Meet the teacher - Greenwood chair making
Ben Willis - www.benwillis-woodcraft.co.uk
Ben learnt chair making while working as an assistant to the green-woodworking legend Mike Abbott in the woodlands of Herefordshire. It was during this time that he also met and became friends with Claire from Wernog Wood; a meeting that laid the foundations for the courses he's now running with us. Ben lives in the urban forest of London, where he teaches green woodworking and chair making to aspiring furniture makers, as well as producing his own work for sale.
The courses he'll be running in Wernog Wood this summer (see course details here) will focus on producing a Windsor side chair design he developed for the inaugural chair making course he taught in Wernog Wood last summer. You'll learn how to fashion the components for the chair using a range of traditional hand tools as well as a foot-powered treadle lathe. You'll also try your hand at the magical process of steam-bending to produce the curved comb that caps off the top of your chair. Discussing with Ben, we have pondered the option of using green oak for your chairs. Having recently made a
cleft gate, we can attest for how enjoyable it is to work.
The sense of creative satisfaction gained from turning raw timber straight from the wood into a beautiful piece of furniture with just a few simple tools is hard to beat.