Real woodworking begins with real people


I just wanted to say a big thank you for the wonderful weekend course at Penhryn castle.  The time went so quickly and it was informative, relaxing and thoroughly enjoyable.  I loved your approach to the course and your views on life in general.  Much of what you said can be easily transferred to my own teaching of aikido and I am certain that the next class I teach will be better because of this experience.  Clearly I have learnt much about woodwork, but also much about life, philosophy and attitude.

I admire what you are doing and love your passion, thank you for the inspiration and I hope you keep it up for many years to come so others benefit too.  If I can ever be of help please just call and I will be happy to help if I am able.




PS I missed saying thank you to Phil in person. would you be kind enough to pass my gratitude to him for all his help over the weekend.

This weekend was very real for me and I think too for those who came to get involved in some interactive woodworking at the bench. We planed and sawed and chiseled and cut mortise holes and tenons that fit. Dovetails came from saws people had never used before and joints lay atop the benches as we moved on to complete other things. Magical could describe what happened.

I said lets clean up and a moan resounded throughout the benches. Shavings swirled around our ankles from a day’s planing and the tools started to be assembled in the middle of each benchtop. I reminded them that tomorrow they would be back in the real world and everyone smiled. Bench planes were stowed and chisels placed in the drawers and then we gathered around my bench for a debrief and a last session of saw sharpening. I had filed off the teeth of a 16-tpi tenon saw and recut the saw plate to a 12-tpi ripcut pattern. One of the men bought an eBay Spear and Jackson 14” tenon saw with a 14-tpi tooth size. I sharpened it for instruction and we learned the final essential steps tha culminated sharpening woodworking tools.

DSC_0007 DSC_0037 DSC_0017 DSC_0006 I suppose some of us spent time looking up…

DSC_0047 and others spent time looking around…

DSC_0134 DSC_0063 DSC_0105 DSC_0072 while others were looking quietly down.

I for one was quite tired. And I was also fulfilled. It was good to be in my shop working and creating and sharing my creative workspace with many people I had never met and some I had. Being in the US these past few months made me aware of just how much support and friendship I have had through the years. Doors continue to open for us here and our friends expand the vision we have for working wood UK. In this class we had two police officers, a foster care couple, an aikido teacher and an electrical engineer. We had another engineer and and a university librarian to say nothing of a friend who works with trainees in Carpentry and Joinery technical courses. Two more “pals” from the engineering world of the RAF were there too and then there was Phil and I steering them through the weekend.

Next weekend we start our nine-day intensive foundational course. I look forward to that. Can’t imagine that being any less adventuresome or enthralling. Experiential hands-on courses like this get the ball rolling into a new and exciting future. Look forward to seeing you next week.


  1. sounds like a great success over the weekend – no doubt each and every one learned something valuable and gained memories for a lifetime.

Comments are closed.

Privacy Notice

You must enter certain information to submit the form on this page. We take the handling of personal information seriously and appreciate your trust in us. Our Privacy Policy sets out important information about us and how we use and protect your personal data and it also explains your legal rights in respect of it. Please click here to read it before you provide any information on this form.