30-Week Course

Professional Furniture Making Course

Our Professional Furniture Making Course is aimed at those who want to make fine furniture design and making their career. This is a course that equips students with the necessary skills required to start their own business or find employment within a workshop. It also caters to those who wish to learn a professional skill in retirement.

Covering skills from practical cabinet making to design, restoration and commercial skills, this intensive course is the equivalent of at least three years at college.

Our Professional Course gives you up to 1400 hours of practical bench time, theory is taught in short presentations and demonstrations to allow students the time to progress and hone their skills. This course has a tutor-to-student ratio of 1:5, with six tutors occupying benches in amongst the students’ benches within the main workshop.

Experts come to the school to teach the students specific disciplines. For example, perspective drawing, woodturning, Windsor chair making, advanced veneering, wood bending techniques, wood carving and gilding.

We teach the complete spectrum of woodworking and furniture making skills, often bringing in world-renowned external experts, to fully equip our students for life as a professional furniture designer and maker.

Among the subjects our course includes are:

  • Timber identification and timber technology
  • Tool and machinery induction
  • Sharpening
  • 3D/Perspective drawing
  • CAD
  • The fundamentals of joinery
  • Woodturning
  • Cabinet making
  • Carcass construction
  • How to make a dovetailed drawer and hang a cabinet door
  • Kitchen carcassing
  • Restoration/conservation of antique furniture
  • Steam bending and Laminating
  • Veneering techniques
  • Marquetry and parquetry
  • Woodcarving (optional)
  • Gilding
  • Windsor chair making
  • Finishing techniques (oil, wax, shellac, spray lacquer, staining and colour matching)
  • Business skills, pricing and customer care
  • Branding, PR and Marketing
  • Machinery maintenance
  • How to set up a workshop

Understanding furniture design is fundamental to the success of becoming a successful woodworker. The subject of design is studied throughout the course, so that students can incorporate their own designs into their projects.

We also encourage students to develop their own “signature style”, enabling them to express their individual ideas and creativity.

The students benefit from a series of visits to world class collections of fine furniture in the local area. These include Paxton House, Marchmont House and Gosford House.

Unlike other schools, all timber, veneers and sheet goods are part of the overall fee. For each major project, each student is allocated a £500 budget, in this way they learn the value of materials, how to source them and how to cost up a project.

Students will normally be expected to make:

  • A small cabinet
  • A stool (part of their woodturning training)
  • A series of boxes (a basic box with a sliding lid, a mitred jewellery keepsake box and a Japanese style tool box)
  • Two major projects (one to be made in term 2 and one to be made in term 3)
  • A Windsor chair (as part of a team of five students)

After the first five weeks when students will have mastered basic techniques and the safe use of machinery, students are given greater creative freedom to find their own “signature style” and to design and make their own pieces of furniture.

Business and marketing skills are an integral part of our professional course, giving students the confidence to turn their passion for furniture making into a business. From advice on website design to marketing and business development, we aim to help students make the transition into the commercial world as easy as possible.

Every student also has a one-to-one business lunch with the Principal in terms two and three.

Students benefit from trips to local makers and a series of lectures from successful Chippendale graduates. We also schedule a talk with Business Gateway who offer support with writing a business plan.

The school recognises that commercial skills are a fundamental part of the success of any woodworker.

In introducing students to aspects of business and marketing development, the Chippendale International School of Furniture recognises that commercial skills are also an important part of the success of any woodworker.

We go one step further and offer graduating students the opportunity to move into incubation space, Myreside Studios, on our campus. This gives graduates the chance to set up in business without the immediate overhead costs of investing in a fully-equipped workshop. Those renting bench space in Myreside Studios, benefit from the collaborative environment, access to machinery, tutor support and a wide range of consumables (glue, screws, finishes, sandpaper, router bits etc)

Successful graduates are also entitled to join the Fine Furniture Guild, an association exclusively for graduates of the School. It provides a way of putting potential customers in contact with a woodworker near to them.

The fee for the 2024/25 professional course is £24,000 (subject to Early Bird discounts or travel bursaries). This fee covers:

  • All tuition
  • The use of hand tools (apart from carving chisels which are bought in bulk and cost £150 for those who opt in)
  • All materials (within reason)
  • Entrance fees to museums and private houses

A deposit of £5,000 is payable to secure your place, with the remaining balance payable due one month before the start of the course.

Please note, this course is for adults aged 18 years and over.

October 2024 – June 2025

Autumn Term (1) – 10 Weeks

7 October – 13 December 2024

Spring Term (2) – 10 Weeks

6 January – 14 March 2025

Summer Term (3) – 10 Weeks

7 April – 13 June 2025


Our comprehensive 30-week professional course equips students with the skills to practice as furniture designers and makers. Upon successful completion of the course, graduates gain two prestigious qualifications*: The Chippendale International School of Furniture Certificate which is globally recognised; and The Chippendale School of Furniture Award, accredited by the Scottish Qualifications Authority at SCQF Level 8.

*The Chippendale School is an approved centre (No. 3008002) of the Scottish Qualifications Authority and accredited by Education Scotland. Additionally, international students are required by the UK Home Office to study for the Chippendale School of Furniture Award. Exams are optional for UK students. Please note: SCQF Level 8 is equivalent to RQF Level 5 (England & N Ireland), NQF Level 5 (England, Wales & N Ireland), and EQF Level 5 (Europe).


If you are looking to pursue a career in woodworking, get in touch to arrange a visit or a virtual call with the Principal.

Read about other courses


This intermediate course is the right choice for those looking to advance their existing skillset. With a syllabus that consists of a series of set projects, each packed with learning outcomes, the course is intensive and intimate with only 8 students to 3 tutors.


This course is for those who wish to come and design and make a piece of furniture. With a maximum of 4 students, these courses are popular with hobbyists and fill up fast. The complexity of the design will be dictated by the individual student’s level of experience.


These courses provide the most accessible route into woodworking. Over 2 days, students can learn how to turn a stool on one of our woodturning weekends. Or, carve a set of wooden spoons on our spoon carving course.
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