green wood workshop – 4 days

(make a pole lathe/shaving horse)

Our  Four Day Green Wood Workshop is suitable for beginners and improvers.
Green Wood is freshly felled, still sappy wood. To work it requires a set of simple techniques based on an understanding of how wood reacts – both to the tools, and to the drying and shrinking processes. Because it is green, the wood is soft and easy to work with hand tools, and because of this, green woodwork creates little waste, and can utilise small trees and logs. It is therefore green in all senses of the word – especially as at Bore Place the trees are felled as part of ongoing woodland restoration and sustainable management. Our courses and volunteer days are about learning woodcraft and helping with the conservation of Bore Place.

Pole lathe turning has traditionally also been known as “bodging”  Originally this was the term used for pole-lathe turners who turned out just the cylindrical parts of a windsor chair (eg the legs).  Originally located in woods at the edges of towns, their pole lathe construction was so simple and easy to move that it made more sense to take the tools to the woodland, rather than the wood to a workshop.  The pole lathes that you can make during our course below follow a similar design, and are treddle lathes.  They do also use some sawn wood however!

The term bodging can also be used to mean making something using only the tools and materials you have to hand, but still producing something serviceable.  Not to be confused with “botching” which of course means something completely different!

We have made some changes to our Course Program – please see our Course Update page for more information.

If you have a particular green wood project in mind, and it hasn’t been mentioned above, please do contact us to discuss your ideas as there is some degree of flexibility.

date:10th – 13th May 2024 (FULL)
9th – 12th May 2025
overview:Suitable for the beginner and the improver, spend four days getting to grips with green wood techniques: sawing, axing, shaving and pole lathe turning. Make a stool, a pole lathe and/or a shaving horse, or produce a range of smaller items such as gates, garden seats, besoms, carved spoons and bowls.

This course is structured around one or more projects chosen by each student. For example, many choose to “set themselves up” by making a pole lathe and a shaving horse (approximately two days on each). Making a pole lathe is largely a standard carpentry project, while the horse is entirely a green wood project. The lathe and horse work together in the preparation and finishing of green woodworking and are invaluable for making everything from the humble dibber to a Windsor Chair.

Alternatively, you could spend all four days working on a 3- or 4-legged stool, or a range of smaller shaved or turned items – eg candlesticks, tent pegs, gate hurdles, rounders bat and rolling pin.
start time:day 1: 9.30am tea/introductions for 10am start
days 2, 3 and 4: 10am start
lunch:approx 1pm – 2pm
please bring a packed lunch. Hot drinks will be provided.
finish time:approx 4.30pm each day
cost:£380 per person (extra charge of £90 for pole lathe materials)
tutor:John Waller
cancellations:we will provide a full refund if you cancel your place more than 14 days in advance of the course start date. Please note that we will be unable to refund your course fee or transfer you to another course if you cancel your place less than 14 days before the start of the course.
what to wear:Wear sturdy shoes or boots at all times. Please also wear warm, comfortable clothes that are suitable for the current weather conditions. You will be outside for much of the course
course size:maximum of 4 participants
what to bring:all tools and materials will be provided, but please feel free to bring along any interesting tools!
how to book:Booking Form
location:Courses and volunteer days are held at Bore Place, between Edenbridge and Sevenoaks, Kent. Bore Place is an environmental and educational charity on a 500 acre organic dairy farm, set in beautiful low weald countryside. Converted farm buildings and a Jacobean Manor House offer accommodation if required, with walks and local pubs to enjoy when you’re not wooding! Directions will be sent to you once you’ve booked on a course and can also be accessed from the Workshop Directions Page.
accommodation:Depending on availability, there are cottages to rent on site for £185 per night (minimum of 2 nights). It is essential that you contact Bore Place in advance to book accommodation. Please call 01732 463255 or email
There are also two beautiful yurts and two cosy shepherds huts on site - see Free Range Glamping for more information.
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John Waller, Underwoodsman
Average rating:  
 8 reviews
 by Mike

4 days well spent. A great way to to start learning about green wood skills. Really enjoyed the course. Thanks again for your patience John Cheers Mike

 by David

Excellent course with the right balance between teaching and letting us get on with things.

 by Steve De St Croix
Green Woodworking Course

John and Amanda Thank You. Really enjoyed the 4 days and learnt a lot as well.

 by Louis Brooks
Green woodwork course

I very much enjoyed making my lathe, which I had wanted to do for a long time, and shaving bench. Came away with lots of techniques, and the course had a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. Thank you for your help John, I look forward to making things with my new equipment. For anyone considering this course - do it. It is so much more rewarding to make rather than buy a lathe!

 by Beth and Jerry Ash

We set out on this course with virtually no pre-existing green woodworking skills. John’s deep knowledge and complete willingness to share it from Day One meant we were very quickly ticking off new skills as each component of the pole lathe and shaving horse came together. The beautiful and peaceful setting, along with John’s relaxed, patient and supportive approach made each of the four days fly by. We’re really proud of our lathe and horse and can’t wait to get hold of some tools to keep practicing. The group was lovely to be part of - sharing and supportive along the way. A perfect 4 days in every respect which we would thoroughly recommend.

Really glad you enjoyed yourselves, thanks for the review

 by Steve Sharpe

The most fun I've had in years!

John is an excellent teacher able to accommodate the needs of each of the individuals on the workshop, taking into account their experience, skills and objectives.
I built both the pole lathe and shaving horse in the 4 days but its full on to get everything completed.
I learned a huge amount in nice company. Bore Place is a wonderful location, ideal for the task in hand.
I highly recommend this excellent workshop.

Thank you Steve - glad you enjoyed it!

 by Cali Wilson
Green wood work shop

John is a gifted tutor , full of knowledge of his craft and infinite amounts of patients. He leads the group in such a way that each individual is catered for and can work at their own pace. It has been such a pleasure to spend 4 days with the group learning the skills to construct a pole lath and shaving horse. I am thrilled with the result. Thankyou John . I hope it will not be too long before I return to do another such course.

Thank you Cali - I enjoyed everyone’s company and best efforts too!

 by David

Overall the course was excellent, and in a fabulous location. John’s knowledge of working with green ash I felt was second to none and is obviously something gained from experience rather than being told or reading a book. The course size was just right, few enough to allow John to spend sufficient time with each person, but enough for there to be good laughs and banter between us. I will be in touch in future about another course as this one has given me the bug for it.