Learn to Turn: a Staycation

Level No Experience Needed
What you'll make a beautiful assortment of hardwood and greenwood objects
Skills you'll learn Working with green and seasoned woods, lathework on electric and foot-powered lathes
Duration 4 x days
Tuesday 19 October, 2021
Wednesday 20 October, 2021
Thursday 21 October, 2021
Friday 22 October, 2021
Price: £500   Book

London Greenwood

We are very excited to announce a new partnership between London Green Wood and Blackhorse Workshop, to provide a new course in learning woodturning.  

This immersive four-day staycation-style course is an introduction to lathework through several techniques, ranging from electric lathes in Blackhorse Workshop to traditional foot-powered lathes outdoors at London Green Wood in Hackney City Farm. We will also be welcoming a special guest speaker, Gareth Neal, a designer and craftsperson who combines traditional and contemporary woodwork methods to produce celebrated works of art. 

This course is for people curious to learn practical new skills in woodwork, that can be used to create useful homewares such as bowls, candlesticks or rolling pins. Lathes are one of the oldest and most versatile tools used in woodwork and during this course you will experience the full breadth of what they can produce, along with an introduction to working with green and seasoned woods.  

By the end, even without any previous experience, you will take home a beautiful assortment of finished hardwood objects, and feel capable to return to lathework either independently or with the support of experienced technicians. It will be an opportunity to experiment with the full range of techniques associated with turning, alongside a small group of new learners in social and welcoming workshop environments.  

You will not need to bring anything, but please dress for dusty workshop environments and wear sturdy shoes – no open toed shoes or sandals. London Green Wood is a covered outdoor workspace, so dress appropriately for the weather. 


Tuesday 19th October: 10:00 – 18:00 including evening talk, Blackhorse Workshop 
Wednesday 20th October: 10:00 – 16:30, Blackhorse Workshop 
Thursday 21st October: 10:00 – 16:30, London Green Wood 
Friday 22nd October: 10:00 – 16:30, possible evening drink near LGW to celebrate the end 

Course Content:  

Days 1 + 2: Blackhorse Workshop, Walthamstow  

The first two days will be at Blackhorse Workshop, where you’ll learn from our expert wood turner and technician Enrique Melin. On the first day, you’ll learn the structure and safe use of lathes with a variety of turning tools. You’ll practice control by spindle turning with a freestyle exercise followed by a more traditional, technical object to turn.  

On the second day, you’ll learn about materials, how to prepare and mount them, how to realise your own designs and apply finishes by turning hardwood bowls through face turning. The two days will allow you time to go at your own pace whilst being introduced to the joys of wood turning. As a result, you’ll be fully inducted into Blackhorse Workshop’s wood lathes and gain the confidence to take on your own future projects.  

In the evening, we will welcome a guest speaker Gareth Neal, working in contemporary wooden furniture craft. 

Days 3 + 4: London Green Wood CIC, Hackney City Farm  

The second two days will be at London Green Wood, situated in the idyllic Hackney City Farm. Here you’ll learn from two experienced woodturners, Dave Evers and Spencer Martin. The first day will offer an introduction to working with locally grown green wood, and how it differs from seasoned woods. You will go on to work with the foot powered “pole lathes” to produce spindles and become familiar with coordinating your body to power the machine as well as produce your pieces!  

On the second day, you will move onto making a bowl. Using just two simple turning tools and continuing practicing powering your lathe by foot, you will experience a more advanced form of pole lathework to create a functional bowl. We will also talk about drying, oiling and caring for your bowl as well as selecting materials, tool use, sharpening and how to continue. We will be working outdoors in all weathers but we’ll stay dry and there will be a fire if gets it chilly.  

The Places and People: 

London Green Wood 
London Green Wood is a non-profit cooperative of woodworkers practising rural crafts in the city. Based at Hackney City Farm, they work with green wood straight from the log and hand tools. All the wood they use has been felled locally.  

They have been running events and teaching courses since 2011. They promise a beautiful setting, friendly people, the satisfaction of learning new skills and a fire when it gets chilly. At London Green Wood you’ll be taught how to make spindles by Spencer and bowls by Dave, both on their hand-made foot-powered pole lathes.  

Gareth Neal
Gareth Neal is an East London-based furniture designer who, through material inventiveness and curiosity, has helped to shape a new era in contemporary British craft.  Gareth is passionate about honouring people, process and place, working collaboratively to champion the use of indigenous materials and traditional processes. His studio produces a variety of furniture pieces including seating, cabinetry and sculptural artworks, all with a focus on sustainability and respect to the environment.