Full-Time Furniture Making

Jewellery Box 1We are very pleased to announce that we will be able to offer a range of full time furniture making/cabinet making courses starting in September 2016.

With opportunities to take a three month, six month or year long jump into fine furniture making you will be guided by experienced furniture maker and teacher Ben Rawlinson here in the centre of London. A maximum of three full time students will ensure you benefit from close personal attention during your course.

The traditional options for someone starting out as a maker have been to study at a college or with a furniture maker in their workshop in the country. Many of the state funded courses have now closed and Londoners have needed the resolve and resources to leave London and set up nearby the maker with all the additional living expenses of being away from home and family. Our courses are taught from our newly equipped studio close to Southwark and Borough tube, within walking distance of Waterloo and London Bridge.

During your 12, 24 or 48 week course you will first learn, then put into practice the key and advanced skills needed to reach a very high quality of making. Whatever your level of experience, age or intentions for the future we have the necessary knowledge and passion for our craft to see you succeed.

Tutored time in the studio is from 9am until 5pm, adding up to 1,560 hours over the course of a year. Outside of these hours but whilst the Goodlife Centre is open (currently 4 evenings and the weekend for 38 weeks a year) we welcome students working at their bench using hand tools only. This totals another 988 hours of available bench time.


12 Week Course Details

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Option One: Beginner Level

Our 3 month course is long enough for a complete beginner to get a grounding in the basics of fine woodworking and complete a set project to a high standard so you have a beautiful piece of furniture to take away.

You will learn how to hone your tools to a professional standard and use them precisely through a series of set exercises. This will increase your knowledge base to include:

       Timber technology

       Selecting, purchasing and sharpening tools

       Marking and measuring to workshop standard tolerances

       Joints and carcass construction

You will then explore how a design is taken from an initial sketch to a dimensioned working drawing which is used to make a cutting list. You will make a series of design decisions to personalise your project, create a scaled drawing and then undertake a supervised trip to a timber yard.

As you work through your project you will be trained in the safe working use of all the workshop machinery and the processes needed to bring the furniture to fruition including:

       Accurate dimensioning of timber

       The veneering process. Selecting, cutting and laying up

       Shaping and grooving using the router table and spindle moulder

       Creating templates and jigs

       Use of power tools including routers and biscuit jointer

       Adhesive selection, application and gluing up techniques

       Sanding and finishing processes

Start dates are September, January and April. For more details contact us info@thegoodlifecentre.co.uk


Option Two: Intermediate level

For those with some woodworking or making experience who already have an idea of what they would like to make we can offer a more bespoke course suited to your needs. This will begin with an initial consultation where we can discuss what your current skill set and tools are, what you would like to focus on in particular and what you would like to produce in your time.

You will be guided through the design process of how to turn your project into reality working within budget, material and design constraints just as a professional furniture maker would whilst working for a client.

Once a design is decided upon timber can be purchased and left to acclimatise in our workshop whilst you practice and refine the skills you will need. This will also be the time to address your tools if they need honing.

The making will then commence and you will be guided and helped where necessary and kept on track to finish your project(s) on time.

Start dates are September, January and April.  For more details contact us info@thegoodlifecentre.co.uk


Course fees

12 week course fees: £7,000. £2,000 deposit. Balance is due on first day of course. We take all major credit cards.

A budget for tools and materials must also be allowed for. Please see below for details and estimates of these costs.


24 Week & 48 Week Course Details

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Perhaps you are looking to start out on a career in furniture making, looking to change direction in life or become finely trained in anticipation of a perfect retirement?

We are now offering a 48 week and 24 week full time course here at The Goodlife Centre where you can immerse yourself fully in the designing and making of studio quality pieces.

Perfect for absolute beginners, even if you have rarely stepped away from that office desk, but hanker to learn what it takes to produce those ideas you dream of.

Learn design principles and study the work of existing makers to hone your own making style.

Both courses will follow the same pathway for the first five to six months which is where the core training of furniture making will be given. You will receive daily lessons and practical demonstrations as you work through a series of set projects, culminating in a fine dovetailed hinged box, designed to hone your hand skills and safely build a working knowledge of workshop machinery.

You will have the option of building your own workbench will will set you for life with a rock solid working platform and teach many aspects of machining in its construction. The other option will be a cabinet incorporating frame and panel, doors and drawers amongst other essential skills that every fine furniture maker must learn.

The second part of the year is where your creative side can be let loose and you can plan and make pieces of your own design. How you use your time will be up to you but you will be advised on how to maximise your freedom within the workshop.

The final pieces will be photographed by a professional photographer to form part of your own presentation portfolio.

Daily tutoring sessions will continue to build your knowledge and depending on your personal goals guidance will be given in the following areas:

        Setting up a workshop

       Setting up a business: legalities, costs, branding

       Exhibiting your work: galleries, exhibitions, competitions

       Website building: SEO, page ranking

       Preparing for employment

       Client meeting preparation and presentation

Start dates are September, January and April.  For more details contact us info@thegoodlifecentre.co.uk


Course Fees

24 week course fees £12,000.  £2,000 deposit. £5,000 payable on first day of course and remaining balance at start of week 13.

48 week course fees £18,000. £2,000 deposit. £8000 on first day of course and remaining balance at start of week 25.

A budget for tools and materials must also be allowed for. Please see below for details and estimates of these costs.


Tools

All students will be expected to purchase/use their own tools and equipment and a budget should be allowed for this. The sooner this is done the sooner you will be able to hone and start using them on project work. Advice on what to purchase or on what you already own can be given prior to starting or if you prefer to wait and discuss with us what would be best for you there will be a set of tools for you to try and evaluate before you decide.

For a full set of hand tools and marking/measuring equipment that is up to the job you should allow £600 – £800. Longer term students will also need to add some equipment as they progress and £1500 to £2000 in total is a realistic amount.

If you already own tools and equipment that are suitable, or can be given some time to bring up to standard, this may result in a lower budget.


Materials

Materials for initial set projects, excluding cabinets, boxes and workbenches, will be provided as part of the course.

Depending on choice of materials, dimensions and details you should allow approximately:

       Dovetailed box with fine hinges – £120

       Cabinet with doors and drawer(s) – £200 to £350

       Workbench with vices – £450 to £650

       Consumables for all set projects and tutorial based elements will be provided including adhesives, abrasives, jigs and finishing materials.

For all further project work consumables will need to be purchased by students as needed.

The workshop will hold a stock of consumables and sheet materials that can be purchased at cost to facilitate the lowest possible price and avoid repeat delivery charges.

There will also be a stock of hardwood available at cost; species and dimension allowing.


Contact the Goodlife Centre today! Call Alison on 0207 760 7613 or email alison@thegoodlifecentre.co.uk