2 Day Wood Finishing Course

About the Course

This two-day course will enable the student to grasp the basics of traditional wood finishing; understanding the timber itself, the materials used and the methods of application. This is a ‘hands on’ course with students playing a role in most of the practical activities and demonstrations. In addition, students will apply these skills and techniques on a small piece of furniture, such as an occasional table, to be completed by the end of the course. Students can bring in their own item or one can be provided at cost.

The Dates

All courses are currently suspended due to Covid-19 social distancing rules. We’ll get some new course dates planned as soon as it’s safe to do so. New dates coming shortly.

Booking Your course

A complete course will cost just £300 for the 2 days (+ VAT charged at the standard rate) including a cold buffet lunch and refreshments. We accept Credit, Debit cards and PayPal as well as Cheques and BACS payments. Click here to book and reserve your place on the course or phone Sue, Chris or Lee-Ann on 01691 624023 to book or learn more. If you’re looking to buy a course as a gift for someone, we can provide open-dated vouchers, so the recipient can choose when to attend. Please see our course terms and conditions here


Subjects and course content:

  • Wood finishing-Why?
  • Wood identification, properties and characteristics.
  • Which finish? How to select a finish for specific woods, items of furniture and individual scenarios.
  • Surface finish identification.
  • Understanding Shellac and the technique known as ‘French Polish’.
  • Introduction and use of the polishing mop and ‘rubber’.
  • The use of Oils and Waxes.
  • Stripping materials and techniques.
  • The importance of Patina.
  • Understand the use of abrasive papers, wire wool and burnishing creams.
  • Sample boards – experiment with different stains and finishes.
  • Apply knowledge gained: Project assessment and production of polishing plan.

Day 1   

  • Practical demonstrations, hands on activities, explanation of materials and techniques.
  • Prepare sample panel with shellac for ‘French Polishing’.
  • Assessment of your project and plan for re-finishing, selection of materials and techniques to be used. Strip, stain and begin polishing as necessary.

Day 2

  • Demonstrations using sample panels to produce ‘French Polish’ type finish: all students to practice using the ‘French Polishing’ rubber. Apply final coats of polish to projects.
  • Final finishing using waxes. Practice final stages of ‘French Polishing’ on the sample panels.
  • Flexi-time to complete projects and experiment using techniques and materials not yet tried.

This course is predominantly hands on with a number of practical projects running at the same time (one drying whilst the next is being worked). There’s plenty of different techniques to learn but don’t worry, if you would prefer to focus on one particular technique or material then the course will allow for that. The main thing is that you gain confidence in wood finishing and have fun.

At the end of the course you will have a completed project. Course notes will be provided. Sample panels can be purchased at the end of the course should you wish – talk to the tutor during the course.
NOTE: The course does not cover painted finishes or spray finishing.

Classes are small with 4 – 6 students and tutor to ensure everyone gets time with the tutors but work and learn at their own speed. The classes take place in our workshop in Ellesmere, Shropshire from around 9am until 4pm including a cold buffet lunch and refreshments throughout the day. If you would like to come to us for a course we can recommend some of our local accommodation. Please note that there must be at least 4 students booked in order for the course to run.

Your Tutor

Tony Dickin

Tony Dickin has many years’ experience in the Furniture Industry:

Experienced in both Modern and Traditional Upholstery, he specialises in Period Upholstery and Furniture Restoration/Conservation working with both private and commercial clients. After completing a full Furniture Industry City and Guilds Apprenticeship, Tony went into teaching in both FE and HE, becoming Head of Upholstery, Course Leader BA(Hons) Applied Furniture Studies and course leader in Antique studies.