Reviews
Course Reviews
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Robert Young - 1 year ago 

The course was a wonderful experience that exceeded my expectations. Over the week my fellow woodworkers and I transformed a number of ash logs into beautifully crafted chairs in convivial surroundings. I had no prior woodworking skills, save some school woodwork from 50 years previously, and was able to manipulate the tools successfully. My sense of achievement was immense and I now have a lovely chair to admire and sit on. A great way to escape life’s stresses. Thanks Stewart.

Karen Smith - 1 year ago 

Step by step course, learnt lots of new skills using different wood working skills/tools and now have a great chair

Charles Walker - 1 year ago 

I loved this course. Stewart is an excellent teacher and the pace was just right. It really is tremendously satisfying to produce something which is a thing of beauty from the raw material of an ash log. The design of the chair works very well but with Stewart's encouragement personal choices about style can be incorporated so one produces something which really is unique. As other people have said part of the pleasure of the course is the general ambience - a lovely location, first class sourdough bread (another potential course there I think) and great company from Belle and Fin. It was first class - thanks so much.

Sarah Powell - 1 year ago

Every review for Stuart's course seems to be glowing and this one's no exception! This was a perfect birthday gift which saw me spend five glorious days in the beautiful Suffolk countryside and resulted in a unique and much treasured piece of furniture. A new family heirloom perhaps. 

Stuart and Belle were warm and welcoming, serving freshly made lunches (Stuart's bread is delicious!) and generally being fabulous hosts. Fin the dog was also available every morning for a friendly fuss. 

Already clearing the garage for woodworking space... 😉

Fraser Goldie - 1 year ago

I would definitely recommend this course to anyone with any ability level!

I was slightly nervous before starting the course as I didn't think I would be able to finish with a fully working chair due to me not having any prior experience in making chairs.

This was not the case though! I managed to finish down to the patience of Stewart and his knowledge of woodworking. The group size of 4 is perfect as he can fully devote his time to each one of you and it allows you to work at your own pace.

Stewart and Belle provided a really fun and enjoyable week and have definitely got me interested in pursuing other courses!

I couldn't recommend this enough.

Mary Hancock - 1 year ago

After five wonderful days of chair making, I am keen to make more. Under Stewart's calm and patient tuition, anyone can produce a beautiful chair to be proud of and treasure forever. The relaxed and tasty lunches in the garden added to a perfect week.

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Mike Hancock - 1 year ago

It has taken me 15 years but I finally committed to making my first chair. I became more aware and interested in chairmaking after I attended The International Chair Symposium at Westonbirt Arboretum way back in 2004 (what a grand title - it was a lot of different chairs in large marquees with everso clever makers discussing their skills and techniques). What a fool to wait so long! I enjoyed a thoroughly absorbing 5 days in the beautiful Suffolk countryside crafting my very first chair. Stewart is a very organised and patient teacher. The small group size is perfect for progressing at your own pace with plenty of tea/coffee breaks and tasty relaxed lunches - what's not to like? 

So I have no hesitation it recommending this course as a purposeful and creative way to enjoy 5 days especially as you get to take home the fruits of your labour. The local pub is very good too! My new chair will be the first of many as I try and make up for lost time. Thank you Stewart and Belle.

Bob & Chris Bailey - 1 year ago

Spent an excellent 5 days in the lovely Suffolk countryside with Stewart creating our very own beautiful chairs from green ash trunks with only hand tools!

Stewart’s relaxed, calming and patient manner, expertly guided us, all at our own pace, until we were quite rightly very proud to be taking home the fruits of our labours.

Thank you Stewart for your guidance - we are already thinking about returning for the 3rd and 4th chairs!

Jeff Parker - 1 year ago

I came across Stewart at Ikworth House Wood Fair and thought …... I wouldn’t mind having a go at one of those chairs! Little did I know what an amazing experience it would turn out to be. 

Under the careful and sensitive tutelage of Stewart we all worked on a variety of miscellaneous bits of wood which slowly turned into a beautiful piece of furniture before my very eyes, a piece of furniture that I and my family will treasure for ever. I am astounded that such a lovely chair could have been made with my own hands but know none of this would have been possible without Stewart’s expert guidance. Stewart, thank you for the chair, cups of tea and biscuits, and delicious lunches and for introducing me to a whole new world of possibilities – I’ll be back, for Chair II.

Stephen Seargeant - 1 year ago

I had an excellent 5 days chair-making with Cretingham Crafts and would recommend it to anyone who likes making things. Relaxed teaching in beautiful surroundings with good company made for a very enjoyable time and I would happily have stayed for another week.

Sarah Knight - 1 year ago

Fantastic time learning new skills and producing a beautiful unique chair from scratch, at a pace that made the experience both relaxing and therapeutic. We were made very welcome and well provided for by Stewart, Belle, and Fin during our unforgettable week. As a birthday present from my partner Paul and with wonderful stay down the road at Yew Tree Cottage the week was perfect. Recommended to anyone, no matter what your limitations may be.

Paul Murray - 1 year ago

Had a fabulous five days last week with Stewart learning and making my very own chair. Went with the other half Sarah, and our dog Delilah and stayed nearby, the course was really friendly and we all enjoyed ourselves with the two other students. Fin made us very welcome and we got a lovely lunch each day courtesy of Belle. I honestly did not believe I was capable of producing a piece of functional furniture that I am very proud of. All four students produced their own wonderful chair. The course allows you to work with all the tools and materials that are needed to produce a chair that is unique and beautiful. I would thoroughly recommend this course to anybody interested in furniture making.

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Stu Haysman - 1 year ago

I can highly recommend this course to everyone, whether or not they have done any green woodworking before. There were four students on our course, with varying degrees of previous experience, and we all managed to create amazing, beautiful and individual chairs. It was an amazing process to start on the Monday morning with a green ash trunk, complete with lichen and bark, and end on Friday with a finished chair. Stewart has a brilliant relaxed teaching style and helped everyone overcome the various obstacles we faced throughout the week. Shave horses and draw knives became like old friends :-) The lunches were great too and the overall atmosphere was superb. I can thoroughly recommend booking a place - in fact I loved it so much I immediately booked onto another course later in the year!

Graham Haerle - 2 years ago

At the slightly more mature age of 71, this was the first craft course I have attended. When it first caught my eye I wondered whether I should afford it. I can now say to anyone who may have a similar thought to not hesitate - you cannot afford NOT to do it! 

Under the relaxed and expert guidance of Stewart and carried out in his delightful cottage and workshop surroundings, I found the 5 days to be totally enjoyable and rewarding. The obvious benefit is ending up with the fruits of your labours which exceeded my expectations. My family have been very impressed by my "skills" and have said "didn't know the old man was that clever". Praise indeed!

I should end by saying that I have only modest DIY skills and have not previously handled the tools used on this course.

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Jon Duckworth - 2 years ago

I would whole heartedly, without reservation, recommend that Stewart’s five day chair making course be available on prescription to reduce stress and enhance well being. The increase in blood pressure experience during the drilling and weaving is a small price to pay and thankfully short lived due to expert tuition. 

The fruit of the labour is most satisfying. The chair is 100% hand produced and the daunting prospect of replicating one of Stewart’s examples is dispelled in a most inclusive instructional style. 

The transformation from a few ash logs to a supremely attractive finished article takes place in and around Stewart’s workshop barn. The cottage setting, rural surroundings and convivial atmosphere makes for a most pleasant way to spend a few days. As a bonus the calories ingested during the excellent lunches and cake breaks are neutralised by energy expended. Stewart and Belle are excellent hosts and make a great team - almost by design advice to combat creakiness incurred from the shaving horse is dispensed by Belle, the resident Pilates instructor and purveyor of excellent refreshments.

I would recommend a cushion or padded cycling shorts for those of a sensitive disposition but as has been previously mentioned in preceding reviews, the wow factor when presenting the finished article at home quickly puts things back into perspective.

Keith Higginson - 2 years ago

From a solid length of green ash tree trunk with its bark still intact, to a finely crafted chair, complete with woven cord seat, this course allows a complete amateur to craft a beautiful piece of furniture that a pro would be very proud of. 

The end result is a delicate, elegant looking chair that is insanely strong and hardy. …and practical for at least the next hundred years. 

It’s made of ash; no glue or fixings of any type are involved. Only seriously solid mortise and tenon joints hold all the hand cut components in place. …to such a degree that the creators’ grandchildren be will still see benefit in bequeathing a chair to one of their children.

In terms of value for money, you will walk away with a chair whose market retail price (newly commissioned) will possibly exceed the price of the course. Add the five inclusive lunches to the deal plus the encompassing 5-day work-out that will transmute some of you unwanted girth into the lines of a finely crafted object - what’s not to like.

Good value; good company; good fun; in a countrified workshop setting that adds to a highly memorable achievement that you will be bragging about for many years to come!

Mim Barnes - 2 years ago 

I have so enjoyed my week making a truly beautiful, elegant chair - from a log! Having started with no experience of the tools or methods needed, I finished the week feeling quite at home with a draw knife and spoke shave, and even felt well acquainted with a brace and bit hand drill! Stewart is a great teacher, providing lots of support and encouragement along with plentiful coffee, great homemade bread and clear instruction. It is an absorbing and satisfying way to spend a week, with an end product of which I am very proud. And if light entertainment is needed, there are the dogs! I'll certainly be going back for another go.

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Rob Barnes - 2 years ago

What an excellent way to spend a week with wood. I had previous experience violin-making but this was a woodworking eye-opener with some roller-coaster moments. The top crest misbehaving was a drama for all of us. But what an achievement when it finally decided it was not the boss! Stewart is an excellent teacher and the cute dogs were a delight to work alongside. The chairs went from log to a final weaving day in no time, producing a fabulous seat design. There have been wows and gasps now we are showing off these chairs to anyone who visits. We went with the grain and I shifted from wanting a perfectly formed spindle to knowing what the wood wanted to look like. A truly unforgettable week and one with a stunning take-home prize.

Tom Taylor - 2 years ago

A wonderful way to spend a week learning a new craft under the masterful tutelage of Stuart and his easy to follow methods. The setting is idyllic, the workshop well equipped with everything you need, lunches and refreshments delicious and the company delightful. I had previously done quite a lot of cabinet-making but learned a whole new skill set. If that wasn’t enough Stuart’s friendly dogs are just so cute! Highly recommended.

Senga Bennett - 2 years ago 

My most relaxing week this year according to my Garmin stress level measurements! I've done one or two chair making courses, and this one was excellent. A nice pace with good teaching and support to keep everyone on track without anything feeling rushed. Lovely lunches and cups of tea to keep everything moving along in lovely surroundings. Learned lots and finished the week with a lovely chair. Just need to go back another 5 times to make a set!

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Stephen Hooper - 2 years ago 

Zen and the art of chair making. Relax, relax some more and end up with your own hand made chair. Under Stuart's calm, patient, attentive instruction you can't fail to make a beautiful chair. With the help of the beautiful Suffolk countryside, some like-minded souls, Belle's lunches, Fin and Flea's encouragement (their dogs) this is a totally immersive tonic for the soul. Can't recommend it enough.

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Ron A - 2 years ago

I have just spent a fantastically enjoyable, informative and, to my amazement, successful five days with some great people on Stewart's Chair-Making Course. As a total novice when it came to green-wood working, there was a lot to learn and tasks to perform in order to complete the project, but the atmosphere created was very calm and relaxed, and I had as much guidance as I needed when the inevitable questions came up. It was good not to have to aim for perfection, but to look at and go with what the wood offered. Apart from the enjoyment and skills I learned on the course, what did I actually achieve ? Well, I suppose the final word should come from the wife when I brought the fruits of my labours home. Simply - "WOW !!"

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