The course

A one-day introduction to traditional chair making. The day will begin with a discussion on different seating constructions and designs. A short foray into the museum woods will focus on the sustainable management of woodlands for timber requirements and we will explore the artistic potential using natural form, shape and texture.

Using traditional tools and techniques students will complete an elegant stool to take home, as well as the experience and knowledge to make other pieces of furniture.

The hands-on day will provide a good base for those who wish to create individual designs and is the ideal stepping stone for further chair making potential.

The tutor

Mervyn Mewis studied habitat management and is involved in voluntary conservation work which has led to the availability of native broadleaf timber. He also has a keen interest in woodwork and the initial production of simple furniture.

 He has a City and Guilds woodwork qualification and studied musical instrument creation at West Dean College. Mervyn works full-time making all manner of timber objects; from green-oak gates to hurdy-gurdies and most things in-between.

He is currently working towards a Masters in Environmental Management and aims to heighten awareness and potential of native woodlands and the traditional methods which can be used to make aesthetic quality products.


Particpant information

Please wear suitable clothing and footwear, including waterproof clothing. Everyone should bring a picture of your ideal or favourite chair if possible for discussion.


£75 per person to include tuition, teas and coffees. The Museum café will be open or you can bring a packed lunch.

The Museum

The Weald & Downland Open Air Museum has over 45 historic building exhibits.  It is also home to the award winning and innovative Downland Gridshell, which houses a conservation workshop and artefact store, and is also used for many practical courses.  The Museum runs a full programme of courses in historic building conservation and traditional rural trades and crafts, along with MSc programmes in Building Conservation and Timber Building Conservation validated by the University of York. Please telephone for further details.

To book, download a form here. Alternatively, fill in the booking request below. Please read our terms and conditions before booking.

Make a Booking Request

This is an initial booking request form, and does not guarantee a place on the course. The Adult Learning Team will check the availability of the course, and reply to you as soon as possible - usually within one working day.