Carving courses

 2013 course dates below.

As one of the country's leading green woodworkers I have been carving for over 20 years and teaching this range of courses since 2005, some of my past students are now profesional carvers teaching courses themselves, many others are happy amateurs, all go away inspired and empowered. As I know times are hard prices have stayed at stayed at 2010 level so hopefully good value too.

My carving courses are unique in that they focus on the skills I want you to take away at the end of the course, although you will also have some spoons (or bowls) too!

You’ll learn a range of cuts with knives and axes which will enable you to use carving tools efficiently and safely. You’ll then be guided through a few simple projects where you will be able to use those cuts and add to them as your skill grows. Blog links under each course show previous courses to give a good idea of what to expect.

"What a superb course. I had been carving spoons for about a year, and thought I knew how to do it. From Robin's excellent tuition I soon learned better ways to do almost every phase of the process... Now I have a real dilemma: next year should I go for the spoons again, or on the bowl-carving course?"

Spoon carving foundation
This course contains the foundations of all you need to carve great wooden spoons. During the course you will learn the safe and effective use of knives and axes. You'll experience the working properties of a range of native timbers. You'll get to try all the different tools available with advice on which work best, where to buy them and how to maintain them. I have the best collection of tools to try in the country and the most inspiring collection of spoons to act as inspiration. By the end of the course you should also have made several spatulas or spoons to use in your own kitchen.
Cost: £195

30 January-1st February 2013 2 places left
20th-22nd November 2013
blog from previous foundation course

Spoon carving developers
For those who have attended a foundation course or have existing spoon carving skills, this will be an opportunity to develop your skills and learn more about spoon design. A range of tools and timbers will be available for you to experiment with and you will be able to learn the all important skill of knife sharpening.
Cost: £195
Dates: 6-8 February 2013  2 places left
27th-29th November 2013
blog from previous developers course

Bowl carving
Try your hand at carving beautiful wooden bowls from fresh green wood using axes, adzes, chisels and knives. This should be an empowering course, not only will you go home with a bowl or two but you will have the skills to make more at home.
Cost: £225
Dates: 24-26th April 2013
6th-8th November 2013

blog from previous bowl course

"The courses are well-run and thought out, highly informative, relaxed and a great deal of fun in lovely surroundings. There aren't too many people on each course and Robin, who is a highly knowledgeable, experienced and generous tutor, can spend time with each student to guide and help. He is also a great host with tasty home-made lunches day on Robin's wooden plates and bowls. I have learnt skills that continue to give me great pleasure working with wood, which I will do for the rest of my life. It is not too much to say that each of Robin's courses have been some of the happiest days I've ever had!"

spoon carving knife making
As woodworkers we use tools but most people are tied to buying those tools. Making your own tools is a very empowering experience and also helps you to a deeper understanding of the other tools you have and use.
I have forged all my own woodturning tools for over 20 years but this is the first time I have taught toolmaking. I was inspired last year when my friend Jarrod StoneDahl came and taught a crooked knife making class at Edale and thought it would be a good idea to offer a class to make spoon carving knives. We will start from a flat piece of Sheffield steel and using hand tools file the bevels, then forge the curve into a hook knife, harden the steel then temper it. Then we will make a handle for it. We will also make a straight knife blade so that everyone goes home with the two knives essential for carving spoons. All tools and materials are included in the price.

Cost : including materials to make your own hook knife and straight knife £225
Dates: 3rd-5th May 2013

SPOONFEST and last but not least Spoonfest is not so much a course as a gathering of everyone interested in spooncarving for a weekends fun, sharing and inspiration. Tickets will not be on sale for a while yet but it is a great weekend including free camping on site. It started out as a sort of pipe dream of getting all our favourite carvers together to talk spoons and carve together, it seems to have taken off into a genuine international event with carvers, collectors, beginners and fellow obsessives from Sweden, USA, Holland and the UK. The date for 2013 is August 2nd-4th. Full details at the spoonfest site here

If the course you wanted is fully booked and you would like to go on my email list to know when I book future courses

When I started running spooncarving courses there was no one offering serious tuition, only a few one day courses. It has become much more popular now with lots of courses including many run my past students, why should you come on mine? This is an email from Ian who has done foundation and developers courses with me.

"I have to say your Spoon Carving courses have been the best I have ever attended. This is because (and I can say this with some prior expertise as an ex-teacher and consumer of lot's of craft tuition over the years) you fundamentally understand the learning process. You have taught me carving skills in ways that are accessible and 'stick'. I can remember all the skills taught and I can use them. Unlike other courses I can replicate, practice and embed them. The soup is good too!"

Venue: Edale, Hope Valley, Derbyshire map
Situated in the heart of the Peak District at the start of the Pennine Way, Edale is a beautiful location with much to offer if you wish to extend your stay or bring a non-carving partner.

Times: we will aim to work from 2pm-5.30pm on the first day and 9.30am-4.30pm on the following two days.

Food: included in the price is lunch on the two full days plus a plentiful supply of tea, coffee and biscuits throughout! Despite the time and effort I put into creating the best possible spooncarving course feedback often highlights the homemade soups as the best bit.

Booking: either use the order form and select the 'course' option. £50 non-returnable deposit required to reserve a place. Or simply send me an email. 

Numbers: all my courses have maximum 8 students, many comparable courses have 10 or more. This means you get plenty of individual attention and most importantly I can help keep you safe and making good progress.

Please note that courses are only open to those over 18 years old.

Edale accommodation:
Edale is easily accessible by train from Sheffield or Manchester Piccadilly with the course venue and a range of accommodation to suit most tastes / budgets just a short walk from the station. A few suggestions ...
My own self catering holiday cottage  The Old Police Station
B&B Ollerbrook Barn 01433 670200 or Western House 01433 670014
Buckley Bed Cottage (self-catering) 01433 670390 email
Fieldhead Campsite 01433 670386
Edale also had a lovely Youth Hostel, but be aware it is about 1.5 miles from the village centre.
More options here