Ben Willis Woodcraft
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In this introduction to woodworking course in London you will learn to split logs into rough billets using a maul, wedges and froe, and then how to shape them.
Ever wanted to know how Harrison Ford got into showbusiness? For a long time, Ford couldn't pay the bills through acting, turning to carpentry of all things for a steady income. Crazier yet, he realised he wasn't half bad. His talents were recognised by the rock band the Doors, hiring him as a stagehand whilst also landing the job of building cabinets for soon-to-be 'Star Wars' director George Lucas. He’s only gone on to become the highest grossing actor in Hollywood history.
Firstly, you'll learn how to split logs into rough billets using a maul, wedges and froe. You'll then be shown safe and efficient use of tools including the axe, drawknife, carving knife and shavehorse to further shape the timber.
After that, you’ll then get to experience the wonders of turning wood on a foot-powered lathe. This magical device has been superseded by the electric-powered lathe, but you’ll be shown how do it ye olde way – using just the power of your own legs and a bit of sweat along the way.
There are options then to focus on hand-carving or to make a simple cleft-wood footstool.
After four weeks you’ll have a solid grounding in the basics of green woodwork and traditional turning, as well as a variety of lovely items to take home with you. You’re also likely to be highly addicted!
A solid grounding in the basics of turning as well as a variety of lovely (round) items to take home with you.
It's the perfect thing to learn with a mate, you can get slightly competitive with your foot-work and we guarantee that by the end you’re likely to be highly addicted!
There’s only 4 spaces for this one, so get your name down now to avoid missing out!
All the materials will be supplied, come wearing clothes you don't mind getting covered in sawdust and wear strong shoes!
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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