“Students on the course must design and make at least two original pieces of furniture”

There are three core practical elements to our cabinet making course: students are required to make at least two original pieces and to professionally restore three pieces of furniture. They are also free to undertake their own personal projects in whichever area most interests them.

Original Pieces

The two original pieces are assessed internally, contribute to the final grade and are displayed at the end of year public Exhibition. Personal projects do not count towards a grade but are also displayed (for sale if the student wishes) at this Exhibition.

Project 1 – Solid Wood

Of the two original pieces each student makes, the first will be a piece in solid wood. It can be contemporary or traditional in style and will incorporate many of their new woodworking skills, including:

  • Timber identification
  • Setting out, sawing and marking
  • Joints – rubbed, mortice and tenon, dovetail, mitre, scarfed
  • Basic woodturning, carving and wood bending

Project 2 – Applied Advanced Techniques

The second original piece of furniture will incorporate techniques learnt in the second term such as:

  • Veneers, stringing, banding – including oyster work
  • Brass, ivory and Mother of Pearl inlay
  • Marquetry and parquetry
  • Finishing and Polishing – including planing, scraping, sanding, distressing, bleaching, staining, fading and graining

Furniture Restoration

The restoration projects are completed for real clients and assessed by an external restoration expert. Each student will complete three restoration pieces and have the option of making an original carved and gilded mirror using techniques taught in the third term, such as:


  • Finishing and polishing – including planing, scraping, sanding, distressing, staining, bleaching, fading and graining
  • Gilding
  • Metal Work – including lacquering, burnishing, polishing and distressing
  • Glass – including making stained glass panel

Read more about furniture restoration.

Personal Projects

Student are required to manage their own time during the course. This means they are expected to work to tight deadlines for the assessed elements of the course but this also means that they are free to pursue their own interests and projects. Some students in the past have managed their time so well that they have even managed to accept and build paid commissions during the course (though this is not particularly common).

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