Traditional woodworking for Furniture students

First year BA (Hons) Furniture and Product Design students have recently spent some time learning some hands-on traditional manufacture techniques at Greenwood Days in Leicester.

First-year BA (Hons) Furniture and Product Design students have recently spent some time learning some hands-on traditional manufacture techniques at Greenwood Days in Leicester. The aim of the day was to give students experience of detailed, hand-crafted furniture methods and tools they can incorporate into their modern design methodology.

During the visit students worked in small groups and were given demonstrations on pole lathe, axes, shaved knives and spindle cutters – all essential traditional tools for creating furniture. As part of designing natural green wood furniture students were tasked to use traditional crafting methods with equipment they had not encountered before. Students also had to consider sustainable methods of joinery, removing the need for glue within their design. 

The designs created by the students included spindles for chairs and rounders bats which were created from a range of wood including ash, beach, elm and oak. Overall, the day gave students a chance to apply their understanding of materials production in a hands-on task.

The investment in the new material, including shave horses, hand adzers, travishers and inshaves, has come from the Vice Chancellor Award for achieving 97% overall student satisfaction. The aim is to enhance the opportunities for future students, but also contribute to the wider community through the products made.

With this new equipment and with the enthusiasm of one of the Maudslay Workshop Senior Technician, Kerry Truman, NTU have seen the start of the NTU Bodging society, dedicated to the re-learning of old skills and traditional production techniques in the manufacture of products, furniture and accessories.

BA (Hons) Furniture and Product Design student Beata Atrauskaite said afterwards: "Making spindles on the lathe was one of the hardest design techniques I have ever tried but I found it the most interesting aspect of the day. The day widened up my understanding about green wood and I also gained green wood working skills. My plan is to become furniture designer-maker so these skills will be really valued in the future."

Watch a short film of the 2016 designs

Traditional woodworking for Furniture students

Published on 27 April 2016
  • Category: Environment and sustainability; Press office; School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment

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