Woodturning for beginners with Stefano Santilli

Ref: SWE32986

Location: West Dean
Book now

1 place available

About this course

This course is aimed at beginners who would like to learn the principles of turning on the wood lathe through the creation of a three-legged stool. You will learn by a variety of methods, including: tutor demonstrations, practical exercises, group discussion and one-to-one feedback from the tutor.

Course Description

Create your own individual three-legged stool and learn a wide variety of different woodturning techniques and skills that you can apply to future projects of your own.

On the first evening, your tutor will introduce the principles of the lathe as a versatile woodworking machine and the safe use of tools in the West Dean workshop. This will be followed by a discussion of how you can arrange the materials provided to create a three legged stool (potentially with contrasting wood bands) before gluing up a seat blank in preparation for faceplate turning.

Over the weekend, the tutor will teach you how to prepare blanks for spindle turning in order to create your own individual stool legs, including a classic wedged dowel tenon joint for attaching to the seat. Four essential types of wood turning tool will be used and the basics of sharpening with a slip stone and grinding wheel demonstrated.

The glued up seat blank will be band saw cut into a circle and mounted onto the faceplate for trimming to a precise diameter, adding contours, detail and a central cavity. Using a scroll chuck you can turn a contrasting rosette insert to complete the lathe work. After drilling holes in the seat, inserting the legs, trimming and sanding, you will learn about different types of wood finishes and apply your chosen finish to your stool.

By the end of the course, you will have created your own individual three-legged stool, having learned a wide variety of different woodturning techniques and skills that you could apply to future projects of your own.

Course Materials


  • 4 x 40mm x 40mm x 440mm sawn ash blanks for legs
  • 1 x 100mm x 30mm x 910mm prepared ash blank for seat
  • 1 x 6mm x 30mm x 600mm prepared oak
  • 1 x 100mm x 100mm x 20mm prepared oak for a central rosette

What students need to bring

  • Overall, boiler suit or smock (to protect your clothes against wood dust and shavings. It should be close fitting round the neck, no loose ties and long hair must be tied back securely.)
  • Covered, sturdy, but comfortable footwear is needed – sandals are not permitted in the workshop.
  • Woodturning tools (marked with your name), if you have any

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Pencil
  • Finishing oil
  • 80, 100, 150, 180, 240, 320 grit, cloth backed abrasive

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.


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)

General Information


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

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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