“Thank you for another totally brilliant course. I may have read the theory but through your expert tuition it is so rewarding to put that into practice and create something better than I would have hoped. The drawer also impresses others (even if I am painfully aware of the bits that didn’t work out quite as well as your demonstration)”

Jon Clarke

“A belated thank you for a very useful and interesting course back in July. I had only done the tool tuning course before, the dovetailing course was an opportunity for comparison and a useful revision and measure of its effectiveness. Like all the people on this year’s course we all agreed that the tool tuning training had considerably improved everyones expertise and understanding. We all experienced daily revelations as to the reasons why things work and others don’t in woodworking, with tools being the centre point of this. In my past life, I went though a period as a technical professional trainer trying to convey difficult technical concepts and skills to a wide range of student ability. I was intrigued how you would approach training in an comparably difficult area. The concepts that you are presenting to trainees are often extremely novel and are aimed at working towards producing exhibition standard objects. From that point of view you are not providing half measures which from my point of view was one of the sole reasons for joining the course. Too much of modern life is focussed on the mediocre, rather than perfection, it makes a refreshing change to spend a week in retreat refreshing these principles. It was interesting to see the ways that you coped with the range of student abilities within the group and still managed to enable them to achieve the principal course objectives. This is even more remarkable given to the high level of performance that you are aiming for. All I can say is keep doing what you are doing! On a practical level, the course has altered my perception of what is important in working with wood or other materials. I am approaching my work in a more careful and methodical manner, checking and thinking more about the next procedure rather than just rushing in as I have been prone to do”

Francis Mason

“The main reason for this letter is to thank you for a most wonderful course that opened my eyes to many things and has quite altered my approach to work I love to do. What is especially wonderful is the fact that certain practices have not only entered ones consciousness but been completely absorbed by the body. I thank you for the care and concern with which you guided us, the freedom you allowed us with your tools and books, and your personal involvement in all that we did. What you have given will remain a treasure for the rest of my days.

I would also like to thank Pat for her kindness and help and especially for her lovely welcoming smile!

With immense gratitude to you both and the very best wishes for a wonderful year.”

Khalid Tyabji

“I’ve occasionally managed to get my tools sharp (or so I thought) so I know what a joy it is to use sharp tools and what they can achieve. But this has been at the expense of an inordinate amount of time. The result – I don’t sharpen my tools often enough and in a consistent way. So I was looking for a course that concentrated on tool sharpening and tuning. David’s course seemed to fit the bill and I’d seen some of his videos and was impressed by them. I booked myself on the course and it more than lived up to my expectations, much more.
David is an excellent teacher, clear and concise. But above all it’s his thoughtful and analytic approach to things that I liked. I came away understanding not only how to tune and quickly sharpen my planes and chisels, but why I was doing it in a particular way, the sharpening angles I might choose for particular situations and how the tools are used. My sharpening has been elevated to a level I didn’t think possible. For instance, today I was adjusting the fit of a mitre joint and achieving wafer thin shavings. No chattering and no effort. Pure joy. But just as important were all the snippets of information I gleaned. I wouldn’t have picked those up working on my own or reading books and watching videos.
There’s no substitute for a hands on approach under instruction from somebody who has seen all the problems before and solved them for you. This short note doesn’t do justice to what I learnt and I’ll be back next year to do the dovetailing course. On top of a very enjoyable week in the workshop, the setting is in a beautiful part of the country and has an excellent B&B next door, run by Merlyn, who made me feel very welcome and comfortable.”

Ian Knight