1-year Course in Fine Furniture Design and Technology

The Sturt School for Wood has been teaching Australia's fine furniture makers since 1985.  Many of Australia's most established furniture makers are graduates of the Sturt School or teach at the School.  The Sturt course is unique in Australia offering unrivalled teaching hours, bench time and workshop access.  The course is taught by some of the very best furniture makers from Australia and overseas.  It is not for the faint hearted!  It is deliberately immersive and intensive and you will learn more that you ever thought possible.  Only apply if you are willing and able to commit everything to your year at Sturt and to live and breathe woodwork and the art of fine furniture!

The Sturt School for Wood is a Registered Training Organisation (no. 2571) offering the nationally recognized (Australian Qualification Framework) Certificate IV in Furniture Design and Technology as a full-time 1-year course. Students who are accepted for enrolment in this course may be eligible for a range of government assistance programs to help support them while they undertake full-time study including Austudy, Youth Allowance and Fares Allowance. Contact your nearest Centrelink to find out more.

The course offers each student:

  • Predominantly practical instruction covering a broad range of fine woodworking skills
  • Related theoretical and design studies, technical drawing & design fundamentals
  • Intensive training in the use of a comprehensive range of woodworking machinery
  • Personal bench space within a small group
  • Individual guidance from well established and respected professional furniture makers/designers
  • Specialist visiting lecturers
  • Access to our Design Studio that includes laser cutting, digital routing and 3D printing
  • Visits to other workshops, exhibitions, timber yards, suppliers etc.
  • Use of library, fully equipped photographic studio and other resources
  • Full accreditation for AUSTUDY for those eligible
  • A recognised tertiary qualification (Certificate IV) for all successful graduates
  • A superb working environment

The course objective is to develop, in one year, the personal skill, knowledge and confidence that will provide a strong foundation in the craft, enabling graduates to continue working with wood as a profession.

Individual term enrolment is also available (subject to availability) to accommodate students who need to complete the course in a longer period of time. Students enrolling for an individual term:

  • Receive relevant course units of competency (subject to satisfactory performance) applicable to the term(s) of study towards completion of the Certificate IV course
  • Receive a statement of attainment for any terms completed at the end of the year
  • Eligible to include work produced at Sturt in the end of year student exhibition in Sturt Gallery
  • May apply for Austudy, rent assistance and travel allowance while in full-time education
To enquire about enrolment Contact: Mark Viner, Head of Sturt. Ph: 02 4860 2080 or email mviner@sturt.nsw.edu.au

TIMBERBITSThanks to our sponsor TIMBERBITS, each enrolled student receives a woodwork starter kit at the commencement of term 1 valued at over $500.

See below for details on Course Outline, Term Dates, Fees and Tutors for 2019 and 2020


TERM 1 - An introduction to Fine Woodworking

Start the way you mean to continue by learning the right way from the beginning. Learn how to look after your hand tools, set up your bench and workshop, make a range of hand tools and then construct the perfect hanging tool cabinet to keep them in. This term will get you started with the principles of using hand tools and the basics of safe use of machinery.

Units include:

  • Establish and maintain a safe furniture making work environment
  • Select, use and maintain hand tools for the creation of custom furniture
  • Set up, operate and maintain basic static woodworking machines

TERM 2 - Joints and Curves

Make your own dovetail saw and then use it to learn the art of dovetail joints. Develop and build a piece of furniture that incorporates a traditional drawer. Learn a range of curving techniques that may include, steam bending, coopering, laminating or kerfing.

Units include:

  • Generate design solutions
  • Establish a design brief
  • Produce ideation drawings
  • Construct joints for custom furniture
  • Assemble custom furniture
  • Produce curves and shaped components for custom furniture

TERM 3 - Designing, Prototyping and Completing a Project

Starting design your own projects including the prototyping and construction of your own batch project for potential commercial sale.

  • Research and select furniture materials and technology
  • Research styles and movements
  • Produce technical drawings
  • Construct and evaluate furniture prototypes and samples
  • Produce templates and jigs for custom made furniture

TERM 3/4 - Making an Exhibition Piece

Develop and extend design skills and practice towards your graduate exhibition.

  • Produce timber veneered components for custom made furniture
  • Produce and evaluate developmental furniture models to scale
  • Select timbers for furniture production
  • Develop and extend design skills and practice

The manufacture of a final exhibition piece occupies most of this term. Students are also required to organise all aspects of their graduate exhibition. A complete record of this project must be made including photographic documentation. The work should illustrate the participant’s awareness and understanding of design principles. All students must also complete a portfolio and CV.

TERM 4 - Design & make a chair

End the year with the most demanding exercise that will require all of the skills you have learnt so far.  Cover design and prototyping, structural concerns, ergonomics, relevant materials and processes, production & basic upholstery techniques.


TERM DATES 2019        

Term 1: 4 February - 12 April (10 weeks) 

Term 2: 23 April - 28 June (10 weeks)

Term 3: 15 July - 27 September (11 weeks)

Term 4: 8 October - 9 December (9 weeks)

TUTORS 2019        

Phoebe Everill, Colen Clenton, Terry Gordon, Paul Nicholson, Peter Young, Isabelle Moore

FEES 2019

1 year full-time enrolment: $21,750 plus $110 registration fee


Term 1: 3 February - 9 April (10 weeks)

Term 2: 20 April - 3 July (11 weeks)

Term 3: 20 July - 25 September (10 weeks)

Term 4: 6 October - 7 December (9 weeks)


Phoebe Everill, Colen Clenton, Terry Gordon, Paul Nicholson, Peter Young, Darren Oates, Roy Schack, David Upfill-Brown

FEES 2020

1 year full-time enrolment: $22,400 plus $110 registration fee


Download Application Form for 2020:

1 Year Course Application Form 1 Year Course Application Form (611 KB)

Download Prospectus:

Sturt School for Wood Prospectus Sturt School for Wood Prospectus (395 KB)