The cost of our courses have remained unchanged for over five years, due to inflation we will need to increase our prices on January 1st 2024. Any courses booked before that date will remain at our existing prices.
On this 8 week diploma course you will learn how to skillfully use, sharpen and maintain the many traditional hand tools used in the restoration of fine antique furniture.
You will learn how to recognise different types of wood and veneer.
You will learn how wood is cut, dried and made ready for different uses.
You will learn how to make a bench and fit it with a vice.
You will learn how to design your workshop in whatever space you have available.
You will learn what tools and equipment you will need and where to buy them.
You will learn how to make a set of dovetail joints and all the other joints that were originally used in the making of fine antique furniture and also useful in its restoration.
Near the end of the course you will make a small, simple piece of furniture that you will keep after the course, this is so you can put everything you have been learning into practice.
This may sound like a lot to learn, but you will be personally tutored on a one-to-one basis by Nigel Phillips, a master craftsman with over 35 years of teaching experience. There will be a maximum of only 2 students per course.
The course is designed for the complete beginner, but it is also perfect for those who know their tool skills are lacking and wish to take their abilities to a new level of excellence.
Nigel Phillips has many years of experience and the personal nature of the tuition allows him to cover a great number of topics with great clarity in a short time. This, coupled with our new highly efficient home study course section, allows us to offer this course at a very affordable price.
This course is designed to develop your hand tool skills to the high level required to participate on our diploma course in antique furniture conservation, restoration and refinishing techniques (including French Polishing) one academic year (36 weeks) in length.
THE COURSE IS DIVIDED INTO 4 MAIN PARTS:
PART 1 The list of hand tools you will learn about on this course are:
Steel rules, Straight edges, Retractable tape measure, Tri square, Dovetail template, Spirit levels, Mitre squares, Sliding bevel, Marking knife and Pencils.
Marking gauges, Mortise gauge, Cutting gauge, Curved edge gauge and Profile gauge.
Rip saw and Crosscut saw.
Tenon saw, Dovetail saw, Bead saw, Bench hook, and Mitre block.
Fret saw, Coping saw, Compass saw.
Kataba, Ryoba, Dozuki and other Japanese saws.
Try plane, Jack plane and Smoothing plane.
Bench rebate plane, Shoulder plane and Block plane.
Firmer chisel, Bevel edge chisel, Paring chisel, Out channel Gouge and In channel gouge.
Sashmortise chisel and Registered mortise chisel.
Sharpening stones: Oil stones, Wet stone, Gouge sharpening Cone and strop.
Mechanical grinding and sharpening systems of different kinds.
Spoke shaves of different kinds.
Scrapers of different kinds.
Wood rasps and files of different kinds.
Bradawl, Gimlet, Hand drill, Countersink, Twist and other drills bits, Ratchet brace and Brace drill bits.
Mallets, hammers, and punches of different kinds.
Nail and screw extracting tools of different kinds.
Screw drivers of different kinds.
Pliers, Mole grips, Tin snips and Shears of different kinds.
Benches and vices.
Clamps amd jigs of different kinds.
Health and safety aspects of using hand tools.
PART 2 - The list of joints you will learn to make are:
Butt joints of different kinds.
Lap joints of different kinds.
Halving joints of different kinds.
Edge to edge joints of different kinds.
Housing joints of different kinds.
Mortise-and-tenon joints of different kinds.
Bridle joints of different kinds.
Dowel joints of different kinds.
Dovetail joints of different kinds.
PART 3 - Making a simple practice piece of furniture:
Near the end of the course you will make a small simple piece of furniture that you will keep after the course. This is so you can put everything you have been learning into practice.
PART 4 - The home study section - The theory and preparation exercises to support the practical parts of this course (to be completed at your home):
Nigel Phillips and Peter Thomson started teaching the development of hand tool skills and the restoration of fine antique furniture over 35 years ago. They have used their extensive experience to design this home study course complete with a detailed course reference manual.
Prior to the start of the course and during the time between the personal tuition weeks with Nigel Phillips in his workshop you will carry out this 5 week, carefully engineered and well supported home study course. The first 2 of the 5 weeks are pre-course preparation weeks in which you will be instructed on setting up your workshop, making a bench and buying tools. This may of course take you much longer to do if your plans for a workshop require more than building a bench and fitting out a garage or spare room. Peter Thomson will be available to advise on the preparation of any type of workshop you choose to set up. You may also choose to set up your workshop after the course, but if you do this you will not be able to fully participate on the course. Please call Peter Thomson on +44(0)1392 432 786 if you have any questions about this.
The other 3 weeks of the home study course are designed to provide the essential background theory to all aspects of the practical course work listed in parts 1, 2 and 3 above. The home study section also instructs you on essential skill developing exercises designed to ensure that you will be thoroughly prepared for the weeks of one-to-one personal tuition with your tutor Nigel Phillips.
For example, during one of the personal tuition weeks you will be shown by Nigel how to make a dovetail joint. After you have successfully made your dovetail joint, supervised by Nigel, you will know how it is done, but you will still need to fully master the skill and make it second nature, this can only be done by practicing. This repetitive but essential practicing is best done in the peace and quiet of your own home, leaving your personal tuition time with Nigel free to learn new skills.
During the home study weeks you will receive plenty of personal support from Nigel over the phone or email. You will also be given a superb hard back reference book that acts as the course manual, detailing everything you will be learning. The home study manual combined with this detailed course reference manual will help you to remember and relate to what you are learning and be an essential ongoing reference during the course and for many years to come.
ARE YOU TAKING THIS COURSE IN COMBINATION WITH OUR DIPLOMA COURSE IN ANTIQUE FURNITURE CONSERVATION, RESTORATION AND REFINISHING TECHNIQUES (INCLUDING FRENCH POLISHING) ONE ACADEMIC YEAR (36 WEEKS) IN LENGTH?
If you are booking on this tool skills course in preparation for the 1 year restoration course then we have good news for you, if you book the 2 courses at the same time we will offer you a discount of £200. We offer this incentive because it is essential your tool skills are up to the standard required for the 1 year restoration course and doing this course with Nigel will ensure they are. You will also set up your workshop/workspace differently if you are doing both courses as you will be setting up for polishing as well as woodwork. Please call Peter Thomson to discuss any questions you have on +44(0)1392 432 786.
Three weeks of the course (Monday to Friday) are entirely practical, hands on, and are conducted at our partner Nigel Phillip’s workshop not far from Plymouth, set in the beautiful Cornish countryside. The course starts at 9:30 am. We stop for coffee at 11:00 to 11:15 am. A simple lunch is served from 1:00 to 2:00 pm. We stop for tea at 4:00 pm and the day ends at 6:00 pm. The atmosphere is enthusiastic yet relaxed and you are invited to work at your own pace. You will have your own bench and selection of tools. There is a maximum of only two students per course.
It is recommended that you have a workspace/workshop at home to practice what you will be learning with Nigel during the personal tuition weeks at his workshop. Also you will need a space to carry out the making of your practice piece of furniture, (part of which you will do at home) and to prepare for future weeks of personal tuition with Nigel. An extension, garage, spare room in your house, or a wooden shed in your back garden will be fine. Most people who come on this course want to work at home after the course ends so this is something you would want do anyway. Peter Thomson will provide advice on whatever type of workshop/work space you choose.
Your main tutor is Nigel Phillips:
He is a teacher with over 35 years experience, a master craftsman with endless patience and the natural ability to impart his knowledge effectively to others. After qualifying as a craft and design teacher Nigel taught woodwork, metalwork and silver smithing in secondary schools and adult education. He now offers a bespoke furniture making service.
The lead tutor for all our other courses and the home study coordinator is Peter Thomson:
He is a 4th generation master craftsman. He completed a traditional training at his family's antique furniture restoration workshops and then attended West Dean College where he received a B.A.D.A diploma in antique furniture restoration and conservation in 1974. He has worked for the National Trust, Sotheby's, the Jordanian Royal family, museums, private collectors and dealers both here and in the U.S.A. He started teaching over 35 years ago. He has renovated some of the world’s most rare, beautiful and valuable antique furniture.
This course is open to everyone, men and woman of all ages. The course is designed for the complete beginner, but it is also perfect for those who know their tool skills are lacking and wish to take their abilities to a new level of excellence. It is the ideal preparation course for those intending to participate in our Diploma Course in Antique Furniture Conservation, Restoration and Refinishing Techniques (including French polishing) 1 academic year (36 weeks) in length.
Please call Peter Thomson 01392 432786 regarding this course.
Total cost: £1,495 including 3 weeks tuition at Nigel Phillips workshops in Cornwall (maximum of 2 students per course) with a simple lunch provided, 5 week home study course section, course reference manual and most of the materials. A charge of £25 is made for the wood required to make the practice piece of furniture you will take home with you, this wood is charged to you at cost. A deposit of £300 is required in advance to secure your course place. If you are booking on this course at the same time as the one year diploma course you are eligible for a £200 discount.
We provide an attractive Gift Card with an enclosed course voucher that makes one of our courses the perfect birthday or other present.