smartBoxmaker courses

£195.00£495.00

Important update – 04/05/2021: I will be restarting my weekend, six day and one-to-one face-to-face courses from the end of June 2021. In advance of that I’m offering reduced cost pre-bookings, with dates to be confirmed as soon as we know that lockdown restrictions will be lifted.

Prices as shown, click on the tabs below for more info on the courses themselves. Any queries? – please email me or call on +44 [0] 1694 781318.

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Description

smartBoxmaker courses:

 

I know many are waiting and are keen to book – I have a waiting list and I’m offering advance places at a reduced cost.

 

This reserves you a place but is NOT date specific – nearer the time I will propose a schedule and you would then be free to take up your place on whichever date you choose. First come, first served for any particular date.

 

If you would like to reserve your place please make your selection from the dropdown menu above.

 

  •  £195 for a day of one-to-one tuition – [usual cost £295 per day]

 

  •  £195 for weekends [max 4 people – usual cost £295]

 

  •  £495 for the 6 day course [max 4 people – usual cost £740]

NB: when I post the dates on May 21st all subsequent bookings will revert to their full prices.

 

Stay safe, but stay connected!

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5 day gold course separator

weekend

weekend box making courses:

 

box making workshopMy weekend box making courses offer a friendly and informal environment for learning some of the techniques that I regularly use to produce my boxes – and for meeting other like-minded enthusiasts.

 

box making courseThe weekends are project-based and are for a maximum of four people – everyone goes away with an [almost] completed box at the end of day 2.

 

where they are:

 

box making workshopThe courses are held in my workshop on the beautiful Acton Scott Estate, midway between Wenlock Edge and the Long Mynd in the South Shropshire hills AONB.

 

Acton ScottIf you don’t know this area, you have a great treat in store – the countryside around here is stunning!

 

what you make:

 

Each participant makes a simple box:

weekend course boxapprox 10″ x 7″ x 2 1/2″ with solid sides, veneered lid and base with a decorative line inlaid around the lid

 

smartHinge
… fitted with smartHinges and with a pig-suede lined interior.

 

To save time all the conversion and some of the machining will have already been done – these processes are covered in preparatory notes sent out before you attend. There are usually choices as follows:

 

main wood – walnut, sapele, maple or cherry
veneer for the lid – walnut, figured maple, sapele or cherry to match solid
inlay around lid – usually a choice of two or three
… and a choice of three or four colours of leather for lining.

 

what you learn:

 

•  How to veneer the panels to create the lid and base – simply, cleanly, reliably
How to glue up a box so that it’s absolutely square WITHOUT having to measure diagonals …
How to cut off the lid quickly, easily and neatly [the boxes are made ‘closed’]

routing
•  How to accurately and safely cut the grooves for the inlays inverted on a router table ‘unseen’

•  How to trim the corners of router cut inlay grooves square

 

man on a galloping horse

•  How to make PERFECT mitres where your inlays meet at the corners – no men on galloping horses here!

•  How to sharpen and use the mighty scraper – the most versatile and best value tool you will EVER own

•  How to use abrasives to prepare for finishing properly

•  How to apply an oil finish

 

lining a box with leather
How to line your box with pig-suede.

… and many other tricks, tips and techniques along the way.

box making course
As well as these specific techniques there’s always plenty of more general chat about the design of the boxes, use of solid timber/veneer, handtools, abrasives, advice on which machines to prioritise in a small workshop and which hinges to use [admittedly a bit biased] and how to fit them, easily and quickly.

 

Usually sometime during the two days I try find time to hold a ‘clinic’ – this is so you can bring any work along that you’ve done in the past, or are doing currently. Any problems can be dealt with and queries answered.pub lunch

And there’s inevitably a bit of off-topic discussion, although I usually try to reserve this for the pub lunches that are always an enjoyable feature of these courses. We are spoilt around here for excellent pubs [each pays own].

 


the result:

 

box making course

At the end of the weekend you will have a beautifully inlaid box, with the machining for the hinges done and all the preparation for the oiling complete. But as the oiling takes three days [hard to fit into a weekend] and the lining can’t be done until the oiling is completed, what you take home is an ‘almost’ completed box.

 

All you will need to do is to finish the oiling, screw the hinges in place and complete the lining process with the leather provided, all of which are comprehensively discussed and/or demonstrated during the two days. In addition I send out detailed notes by email on the processes that we don’t quite finish, and I’m always available for after-sales service, either by phone or email, should you have any queries or problems. I also send out a list of useful suppliers which is being added to all the time, not least by course participants!

 

materials: Before you attend I send out a list of things to bring, together with plenty of preparatory information. You don’t actually need to bring anything and all main materials are supplied – although you will need to buy yourself a few inexpensive, easily available supplies afterwards to complete the project. 

 

experience: No experience is necessary – although most who attend will inevitably have had some experience in working with wood. Beginners are welcome.

 

what next?:

 

one to one box making tuition

 

The ground that can be covered in a weekend such as this is necessarily limited to the project in hand and some who attend are inspired to come and spend some one-to-one time afterwards [see offers below] so that certain aspects touched on during the weekend can be investigated in more detail. This can be making inlay lines, using burr veneers, curved-form boxes, learning french polishing, fitting complex interiors – or to make a special project from scratch.

six day course

six day course:

 

As with my weekend course the six day course offers a friendly and informal environment for learning some of the techniques that I regularly use to produce my boxes – and for meeting other like-minded enthusiasts. But there’s more time, of course. And as with the weekends the course is project-based and are for a maximum of four people – but unlike the weekend everyone goes away with a completed box.

 

where they are:

 

 

All courses are held in my workshop on the beautiful Acton Scott Estate, midway between Wenlock Edge and the Long Mynd in the South Shropshire hills AONB. If you don’t know this area, you have a great treat in store – the countryside around here is stunning!

 

what you make:

 

Each participant makes a simple box, approx 10” x 7” x 3” with solid sides, veneered lid and base with a decorative line inlaid around the lid. It will be fitted with smartWaresmartHinges and smartLock – have an inlaid escutcheon, beautifully cut keyhole and pig suede lined interior, including a matching tray.

 

To save time the conversion will have already been done – these processes are covered in preparatory notes sent out before you attend.

 

you will have choices as follows:

 

• wood for the main carcass – walnut, maple or cherry
• veneer for the lid – walnut, a variety of figured maples or cherry to match, or contrast with, the solid
• inlay around lid – usually a choice of two
• lining material – a choice of three or more colours of beautiful pigsuede for lining

 

Lunch is usually at the local pub – but not always. Sometimes we stay and eat at the workshop, outside if the weather’s nice …

 

 

what you learn:

 

how to …

 

• perfectly bookmatch and veneer the panels to create the lid and base – simply, cleanly, reliably
• glue up a box so that it’s absolutely square WITHOUT having to measure diagonals …
• cut off the lid quickly, easily and neatly [the boxes are made ‘closed’]
• accurately and safely cut the grooves for the inlays inverted on a router table ‘unseen’
• trim the corners of router cut inlay grooves perfectly square

• make PERFECT mitres where your inlays meet at the corners
• sharpen and use the mighty cabinet scraper – the most versatile and best value tool you will EVER own
• use abrasives to prepare for finishing properly
• apply an oil finish

 


• line your box with pig-suede

 

 

• fit the hardware – smartHinge and smartLocksmartWare of course.

 

Also making and fitting an escutcheon, cutting a beautiful neat keyhole:

 

• make a tray – get the dimensions just right to fit the box … sounds obvious, but it’s easy to get wrong …

 

 

• fit crisp mitre strengthening splines

 

… and many other tricks, tips and techniques along the way.

 

Great concentration is sometimes needed:

 

 

Here a participant is applying oil to a beautiful book-matched walnut lid – note the inlaid snakewood line …

 

As well as these specific techniques there’s always plenty of more general chat about the design of the boxes, use of solid timber/veneer, handtools, abrasives, advice on which machines to prioritise in a small workshop, which hinges to use [admittedly a bit biased] and how to fit them, easily and quickly. And there’s always time during the 5 days to have a look at any work participants have brought along. Any problems can be dealt with and queries answered.

 

And there’s inevitably a bit of off-topic discussion, although I usually try to reserve this for the pub lunches that are always an enjoyable feature of these courses. We’re spoilt around here for excellent pubs [each pays own].

 

the result:

 

What you take home is a completed box, made from timber and veneer of your choice, inlaid with your chosen line, smartWare fitted, a matching escutcheon and keyhole lined throughout with beautiful pigsuede, with a perfectly fitting tray, beautifully finished.

 

In addition I send out detailed notes by email with summaries of some of the key processes covered over the 5 days and I also send out a list of useful suppliers which is being added to all the time, not least by course participants!

 

materials:

 

Before you attend I send out a list of things to bring, together with plenty of preparatory information. You don’t actually need to bring anything and all materials are supplied.

 

experience:

 

no experience is necessary – although most who attend will inevitably have had some experience in working with wood. Beginners are certainly welcome. Most of the processes I use, and teach, are what can be described as ‘de-skilled’. That is, success depends on approaching a process in a certain way, setting up the right jigs [all very simple] doing things in the right order, breaking things down into manageable chunks.

 

 

I think it’s fair to say people are pleased with what they’re able to produce in 5 days!

 

 

what next?

 

The ground that can be covered by any project based course is necessarily limited to the project in hand, although the 5 day course offers more scope for discussion, if not actual ‘doing’. Many who attend are inspired to come and spend some one-to-one time afterwards so that certain aspects touched on during the course can be investigated in more detail. This can be making inlay lines, using burr veneers, curved-form boxes, learning french polishing, fitting complex interiors – or to make a special project from scratch.

one to one

one to one training:

 

 

These are basically bespoke training days [just one, or as many as you like] tailored to cover exactly the areas you want to cover. You could spend your time perfecting the art of book matching, learning to make and seamlessly inlay your own inlay lines, concentrating on the finer points of french polishing – or learning to line jewellery boxes. Or any combination of the above – the choice of what we do, and how long we spend doing it, is entirely yours.

 

And of course we start from exactly where you are – your experience and knowledge of woodwork, or lack of it, and bearing in mind your current workshop and tools [or lack of]. You can be a complete beginner looking for a pleasurable pursuit, or an experienced woodworker looking to fine-tune certain skills, discuss a special project or looking to change direction. I can also advise on setting up a workshop, or on adapting an existing one, for making fine boxes.