Last week was a busy one at the Chippendale school with our students finishing off their first practical project – to design and make a bedside cabinet.
All their pieces will be judged this week, with the three top-placed students winning quality hand tools – a very useful prize that they can use in their future careers.
Adding on a little pressure, we also took time out from a hectic week to visit Gosford House, the seat of the Earls of Wemyss and March, which was designed by the renowned Scots architect Robert Adam, and completed in 1800.
The neo-classical mansion is set in 5,000 acres of combined coast and parkland near to the school, and contains collections of period furniture that we hope will inspire our students.
During the professional course we visit several such mansions and galleries, and believe that part of our teaching task is to give students a firm grounding in the history and different styles of fine furniture.
Our bedside cabinet project teaches students a range of basic skills including turning handles, French polishing, spray lacquering, and how to fix wood using loose tongue, tongue and groove, dovetail and domino fixings.
It’s therefore a relatively compact project that involves learning and applying a number of skills, the objective being to give students a firm woodworking foundation and, yes, to learn also by their mistakes.
It’s also intended to be a fun project because we firmly believe that anything learned with pleasure will be remembered forever – one of the mantras of the Chippendale school.