Who is the course for?
For those who are interested in furniture making or fine woodworking, this enjoyable and stimulating course has a strong emphasis on the practical woodworking skills. The course will prepare learners with the essential skills needed for employment in the furniture or fine woodworking industry, this may eventually lead onto setting up a woodworking business.
There are two different methods of study for this qualification which are; three days per week, or one afternoon and evening per week for mature learners.
What does the course involve?
Techniques of making quality furniture. Learners will use modern machines and hand tools to produce practical tasks as well as own projects. Learners will also be taught all of the associated knowledge required for this subject.
The course is two-thirds practical work, with the remainder being theory studies.
- Use all workshop tools to undertake practical tasks, use techniques to produce shaped and veneered parts, construct and assemble furniture and cabinets
- Fit a range of doors, drawers and cabinet hardware, apply mouldings and finishes, and make necessary adjustments to finished pieces
- Producing project cutting lists, produce patterns and jigs, identify and select timbers and safely use woodworking machinery
- Preparing working drawings, understanding technical drawing practices and using workshop geometry
- Develop an understanding of the design processes used in furniture making and an understanding of professional furniture making practice
- Understand the importance of sustainability in furniture making
Over the year learners will be given set practical tasks to teach making processes and help to gain confidence with practical skills. Learners will increasingly be encouraged to develop their own ideas in their work which reflect their own sense of style. In the design studio learners will learn background theory to working in wood and constructing furniture, alongside drawing and design skills. At the end of the year learners will have completed at least one well finished piece of furniture along with numerous other practical tasks and exercises.
What makes this course special?
The College has an excellent reputation for its furniture courses as students are encouraged to work towards the highest possible standards in craftsmanship and design. The overall standard of students' work is consistently high and achievement is well above the national standard. Students from this programme regularly take part in competitions.
Level 2 and 3 students have the opportunity of submitting their work to the Somerset Guild of Craftsmen & Devon Guilds of Craftsmen for specific new designer maker exhibitions. Bridgwater College has worked with the Somerset Guild for a number of years in holding a joint exhibition at the Courthouse Gallery in Somerton. In recent years this has also had a prize awarded to the best piece decided by visitors to the exhibition.
Level 1 furniture qualification or a similar woodworking qualification at Level 1.
Learners will also need a desire to learn about furniture making and a love of working with wood. All of the tools and equipment will also be provided, but we do encourage students to obtain a basic set of tools and drawing equipment for their own use. All the materials for set projects are provided, however, learners will be expected to finance their own final major project.
What are the assessment methods?
Assessment on a timed practical project, a range of practical tasks and a theory portfolio. There are also multiple choice theory examinations and written theory end of unit exams.
What are the progression options?
Apart from a variety of career opportunities in furniture and woodworking, learners can progress onto our higher level furniture courses. Alternatively a Foundation Degree in Furniture Studies at a specialist furniture college/university, a BTEC National Diploma in Art, Design and Craft, or any other design based subject dependent on achieving an appropriate level of qualification.