Ben Willis Woodcraft
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Ladies and gentleman, come and witness history! Obby is bringing you the first greenwood chair-making course in London EVER. 10 weekly sessions may be a commitment but boy is it worth it at the end – make your own heirloom in the form of a simple Windsor-style chair, without requiring any woodworking experience at all!
Greenwood has 100% moisture content relative to air-dried or seasoned wood, which is considered to be roughly 20%. Greater moisture allows it to be shaped and cut far easier, precisely the reason you’ll be using it in this course!’
Firstly, learn how to fashion fresh timber, straight from the log, into the legs, stretchers and spindles (chairs main components). You’ll be using axe, drawknife and spokeshave to do this or, for the more adventurous amongst you or for those who’ve taken part in Ben’s introductory course, you can try your hand at turning these parts on a traditional foot-powered lathe.
You’ll then make your seat, using traditional ‘bottoming’ tools; the adze and travisher. Then, time for some bending – using steam and a bit of magic to bend the comb (top bit) of your chair to a nice head-cradling curve. After a bit of jiggery-pokery to put it all together, you’ll have the finished article, for all the world to see!
Ben is wood-crazy and has plenty of teaching experience – he’ll help you throughout the course to make sure you’re happy with that Windsor-chair of yours!
Sign yourself up for Ben Willis’ Make a chair course if you want to meet people who share your creative, crafting passions. Alternatively, bring that friend whose in need of a challenge or desperately trying to avoid one!
Copious quantities of tea, coffee, biscuits and occasionally cake will be supplied.
Basic materials are covered, but there will be an additional charge for the seat material. This will be £20-30, depending on what I have in stock at the time.
Only 4 spaces for this course ladies and gents, spare yourself the faffing and disappointment and book now!
Member since June 2016
Ben Willis Woodcraft
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Ben Willis Woodcraft is an independent wood workshop based in Crystal Palace offering a chance to get back to nature by using green wood to make a bowl, stool or chair from scratch.
Ben makes bespoke furniture and it all starts this way - as a log, as far as is possible freshly cut from the woodland. Aside from the practical advantages of using material in this form, as previously described, an added benefit is that it sustains the ancient practice of coppicing, a sustainable method for managing woodlands in which trees are cut, allowed to regrow again for a period of time, before being harvested once more - and so on.
Ben was for a long time fascinated watching demonstrations at craft shows by skilled craftsmen and women of some of the old woodworking techniques. Eventually, Ben got around to signing up to a week-long chair-making course in Herefordshire with Mike Abbott, one of the leading recent exponents of the craft and a key figure in the revival of traditional woodworking techniques. Predictably, he was hooked, and jumped on the chance of returning to Mike's workshop in the woods the following year to work as his assistant for a season.
This gave Ben chance to learn the craft in depth from someone with a huge amount of knowledge. Since then, Ben has been honing the skills he learnt from Mike learning more from others and developing his own ideas and approaches to the craft.
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