Skills Week - Sharpening & Essential Cabinet Making Hand Skills

Skill Level : Beginner / Intermediate 

Cost : £590

Duration : 5 Days

Test Pieces : Cheese Board and Biscuit Box - Wow your family and friends with the accuracy and crispness of your new found skills!

Other : Students are invited to bring their existing toolkit for appraisal

Dates :


3-7 April 2017

17-21 April 2017 inc. Bank Holiday Monday

17-21 July 2017

14-18 August 2017

11-15 December 2017


About the Sharpening & Cabinetmaking Skills Course

The Cabinetmaking Skills Week is the course you’ve been waiting for.  If you’re a complete beginner this will give you the perfect grounding; if you’ve been woodworking for a while, this will be a great tune-up, sorting out any bad habits and reinforcing fundamental skills.

Everything in Woodwork is based on Sharpening so this is the initial focus. You MUST have a sharpening system at your fingertips that works for you, we will look at angles, the exotic and not so exotic steels used for blades, high speed grinders, water-cooled grinders and bench stones. You will learn a method of sharpening freehand, but you will also learn how to use honing guides – it’s quite OK if freehand honing remains an aspiration for the moment. Western dovetailing and cross-cut saws are great to use, but they also need to be super-sharp for accurate work, so we’ll look at sharpening a Dovetail Saw too.

Planing, Sawing and Chiselling are the three critical elements needed for shaping and jointing bits of wood together so you will be given some good solid technique and exercises to help you practice and conquer these vital skills. Setting up a plane to take gossamer-thin shavings, planing strategies to deal with misshapen pieces of timber, chopping and paring to a knife line with a chisel and bringing a bit of Zen into sawing to make it a focussed, precise process.

To see how things are progressing you will prepare and join several pieces of wood together to make a cheese-board, this will give you a chance to get some calm, composed gluing under your belt, adding some tapered chamfers with a wonderful ‘finesse tool’, the spoke-shave, will complete this little project.

Jointing pieces of wood together is what woodwork is all about so we’ll cut some simple dovetails and mortice and tenons, combining this with a bit of plough pane work for some grooves and adding a bottom will complete an elegant ‘Water Biscuit Box’ to perfectly compliment your board.


Cabinetmaking Hand Skills Week Cheese Board & Biscuit Box



Skills Week with John Lloyd

What you will learn

SHARPENING – fool-proof systems that produce razor-sharp blades

PREPARING A PLANE – fettling and setting up for gossamer-thin shavings

PLANING STRATEGIES – producing super flat wood with a mirror surface

CHISELLING – techniques for safe, accurate chopping and paring

SAWING – Japanese and Western saws need different techniques to get the best out of them and Sawing is the key skill for cutting accurate dovetails

MAKING FRIENDS WITH A ‘FINESSE’ TOOL -  cutting a tapered chamfer with a Spokeshave

CHEESEBOARD EXERCISE – Planing and gluing with some simple cramping tactics and a hand-cut chamfer

A VITAL JOINT – SIMPLE THROUGH DOVETAILS – sawing and chiselling practice to make this hugely important, elegant joint.

ANOTHER VITAL JOINT – THROUGH, WEDGED MORTICE & TENON – another classic joint, the perfect way to make any frame, cut by hand.

THE PLOUGH PLANE – a hand-cut groove avoids screaming routers and makes you smile.

BOX EXERCISE – Combining all the tools and techniques – this simple dovetailed box exercise is the perfect way to check progress.

Download printable booking form


Read what our recent students say about the Skills Week Course

"I would just like to say a big thank you for the fantastic course that you ran last week, i can honestly say i haven't learnt that much in years and along with that had such fun.

You truly have an exceptional environment to learn and the camaraderie is second to none.  Again many, many thanks and hopefully i will get myself along to the long course in the not to distant future."

"It was excellent, I liked everything. Really. The people, the equipment, the course content, John's expertise, Sara-Jane's cake. It was all Brilliant."

"The course was taught at the right pace and the tuition was very good."

"Well thought out. A good pace. Excellent venue. Beautifully laid out classroom. Good workbench. Very good explanations about tools and the different brands."

"Lovely atmosphere, beautiful surroundings, great teacher and fantastic cake!"

"Very good clear and staged instructions to allow skills to develop. The content was challenging but never to the extent that it's outcomes could not be achieved."

"Thanks for another great week. I've been fettling my box today and it's staying to look like something I can be just a little but proud of. Only another ten years and I'll be able to make the perfect dovetail (and win Wimbledon)."

"I also want to say thanks again for such a fantastic week, I learned more than I thought I was capable of and feel much more confident about taking my first steps into a career in carpentry. I know I've still got a long way to go but I feel much better about the future now. Hopefully, I'll be back again next summer, if not before!"

"Absolutely enjoyed every minute. Went to the tool sharpening and beginners cabinet making course. Looked forward to every morning and hated leaving lol. Worst part of the course was its too short!!! Thanks ever so much to John and his patience with my caffeine fuelled jitteriness! Hope to be back as soon as possible!"

"The knowledge and the way information was put across by John standout but the all round atmosphere was excellent. Please move to Carlisle so you are closer. To be honest it is the best week I have had."

"Even with the bar set so high for beginners, the instruction was presented in such well organised and digestible bite size chunks, one was able to absorb and implement the information without feeling overwhelmed or too confused.  The course and instruction far exceeded anything I could have reasonably expected."

"John is a great teacher and the course content was spot on. Its also a great location for me and the home made cakes are a very nice plus!"



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