Reviews & Books

This page contains reviews of our products and courses as well as commercially available books which feature Ashem Craft's tools.

We welcome feedback from our customers, good or bad, as we are always looking to improve the products and services we offer. If you have any comments or feedback on your experience of our products or courses then please contact us and let us know what you think.

Click for reviews of...
Tools : 1, 2, 3, 4
Chairmaking Courses : 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
The USA Chairmaking Courses : 1, 2, 3
Our Chairmaking Video : 1, 2

or books featuring Our tools


I received my trapping plane yesterday and had an opportunity to us it today. Thank you for making such a quality tool. It works even better than my expectation. My buddy has had his for over 10 years and it still works beautiifully, even after 800 chairs.

Sam Lantz

My shop contains a large collection of both power and hand tools. The rounder that I have ordered will add to existing Ashem rounders that I already own. I prize these tools as highly as any tool I have. They are a true pleasure to work with and never fail to provide consistent, quality results. It has also been a treat to deal directly with real live people who are involved in producing and selling the product and doing it on a human scale.

R Jones
Tennessee, USA

The following is a card sent to Ashem Crafts from a customer in Dorset.

  ...I'm delighted with your machine and tools - my favourite tools in the workshop and definitely the best £800 I've spent!

All the best



Another card sent to Ashem Crafts.

  Dear Peter,

Thank you so much for the trapping plane. I tested it this morning and as with all your tools so far, its fantastic....

Many Thanks

J. Francis



Chairmaking Courses

"Many, many thanks for all your efforts on the recent course at Earnley Concourse near Chichester...I thoroughly enjoyed the course and wish to thank you both for all the thorough preparation that you put into preparing the materials,tools and machinery to ensure that we wanted for nothing. Together with the Earnley staff you created a first class workshop environment that was conducive to high quality furniture production....The accommodation was first rate and the food was outstanding. All the staff were anxious to make the venue as comfortable and welcoming as possible....I have no hesitation in unreservedly recommending the experience to anyone contemplating a similar course. I look forward to joining you on a future occasion"

From K.J. Canterbury 27th July 2009

Dear Peter

Just a quick note to say how much I enjoyed the course. Not just me of course, we all enjoyed it, and we all very much appreciated all the hard work you put into preparing the course for us.

It was a nice crowd - in fact you always have a nice crowd on your courses - and we all went away very satisfied with what we had achieved with your help. Many thanks to you and Patricia.

Kind Regards


Dear Peter,

Thank you so much for for such an interesting and instructive course. I know I thoroughly enjoyed it, as I am sure the others did. We all appreciated your and Patricia's patience and good humour and the long hours you put in to make the week such fun.


Hope you had an enjoyable trip up north.

Best wishes,


The following is a letter which appeared in the April 2005 isuue of Practical Woodworking & Routing (

The following letter was written to the Good Woodworking magazine Issue 82 (email
  Shaker Chairs

Last summer I had the good fortune to spot an advert in your excellent magazine for a course in Shaker chairmaking, run by Peter Hindle at Malvern Hills college. I enclose a photo of the finished chair which I was quite pleased to have completed in the time.

The course, which was run over four days, was fully 'hands on' with practically no wasted time. All eight students were able to commence work within 15 minutes of the course starting. The workshop was fully equipped, a bench and machine for each student and a wide range of rounding planes so that everyone could proceed at their own pace. All of the students finished the course with a completed chair needing only to be glued up and have the seat woven. Peter, who I am sure is well known to woodworkers in both this country and America, ran a well organised and interesting course, being on hand all the time to point us in the right direction if needed. The equipment was all in first class order and the materials were cut to size ready for rounding.

I found the course stimulating and exciting. Students came from all over the country and further afield, some professional, some amateurs, and some retirees seeking to fill their time with fulfilling activity. All were very friendly. I am planning to attend another similar course in the autumn, hopefully to make a continuous-bend Windsor chair. I can thoroughly recommend these same courses to any woodworker, skilled or otherwise.

Ken Boyle, Grantham

Ken Boyle made a chair of this style and quality in just four days


Letter of response to a chairmaking class.
  Dear Peter,

I felt I had to write to thank you for such an inspirational course at the college last week... On seeing a recent article in one of the woodworking magazines, I decided to book a course, not with any specific interest in chairmaking but to further my limited knowledge of woodworking in general. Not only did I achieve this objective, but I came away with an even wider interest. More chairmaking is definitely on the future agenda.

Most of all though, it was your own enthusiasm, expertise and enterprise that made the biggest impression on me. This together with being in such good company with others on the course, contributed to a most enjoyable week full of learning and practice.

Colin Wallace




The Shaker Village Chairmaking Course

  Dear Peter,

It was a great experience to have you and Patricia take me from a pile of sticks to a Shaker rocking chair....

Robert Malloy





Thank you for offering such a wonderful course.  How wonderful is evidenced in the fact that this 5'2", 104 lb, grandmother and complete novice successfully made a Shaker rocker!

Peter and Patricia Hindle are experts not only in their craft but also as educators.  I felt supervised but not smothered. Willing help was always at hand. The workshop was well equipped ( except for that vise Peter wants...) and organized.  I not only learned a great deal I also had fun and felt confident that I would leave with a beautiful chair from the first moment of class.

My more experienced class mates were awesome.  They shared their knowledge and love of their craft so graciously.  I am truly impressed at their patience and willingness to help.

Letter received.from Connie M. MacCaughelty, Tennessee after the 2005 chair course at Pleasant Hill.


Chairmaking at John Wilson's Home Shop - Charlotte, Michigan USA
  Dear Peter,

Again my thanks for an outstanding course on chair construction: So many things to thank you for - kind understanding, help at every turn, use of unparalleled facilities with more than adequate supply of whatever was needed to make the course a success. I'm sure all those attending felt it was. ....

 John W. Hayden MD




Chairmaking at John Wilson's Home Shop - Charlotte, Michigan USA

Country Chairmaking Video

Review sent to Ashem Crafts.

  ...I have spent a lot of time viewing your video on chair making. After watching the tape at least a dozen times, I think it is an excellent way to learn to build a chair using rounding planes. But also, there are a number of other lessons to be learned by those who are not very experienced in shop techniques. Your explanation of laying out the holes to be drilled in the seat was very informative as was the demonstration of the drilling the holes. I found the demonstration of the set-up and drilling of the legs and stretchers very interesting also. The method and tools used to scope the seat was interesting and (although I don't have the tools) seemed an excellent method. When you consider that the main purpose of the tape is to demonstrate how to build a chair using your tools and standard shop tools, I think you have accomplished the task very well. The technical information and the hands on demonstrations are excellent....

B. Phelps Lyons




The following is a letter which was written to the Good Woodworking magazine from a very satisfied user of Peter Hindle's 'Country Chairmaking' video.
  Chair inspiration

Earlier this year I cam across a video entitled Country Chairmaking by Peter Hindle of Ashem Crafts.

The information described it as 'a unique video for the beginner in chairmaking'. Realising that this was something quite different from my usual woodturning, I ordered the video.

Now, over the years I've read numerous books and magazine articles on chairmaking, but watching this video was a totally new, enlightening and inspirational experience.

On the video, Peter demonstrates all aspects of how to make a comb back Windsor chair from starting the project with square edged wood to final assemble of the chair.

After viewing the tape numerous times, I took the plunge and ordered a set of rounders and a turning head from Ashem Crafts.

Using Ash and Elm, as the video recommended, I successfully completed the chair without any further instruction.

I was so pleased with the finished result, in fact, that I proceeded with several other projects using my rotary planes.

As my chairmaking has progressed, I have returned to the video several times and incredibly I am still finding new and useful tips which I missed on previous viewings.

These are some of the chairs I have made so far, including my first comb back dining chair.

Caradog Williams


Child's rocker by Caradog Williams


The following is a letter from Mr. R. Whiting regarding the Ashem Crafts Country Chair Making Video.

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Hindle,

Earlier this year I sent for your Video "Country Chair Making" it came with a Drawing for a Windsor Carver Comb back Arm Chair drawn by a Mr. Brian Smith.

I decided to make this chair and although I have done a lot of woodwork, I have never before made a chair with all the angles involved.

I want to thank you for an excellent video and I want to thank Mr. Smith for a perfect drawing. I followed all the dimensions and angles and in the end everything fitted together perfectly.

I now have a very nice chair which I made with an elm seat and oak for all the rest.

Best wishes for the New Year,

Bob Whiting


Books which feature Ashem Crafts Rotary Planes

Living Wood by Mike Abbot - Published 2004, publishers - Living Wood Books.

Country Chairmaking by Jack Hill - First published 1993/2nd edition 1998, publishers - David & Charles

Green Woodwork by Mike Abbott - Published 1989, publishers - Guild of Master Craftsmen pub. Ltd.

Making Family Heirlooms by Jack Hill - First published 1985/2nd edition 1988, publishers - David & Charles

Making Shaker Furniture by Barry Jackson - Published 1990, publishers - Guild of Master Craftsmen Pub. Ltd

Woodturning methods by Mike Darlow - First published 1999, publishers - Stobart Davies Ltd.