Simple furniture making – beginners with Tom Kealy

Ref: SLW32332

Location: West Dean
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About this course

Learn basic woodworking techniques as you make a small bench. Timber is supplied and all essential tools, hand planes and chisels will be provided.

Course Description

If you would like to make simple furniture but have no previous woodworking experience, this course will help you to learn some fundamental woodworking techniques. You will use tools provided by the College to make a small bench from solid timber (see note advising about cost in Materials).

You will be introduced to the use of hand planes, chisels and other essential tools required to make the bench. The tutor has designed the bench so that you can learn, step-by-step, all the necessary construction processes.

Enjoy a combination of tutor led demonstrations and practical work, as you gain an understanding of how to use the tools that you have been introduced to and the techniques needed to make the bench.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials

What students need to bring

  • Glasses, if you need them
  • An HB or B pencil
  • Comfortable covered shoes are essential (not sandals)

Available to buy

  • Available from tutor:
  • The tutor will supply timber for the project; the approximate cost of this is around £95 each. This charge must be paid to the tutor before the end of the course, by cash or cheque.

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio. This includes stout covered footwear, i.e. no open-toes or sandals, and safety boots, if specified.


Tom Kealy

Tom Kealy has designed and made contemporary furniture since training at Parnham College in 1979, and for ten years was senior craftsman in the John Makepeace workshops. He runs furniture making classes from his workshop, and teaches at the Centre for Furniture Craftsmanship in America and the Building Crafts College, London.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

Courses of interest

Interested in a career in woodworking?

Our Foundation Degree specialising in Furniture is designed to give you well-rounded woodworking theory and craft skills to become a self-employed maker or craftsperson, to continue your studies in higher education or to find employment in the creative industry sector. Find out more