Julius chair Chippendale school

Careers in sawdust

Woodworking is a passion that many people have, but don’t immediately pursue as a career.

Many of our students are people who have made the decision to leave their industry mid-career.

They’ve taken the conventional route and gone from school to university and then into a humdrum world of work.

Then, after years doing jobs that haven’t been fulfilling, they finally decide to follow their dreams.

But we’re always happy to take students on our professional course straight from school.

So, if you’re uncertain about moving onto higher education, why not consider a career in fine furniture and design?

Julius at bench Chippendale school

Our 2019/20 course starts in October and we still have a couple of places remaining.

Our nine-month course is designed to turn novice woodworkers into craftsmen and women.

And we’re delighted that so many women are now enrolling on our one-week introductory course, one-month intermediate course and our flagship professional course.

Student of Year

Indeed, in the last four years, two female students have won our Student of the Year award.

Most of the school leavers that we take in are from the UK, but not this year.

Julius Schmalbach, from Hamburg in Germany, came to us with a little woodworking experience, but no formal training.

But he did have a small workshop at home, and taught himself to make simple pieces such as a table and bedside cabinet.

His first piece with us was a beautifully-designed ash chair with a woven cane back.

It had fine proportions and was exceptionally well crafted, with steam bent and laminated legs.

Underlining his professionalism, the chair was entirely his own design, which he fine-tuned from a mock-up that took four weeks to make.

It’s the first skill that students learn at the Chippendale school, because without being able to visualise your design in 3D, you can’t accurately construct your design.

However, we have the tutorial expertise to ensure that all our students easily master the dark arts of design and visualisation.

All angles

We then encourage students to make a scale model of their proposed piece.

That helps them understand what it will look like from all angles and how it will be joined together.

Most students wouldn’t have started with so ambitious a project, and Julius’ painstaking approach to his design gave him the necessary confidence.

Confidence is also something that we instil at the Chippendale school and, as the course progresses, everyone’s confidence increases.

That was certainly true of Julius because, having taken time and trouble over his chair, he then made a small bench made out of oak, which took him four days!

His signature piece was a lovely cherry veneered writing escritoire, with two drawers held together with hand-cut dovetails.

Julius desk Chippendale school

It was another ambitious project, particularly to veneer around corners, and to make its cherry octagonal tapered legs.

It’s a lovely and practical piece of furniture, with a high level of attention to detail.  For example, the handles are also made from well-turned pieces of cherry.

Not content with that, he also completed a walnut medicine cabinet, with star-shaped mirror cut-outs.

The pieces of mirror are gilded in white gold to lend it a magical quality and, inside, it has two drawers and two shelves.

Julius shows that woodworking skill can be learned at any age.

So, if you think a career in furniture design and sawdust might be for you, don’t delay…contact us today!


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