming in.
 

thetyreman

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My parents played violin and piano to some sort of standard but never brilliantly. This led them to believe that they were no good at music.
They both listened to and enjoyed a wide range of music including popular stuff, but were utterly inhibited about having a go themselves even though my mum often said she wished she could play the piano for fun in a pub and ditto my dad was into irish music.
They could have done it easily if they hadn't been so inhibited by formal but 'elitist' training.
A lot of people fall into this trap, in crafts and many other areas too.
I was sold this lie as well having come from a working class background, it is sadly still around now, and in schools they are gradually getting rid of the arts, my careers advisor told me in secondary school that music isn't even a career, even though I proved them wrong and became a guitar teacher, you are spot on about some music teachers being elitist, most people still think music is a useless subject and should be scrapped :unsure: I find it very sad.
 

Sean33

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Now, I KNOW Peter is on this forum, but it's perhaps the best place to ask. Peter's probably gone pale reading this hoping that I'm not planning on turning up but.....

I finish my degree in June, and if my property sells before August I am left with just the responsibility of two cats. My current plan involves doing a Masters and PhD (yes, I am definitely trying to avoid real work ever again) but if I have the cash then I'd much rather go and improve my skills with wood.

So, has anyone done the course? I would love to hear any views. Obviously you're free to PM me if you'd rather keep them confidential (even if good).

I should mention that I've looked at other courses too, I went to meet David Savage with the intention of going to Rowden, but obviously he's sadly passed away and whilst I am in no doubt that the school and its staff is good, the loss of its mentor does affect consideration. Others I've looked at include Williams & Cleal, Marc Fish, Waters & Acland, and John Lloyd.
I did a course a fair few years ago with John Lloyd. From memory there was only max 5 to a class, I found it excellent and when/if i get the time i would go back and do a short course on french polishing with him. I met a few of the guys that had done the long course with him as he did a service where you could rent a bench/machinery etc and would be at hand to help, dont know if others do this but thought it was excellent service and previous students must have thought so to. hope this helps
 

AJB Temple

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On the wood course front, my most salutary lesson was a really old guy in Cremona. Only spoke Italian. He was able to pick out tone wood by tapping it and listening to it and knowing what would make the finest instrument. Other violin makers were in awe of his ability and described it as God given. He was very unassuming.

Music is a parallel in a way. I was taught classical piano as a small child, but as is often the case my various teachers and parents were focussed on passing exams. Playing by ear was not taught, which is a pity. When wheeled out by my parents to "play" for friends I was incapable without the music. I was dependent on process in a way. I gave up piano after passing grade 8. But I took up guitar (rock, folk, country - anything), entirely by ear. It's a lot easier mind you.

As an adult, in my 30's, my wife to be bought me a small grand piano as a surprise birthday present and I took it up again. My aim was the equivalent of becoming a fine furniture maker, but in music for me this was a Performance Diploma. The difficulty is miles above Grade 8 and I was being taught by a Russian Concert Pianist. And this was also a salutary lesson. Among other things I was learning the Piano Concerto in A minor by Grieg. Evgenia sat listening to a tricky passage. Then she demonstrated how she wanted it played. Then demonstrated exactly how I was doing it. In passing she said she had learnt and memorised this piece when she was 11, so she was a bit rusty ( She was in her early thirties I would guess). The Russian music conservatories cherry pick talented kids, chuck out everyone else, and the regime is brutally focussed. So it was clear where the talent lay.... and it was missing when my bum was depressing the piano stool.

I enjoy making things in wood but I know my limits. I enjoy playing piano and I know my limits. The journey is sometimes better than the arrival, especially when the destination is always out of reach.

It is still best to get the very best teachers we can find and afford.
 

Shinyone

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I’m a shocking short course junkie - I’ve done various courses with Peter Sefton, David Charlesworth, Chris Tribe, Andrew Crawford and Mark Farrelly (both box makers), John Lloyd, and Ciaràn Ó Braonáin (who makes lovely gun boxes and teaches absolute beginners very well). I had some lovely days learning about shaker boxes from Richard Gibson, and steam bending from Charlie Whinney, and I’m currently looking forward to learning about Windsor chair making from James Mursell.

It would take a much longer post to give a detailed account of the highs and lows of each - but in summary, I’ve learned a great deal, and I think there has been value in experiencing a wide variety of workshops and approaches. I adore David C, respect and admire Peter, Chris and John, and am hugely grateful to all my tutors for their endless patience in the face of my endless questions and cock-ups. I now know that as a hobbyist I prefer to work with my hands rather than machines (it’s the journey for me, more than the destination), although I have a fine selection of machines in my shop that make life easier when it matters. I know how I like to sharpen my tools, and I know how to make nice things.

So why do I still pine for a long course? I think what I’m missing is learning to design pieces in a supportive environment, where I can bounce my ideas off other experienced people. I’d love to do Peter’s long course, although I’m also very tempted by Mark Ripley’s advanced furniture-making course at the National Boatbuilding Academy in Lyme Regis. Sadly, the financial and practical implications of either of those put them beyond my reach for the moment - but who knows what the future will bring?
 

johnnyb

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tell us about the highs and lows of these courses(maybe in a generalised way as some of the guys you mentioned are posters)it would make a fascinating post tbh.
personally I would love to learn some of the techniques in advanced circular joinery. specifically certain moulding and stuff thats seen. but these technique probably border on the scary.
and there use is very niche tbh.
 

Skingdom

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I’m a shocking short course junkie - I’ve done various courses with Peter Sefton, David Charlesworth, Chris Tribe, Andrew Crawford and Mark Farrelly (both box makers), John Lloyd, and Ciaràn Ó Braonáin (who makes lovely gun boxes and teaches absolute beginners very well). I had some lovely days learning about shaker boxes from Richard Gibson, and steam bending from Charlie Whinney, and I’m currently looking forward to learning about Windsor chair making from James Mursell.

It would take a much longer post to give a detailed account of the highs and lows of each - but in summary, I’ve learned a great deal, and I think there has been value in experiencing a wide variety of workshops and approaches. I adore David C, respect and admire Peter, Chris and John, and am hugely grateful to all my tutors for their endless patience in the face of my endless questions and cock-ups. I now know that as a hobbyist I prefer to work with my hands rather than machines (it’s the journey for me, more than the destination), although I have a fine selection of machines in my shop that make life easier when it matters. I know how I like to sharpen my tools, and I know how to make nice things.

So why do I still pine for a long course? I think what I’m missing is learning to design pieces in a supportive environment, where I can bounce my ideas off other experienced people. I’d love to do Peter’s long course, although I’m also very tempted by Mark Ripley’s advanced furniture-making course at the National Boatbuilding Academy in Lyme Regis. Sadly, the financial and practical implications of either of those put them beyond my reach for the moment - but who knows what the future will bring?
those courses actually helped you?! I am pretty new to this domain and I am also looking to take some courses
 

msparker

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+1, would be great to get some thoughts on the various short courses which are much more feasible time and money-wise!
 

MikeK

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those courses actually helped you?! I am pretty new to this domain and I am also looking to take some courses
+1, would be great to get some thoughts on the various short courses which are much more feasible time and money-wise!

I attended four of David Charlesworth's week-long courses and recommend them:
I was fortunate to be his only student for the Tool Tuning and Dovetailing courses and one of two students for the other two courses.
 

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