Make a canoe paddle 26-27Jan2018

posted on July 11, 2017

Make a canoe paddle

26th and 27th January 2018

9.00am to 5.00pm

During this two-day course with award-winning boat builder Colin Henwood, you will learn how to shape a single canoe paddle from Ash using hand tools.

Make your own canoe paddle at the Wood Centre

Make your own canoe paddle at the Wood Centre

  • Working with ash – our superior native hardwood.
  • Using traditional skills and tools you will produce a complex shape with hand and eye.
  • Learn how to finish your smooth and elegant design.
  • Take home a unique and useable canoe paddle ready for a varnish or an oil finish.
  • Tools and materials included (if you wish to bring your own tools please discuss this with the tutor).


Cost:                         £200 per person (materials included)

Venue:                     Sylva Wood Centre, Oxfordshire, OX14 4QT

Tutor:                       Colin Henwood


Purchase your place on this course

Book your place


About the tutor

Colin Henwood founded his boatyard, Henwood and Dean Boatbuilders, in 1982 specialising in restoring and building wooden Thames launches. The boatyard received many awards in the UK and abroad, and in 2014 Colin was awarded Maker of the Year by the Heritage Crafts Association. In October 2016 Colin handed the boatyard over to two of his team who are successfully continuing the tradition he began 35 years ago. Not one to retire, Colin has established a workshop at the Sylva Wood Centre where he is currently re-building a 1920 Thames motor canoe.

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Pole lathe course 17Feb2018

posted on June 22, 2017



Course date: 17th February 2018, 9.30am – 4.00pm

A one-day course to learn how to work with green wood using a pole lathe and make something to take home at the end of the day. Learn with expert green woodworker and experienced tutor Peter Wood.

For centuries the Bodgers used the methods you’ll learn on this course to produce a variety of items. You will work a freshly sawn log though each stage needed to make a useful household object, such as a garden dibber or baby’s rattle to take home. Each student will have the full use of a pole lathe, shaving horse and set of greenwood working tools.

On the course you will learn:

  • how to safely use the tools provided
  • how to carefully select logs for working
  • how to cleave (split) the logs for working
  • how to shape the wood using a shaving horse and drawknife
  • how to turn greenwood using a pole lathe.

Cost: £100 per person

Venue: Sylva Wood Centre, Oxfordshire, OX14 4QT

Tutor: Peter Wood, Founder of Greenwood Days

Purchase your place on this course

Book your place


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A future forest in the making

posted on June 5, 2017

Seen from the offices of Sylva Foundation, we’ve had a privileged view of the making of the new Future Forest (if not a little work in making it all happen!). Over the span of seven months we’ve taken a photograph most days looking south across the field. We’ve added all these together to make a two-minute timelapse which features the last arable crop being harvested, the arrival of archaeologists, surveying the ground and marking it out, planting with our new Forest Friends, and finally the emergence of a stunning display of wildflowers.


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