Woodwork tutor Chris Thompson is ready for a new group of night students. PHOTO LINDA CLARKE

Ever fancied making your own chest of drawers or coffee table?

Night woodworking classes are about to restart at Ashburton College and tutor Chris Thompson said there was a huge amount of satisfaction in building your own furniture.

The retired college woodwork teacher has been teaching evening classes for 15 years. His students range from novices to master carvers.

The classes are held on Tuesdays from 7pm until 9pm, with eight classes a term (four terms in the year); the cost is $180 per term.

Chris said the class was able to use the specialty woodworking facilities at college and so had access to industrial machines, fit for big and small jobs.

“People can come along and learn how to make something and have the equipment to be able to make it.

“The equipment is industrial-sized. There is a big saw finisher that can cut full sheets of plywood and a thicknesser, which machines timber to a specific thickness.”

The students chose all manner of projects and Chris teaches them the skills they need to do the job.

“There is a lot of satisfaction in building your own furniture. Instead of buying a coffee table, you get the timber and build it from scratch.

“There is huge satisfaction for me too watching people walk out proudly with their work.”

Chris said covid over the past 10 months had led to many people rediscovering the challenge of doing things for themselves and he hoped some new woodworkers would be keen to join his class.

The woodwork master is working on a challenge himself, completing a folding table for a super yacht currently being completed in Whangarei.

The complicated job has taken about 70 hours so far and involves different timbers, careful grain selection and features necessary for a life at sea. He is relishing the work, which takes him back to days as a boat builder before he became a teacher.

The first Ashburton evening woodwork class starts on February 9. Prospective students should call Chris on 27 434 668 to discuss their project ideas or email him on


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