The student's view?
Student comments From March 2017 onwards...
A gigantic thank you from both of us for the brilliant
planter course on Sunday. It managed to be fun, rigorous and hugely satisfying. It’s something we’ve both wanted to do for a while, so there was quite a
build up, but it didn’t disappoint. You explained everything with such care, gently demanded such precision, and made us feel capable (whether we were or not!). We’ve definitely got the bug, so
Hopefully we’ll get to do another of your courses soon, because
(Carrie & Ali - March
A really fun day, with a deeply satisfying outcome. Ian's a clear and humorous teacher, and we all ended up with an end product that looked and felt professional. (He makes a mean cuppa, too.)
(Ed M - display case course - March 2017)
I'd just like to say thanks for the class, it was great. I learnt a lot and it's renewed my
love with working with my hands and making things. I've got some varnish now so hope to give it a nice finish and make sure it lasts! The only problem with the course being so good is that now I need
to find my girlfriend an equally good present!
(Jasper Keech - March 2017)
I wanted to say thank you
for Sunday because it was absolutely wonderful. Both Jeannette and yourself were welcoming and charming. You are an excellent teacher and very skilled in
It really deeply made me feel like I was learning
something not only technical but creative.
(Fred Price - April 2017)
Superb course really enjoyed it and excellent, patient and educatative teaching from ian, who's a pleasure to spend two days with... thanks again.
(Nic Casby - April 2017)
Thank you for the course earlier today. I really enjoyed it and am very
happy with the plant box I brought home. The kids were very impressed too.
(Ran Vaispap - April 2017)
Thank you so much for the course over the last couple of weekends. The course was really well
taught and well paced, helped along with plenty of biscuits (I've got to remember how important biscuits are to good woodworking!). It was great to learn some new skills and practice a few which I'd
not done for several years! I'm now feeling much more confident and keen to continue using them.
My wife is thrilled with the new spice rack, as well.
(Tom Brown - April 2017)
I just wanted to drop you a line to say many thanks for the very enjoyable and worthwhile course. It was a great fun (if hard work) and I learnt a lot; it was a pleasure to be
taught by someone so expert but who also knows how to communicate his knowledge with skill and humour.
(Matthew Barnard - May 2017)
Thank you for the course. As you know I have attended several woodworking courses and yours is significantly superior to the others. To start with your many years as a teaching
professional shines through and a significant advantage. Your easy style was nicely balanced with the teaching principle of 'reach and grasp'. We worked at a measured pace with the right level of
subliminal pressure. It was a pleasure to be given a task (coffee table) that seemed impossible and was manifest as being possible at the end. We were allowed to make our recoverable mistakes in
order to learn the lessons, but with your unobtrusive supervision making sure that a show-stopper never happened. The class size has much to recommend itself. Three students meant that we all
benefitted from your expert and individual tuition. Course preparation is often overlooked and taken as a given. Not in this case. The success of your course is, in part, due to the unseen prep that
you do. As if by magic we were given the correct dimension wood stock with the sawn and planed surfaces as teaching points. And the finely tuned planes and and chisels were a delight to use. Again,
testament to your investment in preparation.
(Dan Skipworth-Michell - May 2017)
Thank you for sharing a little piece of your vast knowledge on woodwork with me. just
to say enjoyed the course very much (coffee and biscuit selection very good) hope I can make another course sometime.
(Andy Litchfield - May 2017)
I wanted to
thank you again for the lovely course you put on. As someone that’s had an interest in working with wood for years but just haven’t been able to get myself started, I really appreciated how patiently
you went through every step and helped me make such a lovely piece. My sister now wants me to make slightly deeper frames like that for her to sell her cupcakes in, which I feel confident doing now,
thanks to your guidance on the day. I hope to repeat the experience soon with the coffee table course! My father wants me to do that one to help him furnish his new
Khurana - May 2017)
Thank you so much! I
thoroughly enjoyed your wood work course over the last couple of Saturdays. Your workshop is a thing of beauty and I thought that you managed to blend a perfect balance of knowledge, guidance and
patience throughout. And ... I love my coffee table! Pride of place in the family room.
(Martin Burke June
Thanks again for the
course, it was brilliant! Loved the time spent with you and the others. The results were amazing, you've been an amazing instructor, not only in helping me learn the skills, but also in creating a
fun environment. I'm definitely recommending you to anyone interested in woodwork!
(Ana Maria Barros -
What a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.It was worth coming all the way from Gloucester for your Plantar Box beginner's course ! Your attention to detail, enthusiasm and encouragement were all marvellous and I am inspired to continue! Thank you very much for a brilliant afternoon.
(Jan Webb – June 2017)
Wanted to write to say a huge thank you for today- I had such good fun and feel as though I learnt a lot. Look forward to seeing you next weekend.
(Mia Sullivan - September 2017)
(Review of Ian Nethercleft)
What an amazing time taking this Planter Course,
I will draw from your teaching, you’re a wonderful source.
To come to your garden, such a magical place,
Learning from a master, with such charm and grace.
Your tiny shed was like Dr. Who’s Tardis,
Filled with benches and tools, to release what’s inside us.
You were so patient with you first all female class,
Even a cack-handed Chinese lady, who could not work fast.
I’ve learned how to use chisel, mallet, and hammer,
Center punch, tenon saw, to make my own planter.
Hand saw, band saw, G clamp, trip squares, power drill,
Sash clamp and a very sharp pointed pencil.
It took me five hours, but should have been only four,
I kept taking videos and pictures, to help me learn more.
Excellent teaching, taught us placement of fingers and hand,
The best posture and safety were the best commands.
Providing hot drinks after a call from your wife Jeannette,
Was all part of this wonderful class I will never forget.
I’ve been on such a high, and so proud of my planter,
My next goal is the Spice Rack Course - get ready for my banter!
(Jacquiline Tang - September 2017)
I absolutely loved taking part in the planter workshop with Ian - it was truly one of the most fun afternoons I've had in a while! The shed within which
we work is just magical and the atmosphere is lovely. Ian is super relaxed but also very good at giving guidance and teaching techniques and skills. I hadn't done woodworking since school but now
feel I can move forward with making it into a hobby! My husband had previously participated in the spice rack course and loved that as well. Highly recommend this
(Emilie Giles - September 2017)
The course was an excellent introduction to the basics of woodworking. I learned about making a tenon and mortise joint, dowels and biscuit joints and how
to plane and sand wood to achieve a great finish. There was a good mix of simple hand tools so we experienced the traditional methods, along with power
tools for accuracy and speed. The end product was a professional looking coffee table I am proud of, but the real benefit was the knowledge and techniques that I can use on future projects. Ian is a
patient and good natured teacher and he makes a very good cup of tea! Highly recommended."
(Oliver Lewis, Muswell Hill. - September 2017)
I had a fantastic time in this course it was ideal for a beginner looking to learn woodwork and crafting skills. Ian
was a great teacher, welcoming, friendly, very knowledgable and enthusiastic and always was prepared to be patient to help you learn. I thoroughly enjoyed the course and would definitely recommend
this to anyone looking for an introduction to woodwork.
(Tim Lukins - September 2017)
I absolutely could not be happier with Signed Designs coffee table course! While other London courses may teach you how to use power/hand tools, or how to
build a specific product, the coffee table course does it all, and for an affordable price.
Ian was a fantastic teacher; the coffee table's design is such that you are able to learn a multitude of woodworking/carpentry techniques; the course is so
much more than just a coffee table - moreso a open-book for eager learners. Ian is open to share his experience and knowledge should you have any questions. I learnt to so much more than I thought I
would. His design, teachings, and guidance during the project have inspired me to get back to practicing on my own.
Ian was a patient and attentive teacher; he made sure that we all understood each step and the care required to make a well-crafted product. I made a few
superficial mistakes and he was able to teach me some very handy tricks-of-the-trade to fix them.
Not only did I leave the course with a professional, finished product, but also with the practice and learnings to continue working on my
If you want to learn more about carpentry, get more experience in a broad range of techniques, go home with a product to be proud of, and have the knowledge
to continue working on your own, then this is, by far, the best choice.
(Olivier Phaneuf - October 2017)
Student comments from July 2010 to February 2017
"I think that you did a great job as a teacher….
”You have the ability to transfer knowledge and the patience and maturity to deal with the students' expectations and mood.”
Lula Pareja - July 2010
I wanted to thank you for the fantastic course....I have a new found confidence in working with wood.
(Iggy Pont-Lezica - October 2010)
"Just wanted to say that I really enjoyed the course on Sunday and
thought you ran it really well......Thanks for a very enjoyable and interesting Sunday afternoon!!"
(Karen Silverthorne - October 2010)
'As an introduction to woodworking the display box taster course has inspired me to sign up for further course with Signed Designs.
Ian is a very good and patient teacher.'
(Mark Wheeler - February 2011)
"Thanks for the class. I really enjoyed myself. You taught it at the perfect pace for everyone and I got a great sense of achievement taking my finished spice rack home and was amazed how professional it looked. I will certainly recommend your class to my friends!"
(David Regan - April 2011)
"A fantastic introduction for anyone who is scared of tools. In just four hours I learned to use more than 10 different pieces of equipment and felt my confidence grow. Ian is an excellent teacher and I was delighted with the end result - a display box that now has pride of place on my wall."
Jamie - journalist with a national newspaper - April 2011)
Tom and I will be recommending the course wherever we can, as it was, by all accounts, a really fun, extremely well-run, and very rewarding experience - with a lovely spice rack to show at the end of it!
(Lucy Reynolds - April 2011)
I bought my boyfriend Asa the Sunday morning taster course as a surprise for his birthday, which he attended yesterday afternoon. I just wanted to write and thank you. He had a really enjoyable time and said how friendly you were and how much he took away form the day. He definitely wants to come back and try the next level!
Thank you so much for giving him an enjoyable experience, we both really appreciate it.
'This course was exactly what I was looking for. Ian is a great teacher - he has a way of explaining things to make them easy to remember, which is important in woodwork as there are so many different actions and tools. He worked through each step very clearly and made sure I was getting it right. Ian has set up the course so you can have a finished project in a short time - great if you can't commit to a longer course. I am very pleased with the table I made, and I feel confident and excited to start my next project!'
(Laura Smith - July 2011)
Just wanted to say thank you again for yesterdays workshop. I enjoyed the time spent learning the correct usage of the tools and how relatively simple it was to create something worthwhile by applying these basic skills. I thought you paced the course well and it was useful to learn how to utilise both traditional and power tools to achieve the same result. I feel that the confidence and knowledge gained during one of your courses would enable anyone to undertake simple jobs around the house or tackle small projects of their own.
(Paul Ashby- September 2011)
I found the workshop extremely enjoyable. At each step of the process we first learned how to solve the upcoming task manually – with a hand tool only – before working on a machine. This gave me a wonderful sense of achievement and respect for the woodworking craft. Further, Ian is an experienced teacher with a great sense of humour.
(Fabienne Felder - September 2011)
Thank you for a lovely Sunday! I really enjoyed the day.
I am pleased to say that your class has certainly increased my confidence and strengthened my knowledge and fingers crossed, I'll be able to combine wood with mosaics eventually!!
(Abby Lo- September 2011)
The course was a great introduction to working with wood and wood tools. You showed great patience and good humour throughout and i was really please with the end result.
(Oliver Jones - October 2011)
“Great teacher, great facilities, excellent fun” (Henry Smith - January 2012)
Thank you, Ian. I really enjoy my project in your workshop this morning.
(Wendy Hamilton - January 2012)
Thanks again for a very enjoyable course the other day. I very much enjoyed the course even though I had no prior experience in woodworking and I am keen to do a bit more.......
(Mae Al Lian - January 2012)
Thanks so much for the taster course on Sunday. I love my display box!! I think you offered just the right amount of skills, knowledge and adrenaline to keep us excited enough to want to learn more.
I learnt so much but am worried that I won't remember all the names of the tools and will forget what you taught us, if I don't keep practicing. I look forward to learning how to make the momento box next.
Thanks so much for these really satisfying and enjoyable courses. I learned a great deal, and have been put right on some important techniques. I have already been asked to quote to make a couple of simple pieces of furniture, and your courses have given me the confidence to go ahead with these items. The friendly and lighthearted atmosphere was a pleasure. Not to forget the biscuits...
(Gareth Winters - May 2012)
Just a quick note to thank you for the coffee table course. I really enjoyed the two days and was very pleased with the resulting table! The course was well paced, engaging and delivered with a fantastic level of knowledge and enthusiasm. I will definitely be signing up for another soon and I look forward to hearing about new courses - please keep me updated!
(Simon Lightman - May 2012)
I found the course to be well taught and thorough. I would recommend this to anyone who either wants to begin working with wood or wishes to better their skills and techniques. The class size was small which meant Ian was always on hand to provide help and guidance which was great.
(Samantha Catlin - June 2012)
...thanks so much for the course yesterday, I had a lot of fun and it was really great to do something practical, it's really given me a taste for doing more. The workshop was fab and your teaching was pitched just right, it was also really good to be in a small group.
(Alex Yedigaroff - June 2012)
I would like to thank you for an extremely enjoyable course on 22nd July 2012. I felt that the pace of the course was perfect for a beginner such as myself, and I had a great sense of achievement at the end.
As I enjoyed the taster course so much I am keen to attend the Intermediate "Spice Rack" course.......
(Bernice Hope - August 2012)
A fantastic day with so much packed in - planes, chisels, drills, saws, mitre joints, lap joints - the works! I learned an extraordinary amount in a short space of time, and it feels wonderfully satisfying to hold the results of your labour in your hands at the end of the day. Ian is an excellent teacher who combines an attentive and patient approach with a welcoming personal style. I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending this to others.
(Eugene Grant - September 2012)
Thank you for a very enjoyable couple of Saturdays learning some proper woodworking skills. It is a very relaxing way of spending a weekend and I picked up some real skills that has given me confidence and motivation to start that hedgehog house!
You are a very patient teacher. I never felt like I was asking stupid question....
(Graham Lewis - December 2012)
Thanks very much for today's course, it was very enjoyable and I learned a lot. As well as teaching new skills, it also gave me confidence with different tools and inspired me to try some new projects (once I find the space in my flat!)
(Robin Burgess - February 2013)
Just wanted to say thanks for the wonderful introduction into world of woodwork, it has definitely given me some foundations to work and build on. I can't wait to continue with projects in the future!
(Ned Shone - February 2013)
Thank you very much for an excellent course/experience last Wednesday. I really liked your workshop at the bottom of the garden. I especially appreciated the guidance on marking up – I shall aspire to the 0.1mm accuracy in future.
(Nick Aked - February 2013)
I just wanted to thank you again for the beginners couurse last month. I've since converted the display box into a picture frame, by using a piece of thick card (and a stanley knife) to create a photo mount that sits flush against the perspex. I'm very pleased. I just wish I had a workshop!
(Tim Bidey - February 2013)
...the course was wonderful. Having gone on various art and craft courses in January, I can safely say this was by far the best. Not solely because I was able to take home such a beautiful finished product, but because the level of teaching was so thorough that I also took away the skills and knowledge to continue developing the craft on my own.
It was actually a very therapeutic day and something about whiling away hours in a shed with tools made me realise that woodwork is definitely an art I want to do more of! Thank you so much for your patience as a teacher and for instructing us with such detail.
(Ione Rojas - February 2013)
I wanted to thank you for organising an excellent course and being such a
good and patient teacher.
I thoroughly enjoyed the day and got from it more than I had anticipated.
Being just a group of two allowed for personal and close working and ensured
a relaxed atmosphere. The day was very well structured and paced and I liked
the early emphasis on accurate measurement and marking allowing work to a
far finer tolerance than I have previously used and with much better
I came away with much greater confidence and hopefully will be able to take
on some more complex projects.
I would be interested to hear of further course that you may run.
Thanks for a great day.
(John Bolton - March 2013)
An excellent well paced course that covers a variety wood working skills and tools. Thoroughly enjoyed the two Saturdays and I came away with not only a nice looking coffee table but the confidence to tackle more projects in the future. Ian is a patient teacher with plenty of tips on hand so that you get the most out of your time. Would recommend to friends.
I just wanted to say thank you very much for the course yesterday. It was absolutely great and I can’t wait until I can make something else. You really helped to give me some confidence and I will make sure I send you a photo of anything I manage to create.
(Sophie Consett - April 2013)
Just to say, thanks so much for yesterday- Pat loved the course and said you we're a great teacher. He's very proud of his spice rack and has already put all our spices in it!
(Simone Radcyffe -April 2013)
Thank you so much for such a hugely enjoyable course. Your calm and patient explanations and demonstrations really seemed to make it all very easy and fun, and your sense of humour ( and tea and biscuits) kept us all relaxed. I have been basking all week in the praise I have received ( mainly from my wife)...
(Charles Gibbs - May 2013)
I just wanted to drop you a note of thanks again for the planter box course on Sunday. I found it so fulfilling and you delivered it in just the fashion that balances learning with a bit of fun thrown in. As I said on leaving, I am seriously considering the coffee table course you run but if you do get to putting together the router course, then I would be interested in that too.
For now, thanks again. It was great fun.
(Matt Butcher - June 2013)
I just wanted to say "Thanks" for the woodwork course.
I really enjoyed the experience.....
(Stuart Ross - July 2013)
Just wanted to mail you to say a 'Big' Thank you for the course on Sunday. You certainly do have a lot of patience...
You taught me a lot and I was able to leave with a lot more confidence not only in how to saw, mark up etc., but in using the drill and hammer as well.
Many thanksI look forward to booking another course.
(David Spurling - July 2013)
I'm conscious that we all dashed off very quickly last weekend, so I just wanted to drop you a line to say thank you for the last two sundays.
Just like last year, I learnt a huge amount from you and am really quite proud of what I've made and - more importantly - the skills and technqiues I learnt in such a short space of time.
I really enjoyed it - even the 08:30 start!
(Engene Grant - July 2013)
My table's still standing and my 4 year old is impressed!
I really enjoyed the course. I think you are a great teacher - knowledgeable, patient, calm, good-natured and see things from a learner's perspective which seems to be an uncommon characteristic from my 19 years of formal education !
(Hiran Desilva - August 2013)
The course sounded too good to be true - but I was impressed! The course does effectively manage to take a total beginner, in just two days, through the whole process of making a coffee table! It gives a comprehensive, hands-on experience of the different tools, from the most basic hand tools to more heavy-duty machinery. Yes, the course was labour intensive but I wouldn't have had it any other way; with your delightful humour, your admirable patience and not to forget the energy boosts from all the biscuits and coffee, the table and I managed to make it through just fine:-) I think the course is really well designed. This course deserves a 10/10!
(Christine Kettaneh - October 2013)
I wanted to thank you again for your instruction on the woodworking course. I have my feet propped up on my new coffee table as I write this (it's still in one piece, yes).
Before the class, I had little experience working with my hands, leaving out the odd-job of hanging pictures or putting together IKEA furniture. Not only did I enjoy the whole process, finding it very therapeutic even, but I came away with the knowledge that, with the right tools and the knowledge of how to use them, I could make just about anything out of wood that I wished. I would only add that had the teacher not been so effective and personable, I almost certainly would not feel as confident.
(Dan Herron - October 2013)
Thank you so much for such a fun and informative afternoon.
Neither of us can believe what you managed to get us to achieve in such a short time.
Thank you so much.. we love our display boxes and would recommend your courses to anyone.
Look forward to hearing about any future courses.
(Emily Trustram Eve - November 2013)
Bought the spice rack course for a friend as an Xmas present and it was the best money I've ever spent! She loved the course, learnt a lot from it and was so excited about the whole thing. The venue is lovely, the tutor is really friendly, encouraging and inspiring and I really would recommend these courses very highly.
(Andreanna Dais - January 2014)
I just wanted to thank you for such an enjoyable class on Sunday. I really felt I learnt a lot and it has made me want to do more woodwork. I loved how we not only made something to be proud of but also learnt great basic skills we could apply to our own projects.
I was rather exhausted the next day - I guess doing a course at 8 months pregnant is quite unusual!
Just wanted to thank-you for a fantastic class on Sunday!
With a great mix of traditional techniques and tools as well as being shown and using more automated tools it was a great insight for me as a complete novice.
I felt great satisfaction at having brought away my display box after a challenging and rewarding initiation into the world of carpentry. It was hard work and the class was well taught- your patience was very much appreciated!
I will happily recommend it to complete first timers with a real interest in the craft as well as intermediates who want to learn good practice and technique in a workshop.
Thanks again and hope to be making a spice rack with you soon!
(Margret Child - May 2014)
I really enjoyed the spice rack course which I received as a gift. Ian is a fantastic teacher with a lot of patience and he helped the group to work to an extremely high standard. A constant stream of beverages and biscuits were much appreciated. Overall, an excellent spice rack course!
(Andrew Balham - May 2014)
Ian is a excellent teacher, and learning woodworking techniques from him was a real pleasure. As we got stuck in to having a go ourselves, he was always ready with encouragement and advice, pragmatic and perfectionist by turns, making sure we were improving all the way.
I went on the course because I want to build things myself but had no idea where to start. This course has absolutely provided that start, and a good deal more besides. Looking through a book of woodworking projects used to be a case of information overload, but now it feels like a world of opportunities!
(Leo Critchley - May 2014)
- just a quick email to say thanks so much for the course over the last two Saturdays, I had a great time, and I'm really pleased with the end product.
(Richard Mott - May 2014)
Just a quick word to say that I very much enjoyed the coffee table course and that I really appreciate your patience and encouragement. I got an awful lot out of the two sessions. It was fast paced but that worked well in that it kept things moving and meant that we learned a lot in what is a relatively short space of time. I’ll definitely be attempting some of my own projects from here on in.
(Matt McGinley - May 2014)
Just wanted to drop you a quick note to say how much I had enjoyed the woodworking course this last couple of weekends.
I'm really surprised at how many new skills I managed to pick up in two short sessions - I could easily have carried on all day! You've got an excellent set up there for teaching / learning and I'm really proud of what I managed to achieve, so thank you.
You'll be pleased to know that the spice rack has pride of place in my kitchen - and I'm looking forward to the next project already!
(Chris Haydon -June 2014)
Just wanted to say thanks and how much I enjoyed Sun afternoon. Really nice bunch of lads to do it with, guided by your generosity and good humour. Hope to see again in the autumn.
(Richard York -June 2014)
'I have just finished the two day coffee table course and just wanted to say how much I thoroughly enjoyed it! This course covered such a wide range of skills and techniques, that I can now say I have the confidence and know how to get started on my own projects. Ian is a fantastic teacher and has a wealth of knowledge and experience. His patience and humour makes learning easy and enjoyable! Would highly recommend these courses to anyone. Thanks for a great couple of days!
(Allan Townsend -June 2014)
I wanted to send you an email to let you know that I really enjoyed the course a few weeks back. It's really given me the push I needed to get back in to woodworking. I would highly recommend your course to my friends, and in fact, I have.
(Paul Grizzell - July 2014)
I just wanted to drop you a thank you note for all your efforts over the last two weeks. I had so much fun and it was worth every penny. You are a very patient teacher – one of the best I’ve ever had. I would definitely recommend it to whoever wants to try something a bit different for a bit of fun or if they want to learn the basics.
(Aghil Ameripour - September 2014)
I wanted to say thank you for the excellent course over the last two Saturdays. I found it just the right amount of hard work which made achieving the finished product so rewarding, and also really enjoyable thanks to the very friendly and humorous atmosphere you created. You are a very patient and understanding teacher, and obviously have a real interest in giving people the skills they need to be able to carry on with the hobby on their own after the course has finished, which I really appreciated. Thank you also for pushing the time limit so that all three of us could come away with a product we were very satisfied with!
(Alex Lord - October 2014)
A somewhat belated thank you for a great woodworking course. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was good to know what one ought to be doing with wood, and, to be taught properly how to do it. Truly inspiring!
(David Brodie - October 2014)
Just wanted to thank you for all your patience when I came to the coffee table course last week. Forget 'Strictly' I spent all Saturday night viewing my coffee table! I really enjoyed the course and your skills, knowledge and patience made this possible. Thanks once again and I hope to see you next year for the spice rack course.
(Jean Hatamian - November 2014)
Having spent 16 hours making a coffee table, which I never thought I would ever be able to do, I am thrilled with the outcome. Ian is a fantastic teacher, imparting his woodwork knowledge with great clarity and patience. The set up was fantastic, a small shed set in the beautiful garden with all the tools you would ever need. A great place to spend a Saturday!
(Victoria Allard - November 2014)
Thanks so much for a lovely day yesterday. We had such a great time-learned loads and it was nice to do something completely unrelated to work! Thrilled with my display box.
(Lucy Makin - November 2014)
My husband, Phil Buck, attended a course with you last March that I bought him for his birthday. He made a lovely coffee table which is still in our living room. Your course inspired him hugely and he now has a very well equipped workshop in our cellar. His main achievement so far has been to make a beautiful cabinet that our TV sits on top of.......
(Amy Fisher - January 2015)
How lovely to be able to go somewhere where I can reconnect with what it's like to use my hands to do something creative and leave with a new piece of small furniture to take home. Ian provides brilliant guidance and mentoring with just the right balance between leaving us to get on with it and stepping in when he recognises that a bit of support would be handy. Everything is provided from the wood, all of the tools and tea and biscuits ! I've now completed two of the courses and will at some point go back to do the third. I would highly recommend it.
(Ben Gold - February 2015)
I can’t praise Ian enough with what you learn about Woodworking. I have taken all of Ian’s courses starting with the Planter Box then worked my way through to the Coffee Table. Ian was incredibly patient and knowledgeable so if you want start learning about woodworking or you just want to do something creative with your hands and get away from a TV screen then I think this should definitely be your first port of call. When I posted my wares on Facebook I couldn't believe the response I got from friends with how impressed they were!
(Lori Bellomo - February 2015)
Just to say thank you for a very enjoyable course. I was surprised at the level of accuracy required to accomplish the task of making a display box. I thoroughly enjoyed the course and the relaxed way you teach.
I would highly recommend your courses to any one interested in developing skills in woodwork.
(Brian Mascaranas - February 2015)
I had a great time yesterday, you're a fantastic teacher! I thoroughly enjoyed my time at your home, I'd love to one day build a workshop similar to yours. You successfully converted me, I'm even more excited about learning more about carpentry and joinery. What was the college you advised me to look into? I will definitely be back to do another course thank you so much.
(Nathan McKenzie - February 2015)
"I just wanted to say thank you to Ian for the day. He's a very helpful and knowledgeable teacher, able to teach valuable skills in a really relaxed, unpressured environment. I was bought it the day as a gift and really enjoyed it. My girlfriend is pleased too because I'll be able to start making things to put around the house!"
(Jack Stanley - April 2015)
Ian thank you for the day! As absolute beginners I am amazed with the number of skills and techniques which you managed to teach us during one afternoon!
This the best introduction into the world of woodworking I could hope for.
Equally importantly the day was fun without a single dull moment all thanks to your great and warm personality and teaching approach.
Really looking forward to learning more.
(Alex & Alex Olszowka - May 2015)
Just wanted to say I thoroughly enjoyed my coffee table course and was everything I wanted it to be. The course was perfectly setup for the time frame to be suitable enough to learn a lot of the key basics, but also some more advanced wood working skills. It's given me the desire to continue this further and I'm really looking forward to starting my first carpentry project. Ian made the 2 days very enjoyable, relaxed and I loved his workshop (very jealous)! I was very proud taking home my coffee table at the end of the course.
(George Komodromou - May 2015)
I just want to say a big 'thank you' for your wonderful coffee table course. You enabled us to learn a huge variety of cutting, joinery and finishing skills using both hand tools and machine tools and throughout your manner was very encouraging and generously peppered with good humour!
Everyone who has seen my table has been extremely impressed with its high quality (having expected something off-square and wobbly). I am now fired with enthusiasm to put my new skills to work and feel confident enough to attempt several other woodwork projects. I have already made a new shelf, repaired a broken drawer and am preparing to make a garden bench.
What a fantastic day. I knew it would be from your website and previous student comments, but it still exceeded expectations. From the word go I felt incredibly relaxed, looked after and in the perfect surroundings to learn and have fun. The way the day was arranged was brilliant - the perfect speed, fantastically explained, funny, and full of brilliant anecdotes!
Not only did I leave the workshop with a better-than-expected product, the general atmosphere and camaraderie between you and us students has had me beaming ever since. I would recommend this course to anyone - I cannot praise the day enough.
I’ll be back for either a spice rack or a coffee table!
(Ben Rollo-Hayward - June 2015)
I enjoyed your woodwork course immensely, it is obvious that you are an experienced and patient teacher as well as being a master carpenter. I produced a better piece of work that I thought possible, and have now been inspired to splash out on chisel sharpeners and a tri-square to get going on my own!
(Martin Edwards - September 2015)
Thanks for the course at the weekend, really enjoyed it.
My cat was also very appreciative, as seemed to think I'd been away all day building him a custom made 'base'!
(Johnny Manning - September 2015)
I had a lovely Sunday afternoon making my planter. It was like going to a party and coming home with a goody bag :)
(Jasmine Singh - October 2015)
Ian’s coffee-making table course was more than I expected. He welcomed us into his lovely home and cosy workshop, with lots of tea and biscuits. The teaching was excellent - very clear, with very hands-on support, and Ian has been teaching for many years so has a really informative manner. The atmosphere was enjoyable and interesting, and I learnt and did far more than I thought I would. Above all, I am thrilled to pieces with my coffee table, it looks extremely professional, which is a testament to Ian’s teaching as I had never made any furniture before.
Thank you Ian, I really enjoyed it!
(Fleur Hutchinson - October 2015)
I was bought a two day coffee table wood working course with Ian and it has been a most enjoyable experience. Ian's technical knowledge is reassuring and easy to understand. I'd recommend this course to anyone who's looking to learn a new skill, meet new and like minded people and enjoys friendly banter. I learned many things on the course, specifically measuring correctly and how to improve my use of tools.
(Adam O'Riley - October 2015)
I just wanted to write to say thank you so much for the wonderful tuition and guidance you gave on the course the last two weekends. I absolutely loved every part of the course, and have learned so much that i can't wait to put into practice. One of the best parts was the fact that we used so many techniques and got a flavour of such a variety of tools - I now have much more confidence to take on new projects that I definitely didn't have before. And combined with the great atmosphere you created made it so inducive to learn more!
I have been out today to get some bits and pieces to varnish the table and its first coat is on. I will send through some pictures once it is finished and in use.
(Jack Ambler - October 2015)
Me and my husband would like to thank you for the great time we had at your 'Display box' course.
I booked this course because I was always interested in woodwork but I had no experience. The course sounded just perfect for beginners. We enjoyed the Sunday and I appreciated Ian's guidance and help through the whole process of box making very much.
I've recommended this course to couple of my friends already.
(Alex Prerina - October 2015)
What a great course, learning is fun. I have now made a planter and a spice rack which are both in use and I have improved my knowledge of how to use chisels,saws etc. correctly. I will be back ASAP.
(Paul Power - October 2015)
Thanks for a good couple of days in the wonderfully smelling shed! Really enjoyed the small class and fun teaching, and very satisfied coming home and showing off the new spice rack with the soft-close drawers!
(Richard Jefferies - January 2016)
Great course - really enjoyed it and learnt loads!
Feel much more equipped for attempting to build some furniture for the house!
Definitely will recommend you to budding wood-work wannabes....
Off to buy some spices to fill the rack!
(Stuart Walker - January 2016)
Thank you so much for the course yesterday, I've surprised myself how proud I
am of my little creation! I will definitely sign up for another course at some point.
(Graham Wright - February 2016)
Just wanted to say thank you again. I really enjoyed the whole day.
From the moment the session started, it was very easy to understand every little thing we did. You really know what you're talking about and
the way you give out directions or demonstrations shows it. Not to mention the skill and confidence you have, mixed with enough tools for everyone taking the course!
I was quite impressed with how it never got too complicated so even anyone
with no experience in woodwork would enjoy it.
I'll definitely be coming back for another project!
(Andres Velasquez - February 2016)
My girlfriend and I spent a great afternoon on Ian's "planter box" course in
February. We had a fantastic time, learning (and laughing!) a lot. The atmosphere
is laid back (Ian kindly provided some tea and biccys!) and the teaching style is
informal but highly informative! (Especially if you ask the number of question we
did!). I would thoroughly recommend these courses! And a word of advice:
"measure twice cut once!"
(Richard Shell - March 2016)
The coffee table course was excellent, I learned lots of new skills and Ian is a
great teacher with all the answers. Don't be afraid to ask questions, I certainly
wasn't! The atmosphere and 3 to a class maximum make it a great learning
environment and last but not least the biscuit and hot beverage selection is
(Henry Buck - March 2016)
Just wanted to say I really enjoyed the coffee table course. I particularly liked
making the mitre joints and getting the hang of planing was very satisfying. I look
forward to drinking many cups of coffee off the table ....
(Ezra Glasstone - March 2016)
I would thoroughly recommend one of these courses to anyone who
might have even a passing interest in either learning from scratch, or
improving their skills with working with wood. The workshop is very well
organised and equipped, and Ian is a very gracious, capable and good-
humoured teacher, who is clearly very knowledgable and has great
passion for his craft. All the techniques involved are clearly
demonstrated and well-explained and the students are given whatever
patient, helpful guidance, tips and encouragement they might need as
they work on their own pieces, learning new skills or improving on what
they already know as they do so. I had a very pleasant and enjoyable
Sunday afternoon, and came away with not just a nicely finished display
box, but useful new knowledge. Great stuff all round.
(Alastair Nicholson -March 2016)
Just a quick email to thank you for the course. I enjoyed immensely and have
come away with new skills that I will be using at some point on my own projects.
The workshop is great and the teaching style you use is informal, informative and
easy to follow. Coffee was fairly good too.
The spice rack looks great and will be going up somewhere prominent shortly.
I will be back for a coffee table later this year all being well. In the meantime,
thanks for everything.
(Steve Currie - April 2016)
Ian's course is perfect for those who want to get stuck into the practical elements
of woodwork but also learn the fundamentals. Ian is a lovely guy with a
professional but friendly teaching style and a clear passion for woodwork. He has
all the tools and experience to answer any question you may have! I did the
coffee table course and am really pleased with the table that is now displaying
proudly in my home. Thanks Ian!
(Dominic Murphy - April 2016)
Thank you so much for yesterday! What an inspiration - we really enjoyed it.
(Flora Patten - April 2016)
I just wanted to say thank you for the course. I had a great time, learned a lot and
am really happy with the coffee table. I think the small class size is fantastic as it
means you are able to give the students one-on-one advice throughout the course.
I just thought I would drop a line to say that I really enjoyed the coffee table course. Not only was listening to classic FM and sipping tea in your workshop a delightful way to spend the past two Saturdays. I learnt a lot and am hopeful to be able to develop these skills independently in future. I am also really proud of the table and have spent the morning showing it off to anyone who will look and listen!
As a complete beginner I feel I benefited immensely from the amount of attention I
was able to receive. You seem genuinely committed to ensuring everyone has as worthwhile and enjoyable an experience possible.
Thank you very much! I would definitely recommend the course and may return in future to give the spice rack a go.
(Catherine Egan - May 2016)
Thank you so much for everything on the Coffee Table course. I feel like I'm ready
to take on more advanced projects now I have a grounding in the basics. You created a great atmosphere and it was fun learning from you.
I would like to say that I throughly enjoyed your workshop and have taken home some great practical tips which has inspired me to take up carpentry.
Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with us! God Bless & I will definitely be in touch to do the spice rack.
(Diana Fearon - May 2016)
'My girlfriend and I did the 6 hour display box course with Ian, and we can't recommend it highly enough. As well as learning loads of new skills such as sawing, joining, planing, and measuring to 0.1mm of accuracy (!), we also had a wonderful day with Ian who is an experienced, funny and very welcoming teacher. He even let us stay 45 mins
later than planned as we were not the quickest of students. The workshop is great and set in Ian's beautiful garden. We came away feeling delighted with what we had made. We hope to return to try out some of the other classes on offer. Thanks Ian!'
(Will Lawn and Molly - June 2016)
I thoroughly enjoyed the course, Ian was an incredible teacher who was clear, knowledgeable and extremely patient. I am a very slow worker but at no point was
I made to feel rushed and Ian even let me stay later to finish my display box.
I would highly recommend this course because you learn so many different skills
and learn about and how to use such a variety of tools in such a short space of
Thank you Ian for creating such a friendly atmosphere and for teaching me so
much. I will definitely be back to do one of the other courses.
Hello there Ian, just to say thank you for a brilliant first day amidst your wonderful
setup. So nice to learn new things and be reintroduced to all the things I've
forgotten (!) in such a relaxed and supportive environment. great stuff.
..........Got the table home safely I'm glad to say! - thank you for your help to pack
it all down. It was rather an efficient bundle in the end!
Thankyou also for a second day as good as the first! Very happy with what we all produced, and great to have an artifact to remind me of all the steps and
processes we covered. Have come away with far more than just a table!
Wanted to say a huge thank you for Sunday afternoon- had a superb time and absolutely chuffed with my planter box. Looking forward to making some longer ones for our roof terrace.
(Gracie Cooper - September 2016)
This is a wonderful course for all people who are interested in designing, building and admiring their own creations. Ian was very attentive in demonstrating and teaching us the required skills to
build the display box. As we were beginners, he explained to us the step by the step process of making your own box. The woodwork course environment was wonderful (in Ian's fully equipped and bespoke
carpenter's shed) and we were made to feel at home throughout the day - with plenty of tea and biscuits! I would highly recommend this course to anyone who is curious about woodwork, but also anyone
who feels like they want to learn something new on a Sunday afternoon!
(Stanley Kwong and Lois - October 2016)
Just to say thank you for running yesterday afternoon’s course, and to let you know how much I enjoyed it. I was particularly pleased to come away with something that could be used
immediately, and which I’m proud to have on display.
I found you informative and engaging, and flexible enough to cope with the different speeds of progression within the group. I’ve already decided to build my own workbench, as my next
(Peter Walsh -October 2016)
Thanks for such a very enjoyable and informative course today and last Saturday. You're a fantastic teacher- both clear and informative, pace is just right and, most importantly, the atmosphere was light, relaxed and conducive
to learning. With all the skills you taught I feel ready to start tackling carpentry at home (once I get a few tools!) and build on what I've learned- the course is a perfect starting point for
anyone interested in developing carpentry skills. Shaving with a chisel is a pretty neat party trick too.
I would whole-heartedly recommend the course to others, especially those who like tea and biscuits with their woodwork!
(Barney Millard - November 2016
I really enjoyed making the spice rack and attending the woodwork workshop. It has been a pleasant experience in a very kind and warm environment .
Thank you so much.
(Vasu Vora - November 2016)
I learnt so much today, thanks for such a fantastic afternoon!
I picked up so many new tricks and skills, and I think I have your great teaching to thank for that. Well done for being patient with my cack-handed sawing!
Can't wait to do the next course, see you soon!
(Sam Williams - January 2017)
Thank you Ian, .... I had a great afternoon and LOVE my planter and I'll be making more!
(Debbie Noel - January 2017)
Just to reaffirm my comments yesterday, I really enjoyed the coffee table course from start to
finish. I feel l've taken so much more away than just the fantastic table itself; some really good skills that I look forward to apply to different projects, good memories of the course and
inspiration for tool holders!
(John Jarvis - January 2017)
Yay!! Finished our tables tonight! A fantastic course led by the fantastic Ian. Thanks so much I really enjoyed it and loved meeting some wicked people!
(Kelly Patterson - January 2017)
Just a note to say thanks for the course.
Thoroughly enjoyed the spice rack sessions - was a great atmosphere in the workshop and i learnt plenty of new skills! Had a great time and so thanks very much!
(Phil Roughsedge - January 2017)
I just wanted to drop a quick email to say thank you very much for the excellent course - and for making is so relaxing and fun. I can't believe we
covered so many techniques in such a short space of time. I've ordered the recommended woodworking book already so I can get started. You'll be pleased to know that there is
competition from my friends over who will take the spice rack, so it will definitely have a good home. I'll keep an eye on the website for any future courses of interest... Hope to join you
again in the future.
(Karen Chilton – January 2017)
I've made a few proud-standing, wooden structures before, but the spice rack course was perfect for learning and honing a lot of the essenial skills needed, not only for a spice rack, but probably
a lot of other woodwork; then there was the rather nice plus of taking home a good-looking spice rack at the end. My brother - who I would tentatively admit is a bit more advanced - and I took the
course, but both learnt a huge amount. In which case I can confidently say this is recommended to people of all levels - Ian's a brilliant teacher too!
(Simon Morris - February 2017)
Just a quick note to say thank you for yesterday - I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon and am really
pleased with what (under your expert guidance) I managed to create!
Hope to do another course at some point in the not too distant future!
(Hannah Scott - February 2017)
I knew a bit about woodwork and had made several things before, but wanted to learn do it right. The course was superb. I learned about which tools to use for what; how to use tools properly and
how to sharpen, set up and store them. I saw the impact of being precise about measurements on the end product, and learned how to correct mistakes. In short, this course is for anyone who
appreciates the craft and/or the product (which has garnered much admiration in the two days since I took the course). If only I had had a teacher like Ian in school!
(Tim Morris - February 2017)
Thank you for a fun afternoon making the planter on 26 February. Great course, lots of personal guidance
due to small number of participants and I really feel I can have a go at making something on my own in future.
(Heather Swain - February 2017)
Ian is a brilliant and very natural teacher - very patient and clear, obviously very passionate about what he's teaching, and created a very relaxed and enjoyable environment. I
learnt so much over the day - I will definitely be back to do another of his courses as soon as I can.
(Lucy Pickles - March 2017)
Ian’s coffee table workshop was recommended to me by a friend and I was not left disappointed. I was a
complete novice, but after having spent two days with Ian I have learned an enormous amount, including the construction of a diversity of joints and handling a large range of tools (manual and power
I now feel equipped and empowered to take my newly acquired skills to other builds. Ian is a
gifted and patient teacher who creates a fun and relaxed but focussed environment – and he makes a mean cup of tea and provides delicious biscuits!
His instructions are clear and he instils a great sense for accuracy which showed in the final product –
I felt very proud bringing my coffee table home. There is also plenty of time for asking questions beyond the scope of the course.
Thank you so much, Ian!
(Andrea Waeschenbach - March 2017)
I just wanted to say a huge thank you for running such a fantastic course. I will admit the
early mornings were a challenge for me as I was coming to you from South London, but I enjoyed every minute of it and I genuinely feel like I learnt a lot. I'm already thinking about my next
(Dan Ward - March 2017)