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Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment

Learn how to make things from wood.  

Whether you wish to learn as you undergo your apprenticeship or you simply want to develop your carpentry skills for personal development, this course has something to offer you. 

  • Study online - at home, wherever you want, and when you want.

  • Learn about carpentry techniques from choosing timber to cutting, joining and finishing, and apply what you learn to making several woodwork projects.

  • Gain useful practical skills which can be applied in many careers, such as property management, handyperson, property manager, farmer, home DIY expert, building construction, furniture making, and much more.

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Build yourself a foundation in carpentry.

This course is a very solid introduction to carpentry techniques. It provides an understanding of most aspects of carpentry that are important for developing practical skills as a handyman, landscaper, property manager, farmer or other such roles.

  • Find out about different types of timber, carpentry tools, cutting, making joints, and finishing.
  • Undertake several woodwork projects, photograph your work and have it assessed.
  • Start at any time - study at your own pace.


Get started on a new career, improve your existing career or improve your own home.

  • Our flexible Carpentry course is a solid introduction to carpentry techniques.

  • The course provides an understanding of most aspects of carpentry that are important for developing practical skills as a handyman, landscaper, property manager, farmer or other such situations.

  • Learn about working with wood in landscaping, building construction, furniture making, fencing or any other application.

  • Study online, by Distance Learning - study when and where you want to.

Our Carpentry course is not a substitute for the practical instruction one might obtain over a long apprenticeship, internship or other such experience, but its scope will provide students with a broad and balanced understanding of wood work.  The course explores a wide range of applications, and in doing so, complements and enhances the development of your knowledge about carpentry.



Course Duration: 100 hours

Start Date: Start at any time - study at a pace that suits you, and with full tutor support for the duration of your studies.

Lessons: The course comprises 10  lessons as detailed, below.

1. Scope and Nature of Carpentry

  • Understanding Wood.

  • Resistance to Rot, Fire.

  • Defects in Timber.

  • Turning Trees into Timber.

  • Ways of Cutting Logs.

  • Shrinkage Effects.

  • Seasoning Timber.

  • Moisture content of Wood.

  • Stress Grading.

  • Types of Wood.

  • Types of Composites.

  • Buying Timber.

2. Carpentry Tools, Equipment, Materials and Safety

  • Hand Tools - saws, hammers, chisels drills, planes,screwdrivers, other tools.

  • Power Tools - nail guns, saws, electric drills, planer, sander, router.

  • Materials - sandpaper, steel wool, nails, wood screws, glues, wood filler.

  • Safety.

  • Tool Maintenance.

  • Sharpening techniqes.

  • Sharpening tools -planes, chisels, saws.

  • Cutting and Joining Timber.

  • Storage - tool boxes.

  • Hiring tools.

3. Cutting and Joining Timber

  • Types of joints - edge, butt,angled, mitres, framing, dovetail, mortise and tenon, housing joints, halving joints, etc.

  • Nails.

  • Screws.

  • Staples, bolts, connectors, straps, corrugated fasteners, glues.

  • Glue blocks, dowels,biscuts, splines.

  • Cutting and shaping timber.

4. Small Carpentry Projects

  • Hanging tools on a wall.

  • The work bench.

  • Making a work bench.

  • Making a simple 2 door cupboard.

  • Making a coffee table.

  • Making a bookcase.

5. Outside Construction

  • Choosing timber.

  • Pests - termites.

  • Timber preservatives.

  • Keeping timber off the ground.

  • Using timber in the garden.

  • Recycled timbers.

  • Outdoor furniture.

  • Building a wood deck.

  • Building a wood fence.

  • Where to build in the garden.

  • Constructing a wall with railway sleepers.

6. Constructing Small Buildings

  • Types of foundations.

  • Framing.

  • Roofing.

  • Building a wooden cabin.

  • Building a wood gazebo.

  • Building a cubby house.

7. Understanding House Construction

  • Timber framed buildings.

  • Timber floors.

  • Doors and door frames.

  • Door Construction.

  • Door frames.

  • Architraves and skirting.

  • Windows and frames - sash, sliding sash, casement, pivot, slat.

  • Roofs - single, double, trussed,etc.

8. Handyman Repair Work

  • Fitting a lock.

  • Repairing a sash window.

  • Fitting aqnd hanging doors.

  • Hanging a cupboard door.

  • Form work for concrete foundations.

  • Relaying floorboards.

  • Resurfacing timber floors.

  • Repairing a broken ledge and brace gate.

9. Finishing Wood

  • Creating smooth surfaces - using a plane, sanding, etc.

  • Paints, stains and varnishes.

  • Polyurethane.

  • Shellac.

  • French polishing.

  • Stains.

  • Paints - defects in painted surfaces, repainting.

  • Veneering.

  • Preparing outdoor surfaces.

  • Tips for outdoor finishes.

10. Planning and Setting Out a Project

  • Setting out.

  • Making a setting out rod.

  • Introduction to technical or trade drawing.

  • Drawing instruments.

  • Types of drawings - plans, sections, elevations, etc.

  • Setting out a technical drawing.

  • Building regulations.

  • Measuring up.

  • Working out quantities.

  • Preparing and surveying a site for construction.



  • Describe the scope and nature of carpentry; differentiate between different timber products, and discuss the appropriate use of each.

  • Describe all significant carpentry tools and identify appropriate uses for each. Identify and manage risk in a carpentry workplace.

  • Describe a range of different techniques for cutting wood in a variety of different situations.

  • Describe and compare different techniques for joining wood.

  • Undertake a small carpentry project.

  • Explain construction of different things in an outdoor situation with wood, including fences, furniture and retaining walls.

  • Explain the construction of different types of small buildings which are constructed mainly with wood, including garden sheds, gazebos and cubbies.

  • Explain a range of common carpentry tasks that a handyman may need to undertake in routine maintenance and repair work.

  • Explain a range of different techniques for finishing wood.

  • Determine an appropriate approach for planning a timber construction project.

  • Explain how a site should be set out in preparation for a construction project.



Woodwork joints are categorised into various types, but there are many variations within each category which are distinguished by things like the shape, angle or depth of the joint. Nowadays many joints used in construction are machine made. Others used in specialist work and fine furniture making may be cut by hand.  We shall now review some of the more common types of woodwork joints. Whilst we have categorised them into a number of groups for the sake of simplicity, but bear in mind that these are not necessarily distinct from one another.

1. Edge Joints

Edge joints are used to make things wider e.g. panels, car cases, and table tops. The timber is joined edge to edge across the length. Most edge joints are glued, but there are exceptions e.g. straight edged floorboards, or the wooden hoops of a whiskey barrel which are held together with iron hoops. Some edge joints are reinforced with dowels, biscuits or interlocking surfaces. These reinforcements are mainly used because they make aligning the joint much easier and any additional strength gained is secondary to this purpose. Edge joints include things like butt joints, ploughed and tongued joints, tongued and grooved joints, and splay rebated tongued and grooved joints.  

Butt Joints

These are the simplest type of joint. They may be needed for things like wide panels and kitchen bench tops. With a butt joint two pieces of timber are butted up against one another. These joints work well using lengths up to about 1.2m but thereafter tongues and other reinforcements such as dowels may be needed to hold the timber flush.

Tongued and Grooved Joint

These are very useful with longer lengths of board. One board has a tongue protruding along the length whilst the other has a groove into which the tongue is set. Some older tongued and grooved joints consisted of two grooved boards and a separate double tongued piece in between.

Making Edge Joints

When setting out edge joints it is imperative that the two edges which are brought together are square and flush. If glue is used, then it must be of good quality and the surfaces of the timber must be clean. When clamping timber, it should not twist or buckle - you should only need enough pressure to hold the timber firmly in place.

Sometimes a spring joint is included when abutting boards. This is where a very shallow groove is planed on the edges of the boards to be joined. The groove tapers towards the centre of the board so that when the boards are joined there is a very tiny gap in the middle of the joint. This enables more pressure to be applied at the ends of the boards when they are clamped since it is the ends which are most likely to fail first because more moisture is lost from the ends. The spring joint therefore compensates for possible failure of the joint towards the end of the boards.

When setting out boards to be edge joined, if you plan on planing them afterwards then you will need to make sure the grain is running the same way in each piece. Clamp the timber together first without glue to check that surfaces meet and are flush - plane edges if necessary. When gluing, use enough glue so that it squeezes out of the joint when tightened and wipe off the excess. Always clamp on a flat surface to give your end-product the best chance of being flat.

2) Angled Joints

These are joints where the edges of boards are brought together usually at right angles to one another. They are used in casings, panels, and linings. There are many different examples including things like mitred joints, tongued, grooved and mitred joints, tongued, grooved and beaded joints, and so forth.

Mitred Joint

The simple mitred joint is where the edges of two pieces of timber are cut at an angle of 45° and then joined together at 90°. It is an attractive joint when viewed from the outside - for example on the corners of a picture frame, or where skirting boards meet in the corner of a room. Mitres can be cut at any angle in accordance with the angle the two pieces of wood meet at. For instance, if the timbers meet at 120°, the mitred joint would be cut at 60°.

Since mitred joints require great accuracy in cutting, most mitred joints are cut using machinery such as the mitre or drop saw. Once the angle has been set up, it may be necessary to test cut some scrap wood and make any necessary adjustments before making the final cut.

3) Framing Joints

There are many different framing joints and these include the dovetail joint and mortise and tenon joint. We could also include housing joints here, but we'll deal with those separately.

Dovetail Joint

These are widely regarded as the strongest type of joint for joining the edges of two pieces of timber at right angles to one another, and are often considered the most difficult to master. The joint is made up of corresponding 'pins' and 'sockets' - or 'tails' (which are respectively like a tenon and open mortise). Both the pins and sockets are wedge-shaped so that the pin of one piece of timber fits into the socket of the other. The number of pins and sockets, and how widely they are spaced out will depend on what the joint is needed for. For maximum strength, the width of the pins and the space between them will be equal. Where aesthetics are of more concern, fewer pins may be used e.g. a ratio of 1:3 (pins to space).

If a dovetail is well made it does not even need to be glued however, the interlocking nature of the joint allows for a large surface area for gluing which provides additional strength which makes them very difficult to pull apart. The only disadvantage is that these points can be hard to set out properly and if they are not made accurately then they will not be as strong or aesthetically pleasing as they should be.

When cutting a dovetail, the angle used should not be too acute otherwise the edges may split off. Likewise, if the angle is too shallow there may be movement in the joint causing it to wear. For hardwoods the dovetails may be cut at a slope of 1:8 and for softwoods this should be around 1:6. In other word the angle for hardwoods may be slightly shallower.

To hand cut the joints for a common or box dovetail, the two pieces of timber to be joined should first be cut to size and planed so that the ends are square and smooth. With the exception of secret dovetails (see below), the socket should be cut first as it is quicker this way. The timber may be held in a vice and a depth (or shoulder) line is marked around both sides using a gauge set at the depth to which the sockets are to be cut. The dovetails are then marked out using a bevel which has been set at the required slope. Start at the outsides with the half sockets and then measure the space between and divide evenly for sockets and pins. Alternatively, you could make a template with the correct slopes on it.

Where several joints are to be made, the other pieces may be clamped with the first so that they can each be cut at the same time. Using a dovetail saw or tenon saw, cut the sockets down to the shoulder line.  To cut out the pins, the timber is secured in the vice with the edge uppermost. The piece with the sockets cut out is then placed over it so that it is flush with the outside. The tenon saw is then placed inside the socket and a kerf is made flush against the inside of the socket. The cut piece is removed out the way and the position of the pins on the piece in the vice are marked all the way around; and they are cut down to the shoulder line. The waste wood in between is cut out using a bow or frame saw, or for smaller dovetails a coping saw may be used.



You can start the course at any time.

It is studied by distance learning, so you can study in the comfort of your own home. But this doesn't mean you are all alone in your studies.  Our highly qualified and friendly tutors are there to help you every step of the way.  If you have any questions at all, they are always happy to help.


  • You can start the course at any time and study at your own pace.

  • Fit your studies around your own busy lifestyle - we provide full tutor support for all the time you are studying.

  • Study where you want to - online studies offer the flexibility for you to determine where and when you study.



This course is aimed at people who are interested in working with wood or would like to improve their practical woodworking skills. It can help you with:

  • Woodwork jobs around the home
  • Landscaping
  • Furniture making
  • Fencing
  • General handy work

It may also appeal to people who wish to get a taste of carpentry with a view to going on to further training, or those who are undergoing an apprenticeship and wish to study at the same time.



Enrolling is easy - just go to the box at the top right-hand side of this page.

You can Phone us now with any questions on (UK) 01384 442752 or (International) +44 (0) 1384 442752

or email us at

If you have any questions, or need help in choosing the right course for you, please do get in touch with us - connect with our expert tutors, use our FREE COURSE COUNSELLING SERVICE.

Courses can be started anytime from anywhere in the world!

Meet some of our academics

Alexander O'BrienBased in Ireland, trained in Architecture, Permaculture, Mechanical Engineering, Ceramics, Furniture Design/Construction, Sustainable building and Art,Craft and Design.
Mitchell SkillerAssoc. Dip. In Horticulture (UQ, Gatton), Cert IV in Training and Assessment.
John MasonWriter, Manager, Teacher and Businessman with over 40 years interenational experience covering Education, Publishing, Leisure Management, Education, and Horticulture. He has extensive experience both as a public servant, and as a small business owner. John is a well respected member of many professional associations, and author of over seventy books and of over two thousand magazine articles.
Jacinda ColeJacinda has expertise in psychology and horticulture. She holds a BSc (hons) in Psychology and a Masters in Psychology (Clinical) and also trained in psychoanalytic psychotherapy at the London Centre for Psychotherapy. In horticulture she has a Certificate in Garden Design and ran her own landscaping and garden design business for a number of years. Jacinda also has many years experience in course development and educational writing.

Check out our eBooks

Getting Work in a Modern WorldGetting Work in a Modern World is a must read; for students, parents, the unemployed, careers advisors or anyone interested in changing or forging a sustainable career. This is realistic guide to getting a job or starting out in business and understanding different industries. Topics covered in this book include 1/Career Myths, 2/ Finding Your Path, 3/ Understanding Employers, 4/ Preparing for a Job, 5/ Jobs to Consider: Looking to the Future, 6/ Information Technology, 7/ Business, Management and Sales, 8/ Health and Wellbeing, 9/ Horticulture, 10/ Wildlife and Environmental, 11/ Animal Care, 12/ Agriculture, 13/ Hospitality and Tourism, 14/ Media and 15/ Education.
Garden Design Part 1The Garden Design ebook part 1 is an essential handbook for students and landscape professionals. A foundation guide to garden design, this book provides stunning full illustrations to demonstrate tips and examples on garden design, functional uses and aesthetics. Some topics that are covered in this ebook include 1/ Introduction to Garden Design, 2/ Appropriateness of garden design, 3/ Creating an impact, 4/ Designing to a budget, 5/ Choosing plants, 6/ Using the garden, 7/ Where the garden meets the house, 8/ Making the winter garden more comfortable, 9/ Gardens for children, 10/The secure home and garden, 11/ Lighting a garden, 12/ Dealing with shade, 13/ Garden Art, 14/ Pots and planters, 15/ Colour in the garden, 16/ Applications for colour and 17/ Garden furniture.
Garden Design Part 2Part 2 of the Garden Design Series is an inspiring accompaniment to the first book, but works equally well in its own right. The Garden Design Part 2 ebook is ideal for students and landscaping professionals. Brimming with ideas and practical advice for designing a wide variety of different gardens. You will learn about different styles of gardens and how to create a style to suit a site or client. Topics covered in this ebook include 18/ (Continuing on from Garden Design 1) Surfacing ideas, 19/ Garden arches, pergolas & pavilions, 20/ Dealing with confined spaces, 21/ Water gardens, 22/ Using plants in the garden, 23/ Formal gardens, 24/ Natural gardens, 25/ Rainforest gardens, 26/ Coastal gardens, 27/ Cottage gardens, 28/ Late Victorian/Edwardian gardens, 29/ Oriental gardens, 30/ Mediterranean gardens, 31/ Mexican style, 32/ Minimalist landscape design and 33/ Eclectic gardens.
Getting Work in HorticultureExplore what it is like to work in horticulture; how diverse this industry is, how to get a start, and how to build a sustainable, long term and diverse career that keeps your options broad, so you can move from sector to sector as demand and fashion changes across your working life.