“Each of our successes and failures are lessons for the entire group, and I have learned a lot from the other students. The tutors’ knowledge, willingness to help and eagerness to experiment as much as the students means that you are never lost, never afraid to ask and never without a new idea.”

Tamsen, Canada

The school’s aim is to give students the skills, confidence and business acumen to succeed
in their chosen career, whether that is in cabinet making, furniture design, furniture making, antique furniture restoration or as a specialist in a museum or professional workshop.

We give our students the best possible education in woodworking available. Our intensive
30-week course provides graduates with a firm grounding in furniture restoration and woodworking theory.

It creates finely-honed skills through practical bench-work and we also provide business training for students who want to start their own workshops.

“Our ambition is to help each student turn their hobby into a successful career or business”, explains Anselm Fraser, the school’s principal.

That is why the school places as much emphasis on professional development as it does on woodworking skills and design theory. Plus it supports international students who want to improve their written and spoken English.

Future Prospects

Over the years many students graduating from our cabinet making courses have gone on to set up their own business.

Some students use our ‘incubation’ workshops from which to launch their woodworking businesses, such as Ali Easton with his Edinburgh Dresser Furniture Company, Alice Holtum of Alice Furniture and Fiona Thornburn-Steel of Wood by Steel.

Others are based close to the school, such as former student of the year Fiona Campbell, who works in Edinburgh. Others have established themselves abroad, such as John Arrowsmith, who set up his Hardwood Furniture company in France.

Others have brought their design skills to other complementary disciplines, such as
Miho Mizue at the Wallace Collection and Colleen Donaldson at the Burrell Collection.

Don’t take our word for it

Read the stories from recent students, browse student feedback and see student interviews in our school videos.

On Graduating

The Chippendale International School of Furniture, with its 30-year pedigree of practical cabinet making, furniture making, design and furniture restoration, is recognised worldwide.

Furniture course qualifications which are awarded are:

  1. Chippendale International School of Furniture Certificate
  2. *Higher National Furniture Project (code FOXL 35) (SCQF Level 8**; NQF Level 5***)
  3. *Higher National Furniture Finishing Techniques (code FOXG 33) (SCQF Level 6; NQF level 3)

The School is a Scottish Qualifications Authority Approved Centre No. 3008002 and is accredited by Education Scotland.

* These Higher national units are required by the UK Home Office for all students coming from outside the EEA. The exams are also available, but not compulsory, for any EEA students.
** SCQF = Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework
*** NQF = National Qualifications Framework

The Chippendale International School of Furniture ‘Apprentice Box’

Portfolio and “Apprentice Box”

Certificates are clearly very important but most future employers and customers will be more interested in evidence of practical woodworking ability. An effective way of demonstrating the skills learnt on the course is the Apprentice Box.

The Apprentice Box is unique to the Chippendale School of Furniture and is a physical demonstration of a student’s abilities. It has a marquetry top and inside there are five panels with ten examples of different cabinet making techniques, including leatherwork, gilding, oysterwork and various inlays.

A photographic portfolio is also important, but it is this box that demonstrates the disciplines in which you have a high standard. You may wish to show it to a future employer or it may be useful to show clients. Either way it is highly practical, being both very tangible and extremely portable.

Graduation Ceremony

The course ends with a graduation ceremony for family and friends where the Student of the Year is announced. This is followed by two Exhibition evenings for the furniture community and the school’s network of supporters. Students’ work is on display, providing the students with an opportunity to sell pieces of furniture and to take orders for bespoke commissions.

Look at the syllabus overview to get a good idea of the skills you will learn in the course.

Change Your Lifeclick for the Chippendale prospectus