Frequently asked questions
When the workshop is busy we’re not available to answer emails immediately, you might find your answer here instead.
- How do I get green wood?
During each national lockdown we gave away green wood to keep people busy with their hands at home. We continue to give away spoon carving wood for a donation to the workshop on our usual workshop days (Wed.- Fri. before 5pm and the first weekend of each month 1-2pm). If you are not local we recommend you make friends with your local tree surgeon.
Because spoon carving has become very popular, some people have capitalised on this by selling blanks online. If you are buying wood online we recommend UK grown hardwoods, and that you choose the softer of these such as lime and alder as they will be dry by the time they get to you. Carving dry oak will be hard on your hands and your tools. Please don’t buy tropical hardwoods, it is important that craft skills can flourish without extracting the resources of the global south.
- Where can I buy tools?
See our Resources page for tool recommendations. If you have any other tool questions that are not answered here please email us. We like tools, we like to talk tools and we like to help other people buy good tools
- Do you take commissions?
Occasionally members of our cooperative take on commissions. If you would like to commission a piece of work please contact us with as much detail as you can provide, including your time-frame and budget. Please be aware that members are more likely to take on one-off projects than ongoing piece work, and that handmade work is more expensive than factory produced or imported options.
- Do you offer concessionary rates on courses?
Yes, we offer a limited number of low income rates on our courses. There is no eligibility criteria, these discounts are available for anyone who needs them. This is a trust based system, we do not require proof or even an explanation of the rate you choose.
We also run projects with other community groups, depending on funding these are free or very cheap to join. See if you are eligible to join any of our current projects.
If you are part of a community group, or a demographic that is under-represented in this sector, please contact us if you are interesting in joint fundraising together to create an accessible project.
- Can I change my booking?
You can cancel or reschedule your booking for any reason up to 7 days in advance of the course. However, the more notice you can give us the better so that we can offer your space to someone else.
If you have been advised to isolate due to covid-19 please do not come on the course, let us know as soon as you do and we will reschedule your place. Other than for covid-19, last minute reschedules are only available in exceptional circumstances, and you must inform us before the course.
If you would like to change your booking at late notice (within 7 days of the course) and you do not have an exceptional circumstance, we will offer your place to the waiting list and reschedule or refund your place only if someone else takes it up.
Surprisingly often, people ask us to reschedule their place because they forgot to come on the day. The answer is no.
- I am booked on a course, is it going ahead?
Yes, you will receive a reminder 3 days before your course. If you haven’t received this please check your spam.
- It’s raining, is the course going ahead?
I’m afraid so, please come prepared. We have tarps to put up, so even if it’s torrential we’ll try to keep you dryish. We work outdoors in all weathers and will only cancel courses in the event of extreme weather conditions which would make the courses unsafe (ie. a red warning from the Met Office with risk to life).
Please come prepared for the weather. In the winter we recommend thick-soled boots, layers and fingerless gloves. We do not allow anyone to work with tools in full fingered gloves unless they have a medical reason for doing so.
In the summer we require covered feet, no sandals or bare feet please, and recommend a hat and suncream.
- Do you do private courses?
Yes we do, however depending on group size these will be more expensive than our usual courses. More information on our courses page. If you are interested in a private booking please get in touch at least 4 weeks in advance.
We also offer sessions for scouts and other youth groups, kids parties and run family whittling activities at community events. Contact us for more information.
- Do you sell gift vouchers?
Yes, you can buy gift cards through our booking partners Obby.co.uk. These are valid on over 2500 classes available on the Obby site, including all London Green Wood courses. Gift cards can only be redeemed through Obby.co.uk and will not work on bookings through our own website (the commission is different). Gift cards are valid for 1 year. If you have any queries about gift cards please contact firstname.lastname@example.org directly.
If you are buying a course as a gift for someone we recommend you come together, it’s more fun that way. We also recommend that you book a space on a specific course date rather than buy a gift card to avoid disappointment, as some of our courses book up several months in advance.
- Do you have sessions for children and young people?
Yes, see our Family Courses for 6-8yr olds and 9-18yr olds. These courses are for kids and young people to come accompanied by an adult who will supervise and work with them at all times, each course space is for 1 adult and 1 child to attend together. We recommend that parents/ carers join the course so that they can keep their child safe when whittling at home and be confident in their child’s abilities to work with knives and wood.
If you have more than 1 child/ young person we require a 1-to-1 adult:child ratio for your first visit, after this speak to the tutor to see if you would feel confident to supervise more than 1 child.
Please bring your child to a session for the correct age range, even if they are almost 6/ 9 yrs old. We have designed these sessions for their age, size and attention span, bringing a child that is too young can be unsafe and also frustrating for them.
- Can I bring a teenager to your adult classes?
No, the minimum age for our adult classes is 18yrs. Once a person has reached the minimum age required to buy a knife, they can join our courses. See our current Projects, which sometimes included funded projects for young people.