Short Courses

Short Courses – info | schedule | vacancies

melbourne school of fine woodworking offers the following short courses to both members and non-members. Some short courses may be scheduled on demand through the year. All courses are subject to minimum attendance levels and full payment is required when you book.

If you are interested in attending any of our short courses please contact us via (email) or (phone) 03 9897 3055.

If you are interested in a course that has not been scheduled, please let us know.  We will contact you to discuss the opportunity to run the course.

Introduction to Furniture Making (IFM) – $410


Join Gray Balmer for this two day course for beginners. Gray will introduce you to the process of furniture making including:

  • Introduction to safety on the standing machines
  • Introduction to the use and care of hand tools
  • Accurate mark out
  • Layout of tools
  • Use of saws, hand planes, chisels
  • Practice joinery
  • Sharpening
  • Plans and Drawings
  • Preparation for the purchase of materials
  • Timber selection

This is a stand alone course where you learn the fundamentals required to start furniture making. It is not a project based course but will give you a good grounding if you are intending to join a msfw Tutor Group, or if you want to attend any of msfw’s project based courses.

No previous experience required.


1st May 2021 Course | Full

  • Sat/Sun | 8/9 May 2021
  • 10am – 4pm

2nd May 2021 Course | Full

  • Sat/Sun | 29/30 May 2021
  • 10am – 4pm

June 2021 Course | 5 vacancies

  • Sat/Sun | 19/20 June 2021
  • 10am – 4pm


Email Kym if you are interested in attending this course or have any questions –

“I found the Introduction to Furniture Making course to be a comprehensive, realistic and inspiring class.  It was a real privilege to hear from and see an expert at work, doing such fine and beautiful work.  I was really pleased to see something of how the experts work.  It was great to hear an overview of woodworking and to see something of the depth of skill and knowledge that is involved in making a fine piece of furniture.  It gave a clear and concise view of the work.  I appreciated Gray’s high standards and enthusiasm, his depth of knowledge and the fact that he didn’t dumb it down too much.  I loved being in the room with all the projects in the shelves and the tools and machines.”


Woodwork for Beginners (WB) – Make your own Occasional/Side Table – $1,100

(4 day course – includes all materials)


Join Rob Fabris for this four-day project-based course for beginners.

Rob will introduce you to the process of making a small side table.  This will include:

  • Introduction to Plans and Drawings
  • Timber selection
  • Demonstration of how to prepare and cut timber for the use in the project.
  • Learn how to measure and mark out.
  • Sharpening and the benefits of using sharp tools.
  • Use of saws, planes and chisels to complete your joinery.
  • Use of a hand planes to flatten and shape your components.
  • Introduction to the usefulness of jigs (used to taper the legs, etc).
  • Use and application of different glues
  • Clamping
  • Finishing techniques and the benefits of different finishes.
  • Provide you with a list of suppliers for future purchase of supplies and tools.

No previous experience required.


April 2021 Course | 1 vacancy

  • Sat/Sun | 17/18 April 2021
  • Sat/Sun | 24/25 April 2021
  • 9am – 5pm

May 2021 Course | 2 vacancies

  • Sat/Sun | 15/16 May 2021
  • Sat/Sun | 22/23 May 2021
  • 9am – 5pm


Email Kym if you are interested in attending this course or have any questions –

“I was fortunate to join a new group, members of which had variable experience and I was pleased that I wasn’t the only novice. I was greatly aided by the approach taken by our tutor, Rob Fabris, that we would all begin with the same project, that of making a small side table.  This approach enabled Rob to introduce many furniture making techniques, use of most of the hand tools available in the workshop as well as the machines in the machine room over the course of the table’s construction.  The end result was increased confidence and the development of skills that in time continues to improve through practice. The other reward was of course a side table made of Tasmanian Myrtle that I could be proud of. It still has pride of place in my living room.”

Peter Deutschmann

Furniture Restoration (FR) – $315


Ben, our furniture restorer, has over 30 years experience of restoring quality furniture for museums and private collections in Australia and England. He will teach you how to restore your treasured period or contemporary furniture and artefacts. With his knowledge of furniture history and understanding of furniture restoration, Ben’s classes are a fascinating and enjoyable learning experience.

Bring along your restoration project and learn how to remove stains, make repairs using traditional glues or decoratively tool leather. Includes French polishing, gilding and contemporary decorative faux finishes.


Ben graduated from The London College of Furniture (now London Metropolitan University), completing 6 years of full-time study in furniture studies and antique furniture restoration. He is also a member of the Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Materials.

He was awarded the National Diploma of Furniture Studies and the Higher National Diploma of Antique Furniture Restoration and Conservation. Further studies at the London College of Furniture gained him the City & Guilds Award for Furniture Making and he was also the recipient of the coveted London College of Furniture Higher Award in July 1988.

Ben’s most notable commissions have been, The London Museum, The Royal Academy of Art, Sotheby’s, Osprey’s and Terence Conan. In Australia, Ben, with his company South Fitzroy Antiques, has undertaken commissions with many institutions such as The National Gallery, The Johnston & Beleura Collections and for numerous private collectors and dealers.


April 2021 Course | Full

  • Sunday | 11 April
  • 10am – 5pm

 May 2021 Course | 1 vacancy

  •  Sunday | 2 May
  • 10am – 5pm

July 2021 Course | 3 vacancies

  • Sunday 25 July
  • 10am – 5pm





Email Kym if you are interested in attending this course or have any questions –

“With the help of Master Restorer Ben Hodgetts, I’ve brought three family heirlooms back to life and also worked on a number of small projects. Under Ben’s practical guidance, I’ve learnt how to repair structural damage; revive wooden furniture and apply a range of finishes; re-upholster with leather using traditional webbing methods and repair and replace locks and handles.”

Lucy Callaghan

Box Making (Box) – $415


Join Remy Tramoy for this one day course for beginners. Remy will introduce you to the process of box making using traditional techniques. The course focuses on developing hand skills. At the end of the day you will have a beautiful handmade box to take home.

Remy has a Masters in Joinery and Furniture Making. He has travelled and lived in various regions of France, Germany and Switzerland learning the traditional techniques of each area.

You will be taught how to measure and mark timber, use a hand plane, chisel and saws.

The box is – 100mm x 200mm x 75mm


 May 2021 Course | Full

  • Saturday | 1 May
  • 8.45am – 6pm

July 2021 Course | 6 vacancies

  • Saturday | 24 July
  • 8.45am – 6pm




Email Kym if you are interested in attending this course or have any questions –

“Hi there, just wanted to say I had a fantastic time at the Box Making with Remy on the weekend – came away with renewed confidence in my skills, some new tricks and a beautiful little box….with dovetail joints!!??!!!!….. Remy is a generous and subtle instructor, and made us feel both capable and challenged at the same time.  A big thank you! Thanks again, for a wonderful experience, from initial enquiries to the end of the workshop.”


Wood Finishing – $280


This intensive two part workshop is designed for woodworkers wishing to develop their understanding of finishing products and techniques.  The course covers surface preparation, product selection and application techniques through demonstration.  With a wealth of experience to call upon, your tutor will explain and compare the suitability of different finishes.  Includes shellacs, oils, varnishes and waxes.


No courses currently scheduled


Email Kym if you are interested in attending this course or have any questions –

Router Techniques – $280


Do you already own a router, but feel that you’re not able to realise its full potential? Do you lack confidence in the use of your router? Are you considering buying a router? Then this one day workshop is for you. Topics at this popular hands-on course include safe use of the router, choosing a suitable machine, router bit types and their selection, use of a router table, and design and construction of router jigs and templates.  Please bring your router if you have one.


April 2021 Course / Full

  • Saturday | 10 April
  • 10.00am – 4pm



    Email Kym if you are interested in attending this course or have any questions –

    “I recently attended the Router Techniques short course. Gray introduced us to the various types of routers, hand held and table mounted, and the development of them over the years. He also covered router bits; shapes, sizes and cutting speeds.

    As a number of attendees had brought along their own routers he was able to point out particular features of different models and assist owners to better use their own equipment. It also gave others in the group a chance to compare routers that they might consider purchasing themselves or to be better informed of features they would want.

    The hands-on part of the day was most informative, as it is one thing to look at someone using a piece of equipment and think “I can do that” but to actually perform the cut, remembering the safety procedures discussed, the smooth movement to get the desired result, etc. is quite a different proposition.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the day, learnt a lot about the right and wrong way to work with routers and router bits and had all my questions answered well.”


    Tool Sharpening (SH) – $180


    This half-day workshop will help you develop a perfect sharpening technique. It will cover the sharpening of chisels, planes, scrapers and spokeshaves and includes grinding, honing, setting and polishing.

    Bring some of your own tools and be guided by our instructor to achieve that perfect cutting edge.


    June 2021 Course / 4 vacancies

    • Saturday | 5 June
    • 1.00pm – 5pm


    Email Kym if you are interested in attending this course or have any questions –

    Plane Tuning – $295


    Learn how to renovate an old plane or correctly tune a new one.  At this one day workshop you will learn how to flatten the sole, sharpen the blade and adjust, fettle and finely tune your plane.  Bring at least one plane to work on…and make it sing!


    No courses currently scheduled

    Email Kym if you are interested in attending this course or have any questions –

    “I wanted to thank you for a great Plane Tuning course.  It gave me a much better understanding of planes and their uses AND I was able to bring my 100 year old plane, which was in pretty sad condition, and have it cleaned, tuned and operating by the end of the day.  A triumph!  There’s more work to do on it but I now understand what has to be done and what’s more, think I might just be able to do it.”