A visit from Michael Fortune, Master Craftsman

At Chippendale School, we pride ourselves on providing our students with exceptional opportunities for learning. In addition to receiving world-class training in woodworking from our resident tutors, we host a number of guest tutors throughout the academic year.

Our guest tutors are experts in given aspects of woodworking and furniture design, and visit us from across Scotland, the UK and internationally.

Last week we had the pleasure of hosting Michael Fortune, the world-renowned master craftsman from Canada. With decades of woodworking experience, Michael has carved out a niche as a specialist in bending wood and working with curves. Throughout his week-long visit, Michael worked closely with our students on the Professional course to provide them with an unrivalled insight into this delicate process.

From his workshop in Canada, Michael creates bespoke designs that are recognisable for their creativity as well as their complexity. Contemporary in style, but with natural as well as historic influences, Michael’s creations are meticulously tested in scale models and full-sized prototypes before going into final production. Readers of Fine Woodworking will also recognise Michael as a contributing editor.

Michael received the prestigious Bronfman Award in 1993, was inducted into the Royal Canadian Academy of the Arts in 2000 and received the 2007 Award of Distinction from the American Furniture Society based in North Carolina.  He graduated from Sheridan College near Toronto in 1974.

During his week-long visit, students learned about the nuances of bending wood and got to grips with Michael’s signature wood-bending technique, which involves a large number of bandsaws. They also gained an insight into nuanced methods, such as how to laminate a curve, hot pipe bending, kerf bending and vacuum forming.

Michael visits our school every year to teach for one week on the Professional course. His expertise in curved wood techniques is unparalleled. Having studied under Michael’s close guidance, our students will be able to make good use of the specialised skills that they learned during his visit throughout their careers in furniture production. 

Opportunities like these are what has earned Chippendale School its international reputation as one of the best institutions to study woodworking and furniture making.

The next guest lecturers will be Windsor Chair experts and father and son-in-law duo, Tom Thackray and Steve Langton from Yorkshire. Under their guidance, our students will be learning how to make a Windsor Chair in teams of four.

Are you interested in studying on our Professional course? Download a prospectus, or apply today.

Have a question? Contact us – we’re always happy to answer any questions you may have.

Scroll to Top