What Can I learn?

A Rowden student putting an oil finish on a custom made chair. The piece was made as part of a furniture design course, at Rowden Atelier

Learn Furniture Making

Making at Rowden starts with the first principles of precise woodworking. We assume no knowledge for all students joining Rowden, meaning everyone starts with a solid foundation whether here for just one week or a full year. This approach ensures a high quality of work regardless of your prior experience.

For those at Rowden for six months or more, the work becomes advanced and moves into more specialist techniques and skills. Our students train to be outstanding furniture makers, primarily through hands-on work at the bench, and we instil a professional level of precision from the start. The full curriculum is a comprehensive education in woodworking at a professional standard.

students in the upper benchroom at Rowden Atelier on fine furniture making courses
students at Rowden Atelier learn about designing furniture on cabinet making courses

Learn Furniture Design

Good design is half art, half science. In our in-depth design curriculum, we help our students in finding their individual balance in their furniture. Students are finding their own sources of inspiration and understanding how to express themselves. We explore many of the tools that will help this process – pencil to watercolour to CAD. Rowden gives time to the technical as well as the artistic skills, both being crucial to being a competent woodworker.

Learn Business

The business syllabus at Rowden goes beyond general cashflow spreadsheets and budgeting, into the specifics. We explore client management, exhibiting your work as a maker and machine purchasing. What are you going to do with your new-found skills? What are you going to make, and how will you find clients? How are you going to market your skills, and what should you charge? Understanding how woodworking works is vital, whether setting up as a designer/maker or in employment with one of the major workshops. In these classes, we explore the paths forward available to each individual and how they might achieve their own vision as a successful cabinetmaker.

a chest made with piston fit drawers, by a student on a furniture woodworking course at Rowden Atelier

Curriculum

Rowden students access an intensive and wide-ranging education in cabinetmaking. We’ve estimated that our making curriculum provides three years of practical knowledge when compared to a traditional apprenticeship. This, coupled with Technical and Artistic Drawing, Design, CAD, and our Business syllabuses, means a comprehensive year. Below are headlines of what a student at Rowden can expect to explore, but get in touch for a fuller insight on our curriculum.

Making Syllabus includes exposure to

Rowden student checking for square on a component
  • Planing
  • Precise Marking & Measuring
  • Sawing, Paring, Jointing
  • Sharpening
  • Abrasives & Sanding
  • Finishing & Polishing
  • Assembly & Adhesives
a closeup of a router being used by a student on timber for furniture making at Rowden Atelier
  • Full Machine Training
  • Power Tool Use (E.G. Routers, Dominos)
  • Precision in large and small scale joinery
  • Prototyping, cut lists
  • Templates, formers & jigs
  • Batch Production
  • Carcasses – Construction, Internals, Methods & Processes
a student inspecting a piston fit drawer side as made in woodworking classes at Rowden Atelier
  • Drawers – Methods, Construction, Piston Fitting
  • Frames, Fitted Furniture
  • Doors – Construction, Fitting, Contemporary & Traditional
  • Chairs – Construction, Processes, History
  • Forms inc. Laminating & Steam Bending
  • Veneering & Marquetry
A student at Rowden Atelier learn furniture design in the CAD syllabus

Design & CAD Syllabus includes exposure to

 
  • The Design Process, Classical proportion and materials
  • Furniture History & The Arts & Crafts Movement
  • Expressing individual creativity, sketching, design briefs
  • Watercolours, presentation drawings, individual design presentation
  • Presentation & Proportion
  • Geometry & Navigation
  • Creating Accurate Planar Geometry, Drawing & Modelling
  • Creating and Analysing more Complex Geometry, NURBS, Surfaces
  • Extracting Information from Models
  • Model Organisation, Visualising and Layouts, 2D from 3D, Presenting Images

Artistic & Technical Drawing Syllabus includes exposure to

artwork from the Rowden art syllabus on a fine furniture making course
  • Learning to see
  • Composition
  • Sighting & Understanding Depth
  • Shadows, Tone & Shading
  • Negative space
  • Mixed Media
A student in a life drawing class at Rowden Atelier on a learn professional woodworking course
  • Working with and developing detail
  • Life Drawing
  • Materials
  • Scale & Perspective
  • Perspective for interiors
  • Scale, Polygons, Circles
a student doing scale drawing of furniture on their Rowden Atelier furniture design courses
  • Orthographic Drawing
  • Paraline Projections
  • Vanishing Points
  • Two Point methods
  • Rod creation, drawing at 1:1, 1:3, 1:5, 1:10

Business Syllabus includes exposure to

  • Brand Development
  • Trade Shows & Exhibitions, Marketing & PR
  • Pricing & Practical Business Management
  • Financing – budgeting, funding, sub contracting
  • Project Management – critical path analysis, time management, project resourcing
  • Client & Supplier Management
  • Workshop – layout, renting, contracts
  • Websites – management and design
  • Estimates, Costings, Scheduling
  • 1:1 Individual plan development
A student finishing a laminated rocking chair in ash at Rowden Atelier on a furniture making course