VicPhillips_Goodlife_London_April16_Batch3-206-42If you would like to invest in yourself and learn practical skills for life, but are not interested in the academic study side of certification, The Goodlife Centre is introducing a year long woodwork course to take you from complete beginner to competent woodworker, joining us for 3 x 12 week terms on a Wednesday, from 10 am to 5 pm with a break for lunch.

Using a mixture of traditional hand tools and some basic power tools, you will develop the confidence to  build simple wood projects and take on many DIY and home improvement projects. Maximising your time with practical exercises, you will journey through the wonderful world of wood with Ruth Thomson, whose infectious passion and lifelong dedication to carpentry and woodwork will enthuse and inspire you as you travel along the year.

During your development, you will be able to adapt each project to suit your needs and as the number of people on the course will be small, you will have plenty of opportunity to personalise your craft skills. We keep our classes small so that a maximum of 10 students will ensure you benefit from close personal attention during your course.

Course Outline

Full-time carpentry course at The Goodlife Centre in central London Full-time carpentry course at The Goodlife Centre in central London Full-time carpentry course at The Goodlife Centre in central London Full-time carpentry course at The Goodlife Centre in central London Full-time carpentry course at The Goodlife Centre in central London Full-time carpentry course at The Goodlife Centre in central London

Skills are taught using specific wood projects which are designed to cover a broad range of challenges to build your ability as you go. During the year we will cover the following topics.

  • Familiarity with Health and safety in the workshop.
  • Selection and use of hand tools and basic power tools.
  • Making cutting lists and working out costs of timber for projects.
  • Selection of suitable timber and man made materials.
  • Woodworking joints. Learn how to make the classic wood joints and know when to use each one.
  • Making and assembly of basic frames.
  • Fitting doors to cupboards and door frames.
  • Fitting door hardware- hinges, handles locks.
  • Scribing and installing fitted cupboards.
  • Wood adhesives; their selection and use.
  • Sanding and finishing surfaces.
  • Practice of protective hand applied finishes.
  • Care and sharpening of chisels, planes and saws.

Each made object will begin with learning about selection and cutting of timber, with knowledge of pricing and purchasing. There will be at least one trip to a timber merchant to explain timber sizing and mill conversion. The projects will include:


Key learning  

  • Joining wood lengths using wood dowels and drills.
  • Planing flat surfaces.  
  • Marking and outlining shapes onto wood.
  • Shaping using mallet and chisels, coping saws, spoke shaves and portable jigsaw.  
  • Shaping lengths of dowels with files and rasps to create legs for stool.
  • Creating through wedge tenon joint on legs.
  • Fitting rails using paddle drill bits.
  • Levelling feet and uneven surfaces.
  • Sanding and finishing.


Key learning

  • Selection of timber to create legs for table.
  • Marking out and cutting bare faced shoulder joints in rails and legs using marking knives, mortice gauges, and chisels.
  • Gluing up a rectangular frame.  
  • Sanding and finishing.


Key learning

  • Selection of timber and producing cutting list for bespoke sizing of cupboard.  
  • How to draw a workshop rod (A full size drawing; It accurately shows the cross sections, lengths, widths and thickness of the finished work).
  • Cutting large boards with power tools.  
  • Fitting cupboard onto wall or into alcove.


Sizes and suitability will be agreed with Ruth during the course. Contact us if you already have an idea in mind.

Key learning  

  • Drawing a workshop rod to show dimensions.
  • Design and budgeting for materials.
  • Cutting lists and purchasing alternatives.
  • Estimating timescale for producing project.

There will be an appropriate additional charge for materials for this project. As well as recommending how to build a good tool kit, Ruth will teach you how to maintain them by teaching the invaluable skill of honing and sharpening the edges of tools. Even if you have already joined us to make one of the pieces above, we will step up your learning with another challenging project. We look forward to you joining us in September. We’ll put the kettle on and get out the biscuits, and then you can begin.

Teaching & Learning

Full-time carpentry course at The Goodlife Centre in central LondonFull-time carpentry course at The Goodlife Centre in central London Full-time carpentry course at The Goodlife Centre in central London Full-time carpentry course at The Goodlife Centre in central London-134-41Full-time carpentry course at The Goodlife Centre in central London Full-time carpentry course at The Goodlife Centre in central London

Learners will have access to our well equipped woodwork workshop on Wednesdays and the majority of the teaching will be by practical experience on your own projects (listed above). There will be set exercises to be completed and tutors will help learners evaluate their own work in private and group tutorials throughout the course. Any additional projects the learner takes on will be encouraged.

Feedback will be given throughout the course. Fundamental knowledge will be explained in interactive lectures in the workshop using practical examples where possible. Different basic topics will be explored and learners are encouraged to develop their own creativity and confidence as they progress.

Tutors will encourage, support and arrange informal visits to local timber yards to facilitate selection and purchase of materials Opportunities to improve drawing skills will occur as we offer technical drawing days throughout the year. We encourage learners to develop a comprehensive and referenceable folder of notes as a valuable and visible aid to learning, as well as an ongoing portfolio of your own projects.

Entry Requirements

This course is suitable for absolute beginners as well as those who have some previous experience. As much of the learning is transferred verbally, a good knowledge of English is required. We do not have minimum academic qualification requirements.

Supplementary Learning

In addition to our the core woodwork course, learners have the opportunity to round-off their knowledge by attending other related workshops at a substantial discount. These workshops run regularly, in the evenings  and at weekends, and can be taken at any time during your carpentry course or up to a year afterwards for the same rate. These complementary workshops will improve your skill levels and abilities in  wood  carving, wood turning  and upholstery, providing you with a very comprehensive grounding in all levels of carpentry and furniture restoration.

Tutor – Ruth Thomson

Ruth Thomson is an experienced carpenter and enthusiastic teacher. She has headed carpentry departments teaching NVQ levels 1 and 2. Ruth enjoys teaching our basic carpentry as well as bespoke classes for children. She headed the build for our new workshop and wrote an impressive and accurate shopping list for 2 kilometres of wall studding and a ton of plasterboard. When not teaching, Ruth explores the countryside on her motorbike and plays guitar and piano.Not at the same time.


Course fees per term are £675. Or you can save by booking the entire 36 weeks for £1980.00 (contact us for this option).  Optional supplementary workshops start at £49.50 for carpentry course members


All basic materials for the projects are included in the cost of the course

Start Dates

The course takes place weekly for 6 hours on Wednesdays 10 am -1 pm (lunch break) 2 pm-5 pm. Term dates for the course are 14th September 2016, 11th Jan 2017, and 19th April 2017. There will be a one week break for half term- Oct 26,2016, Feb 15 2017, May 31 2017

Register for this event

49-55 Great Guildford Street
United Kingdom

Start Date: 14/09/2016
Course Dates:

Start Time: 10:00
End Time: 17:00