9-Day Foundation Woodworking Course

We developed this Foundational Workshop over two decades ago and many thousands of woodworkers have discovered the art of traditional hand tool woodworking.

In this foundational joinery workshop you first build a dovetailed chisel tray followed by a traditional Shaker candle box, an arched wall shelf and an Oak occasional table. The joinery includes a variety of different dado joints, mortise and tenons joints and dovetail joints. You will learn the correct patterns for recessing hinges by hand, the complexities of the hand plane and how to cut and shape the different parts for Arts-and Crafts tenons, bullnosing to edges and transom arching using traditional methods.

These projects have been especially designed to teach the foundational skills attendees need to make and design their own furniture and woodworking projects.

Please check—Some of our more advanced courses may require this course as a pre-requisite course.

Find out more about the course content here.

The cost of the course is £1350.00 GBP which includes materials. However, food and accommodation are not included.


Our next class will take place between 25th July and 3rd August 2017 (Sunday, 30th July, is a rest day) in our workshop located at Sylva Foundation, Long Wittenham, Oxfordshire.

This class is now full. Please have a look at our other classes.

The class will start at 9.00 and finish at 17.00.



During this intensive Woodworking course, taught by Paul Sellers, you will cover a range of topics, working towards producing 3 pieces of work you can take home.

Topics covered include:

The basics

  • Sharpening
  • Planecraftat
  • Using the saw

The projects

  • Dovetail boxes including dovetail joint, roundovers and hinge setting
  • Shelf including mortises, tenons and shaping the arches
  • Side Table including leg layout and mortise cutting, edge jointing and  tabletop production.

The selection of projects carried out during this course is aimed to build on on the knowledge learnt on the previous project.

The following is our internal schedule. Things don’t always work out exactly as follows but it is a useful guide for potential students to see what we plan to cover.

Day 1

Introduction and orientation



Planing four-square 

Using the saw 

Practicing angled cutting

Getting started with dovetails

Cutting four dovetail corners 


Day 2

Cutting double dovetails

Dovetail box layout

Dovetailing boxes

Gluing up 


Day 3

Glue up and planing


Hinge layout & recessing hinges

Set hinges

Fit lid and bottom & glue bottom


Day 4

Housing dadoes 

Through housing dadoes

Stopped and stepped housing dado 

Shelf layout 

Start shelves

Fitting the shelves

Cut the dadoes and fit the shelves

Day 5

Mortise the shelf sides

Laying out and cutting the tenons 


Day 6

Shaping the arches

Shape the through tenons 

Prepare and glue up

Side Table

Leg layout and mortise cutting

Day 7

Layout, making and fitting tenons 

Cut and fit tenons

Day 8

Edge jointing 

Edge joint tabletop

Layout and cut arch in apron


Day 9

Layout and shape legs

Shape legs

Plane and scrape tabletop 

Make turnbuttons