Looking for a woodworking school? Consider Scotland
A FWW author recently reached out to me to rave about his time in Scotland, teaching at a prominent woodworking school near Edinburgh. If you’d like to combine your woodworking passion with a sojourn in a beautiful place, rich with history, you might want to consider the Chippendale International School of Furniture. Here’s what Scott Grove says:
“When I was asked to teach at The Chippendale International School of Furniture in Scotland, I jumped at the chance but wasn’t sure exactly what I was getting myself into. As it turned out, neither did they. It was a mutual gamble taken by both parties that yielded a great experience and exchange of knowledge. And the scotch and ale was pretty good too.
The Chippendale School [link to http://www.chippendale.co.uk/] offers a complete and diverse curriculum and brings in various experts to teach specialized skill sets. Travelling to the United Kingdom to introduce my veneering techniques was certainly an honor, but I wondered, would they be open to such innovative and unconventional practices? Would I even be able to understand what they were saying through their Scottish brogue?
I assumed the school would be a conventional learning center with old-school methods, and getting traditional woodworkers to think outside the box could be a challenge. But I took a leap of faith and gave it my best shot. To my surprise I discovered how progressive they are across the pond.
In fact, it is “a leap of faith” that keeps The Chippendale School ahead of the curve. Anselm Fraser, current owner and principal of the School, openly admits one has to take risks every day to learn anything. Success or failure, he and his students are always learning. His mantra: If you don’t push your limits you won’t know how far you can go.
When I heard him say this while he introduced me to his students on the first day, I knew I was in the right place. One of my own sayings is “find the line and cross it. Then move it, and cross it again.”
Anselm admitted that he was taking a chance by bringing me over from America but had a hunch this would be good for the students at the school. It turned out to be a great idea for everyone.
The Chippendale School’s intensive woodworking program lasts for 30 weeks. Each student is required to complete three major works and a number of smaller projects, plus a display box chock full of samples that demonstrate various materials and techniques they have mastered at the school. In addition, they formulate realistic business and marketing plans for the path that lies ahead of them.”
The Chippendale International School of Furniture, in Gifford, East Lothian, Scotland.
A few of Grove's students, learning how to dry veneer, from left, Vicente Ridaura-Harvey (Mexico), John Nicolson (Scotland), Mae Ai Lian (Malaysia), Toby Walton (New Zealand), and Hamish Renny (Scotland).
Grove (center with blue apron), with his entire group of students.
Grove supervises while Steve Ahn (South Korea) routs a stack of veneer.
You can't beat the Scottish countryside for romance.