Upholstery for beginners & returners

This is a two-day course on traditional upholstery.  Bring your own furniture to be re-upholstered under the supervision of a professional, Gary Phipps of Danbury Upholsterers, and his assistant Kealy.  Learn the tricks of the trade and save money at the same time!  There are only nine places, so early booking is advisable.

A dining chair, or a stool, or two drop-in seats would be the ideal subject for this course as, realistically, there is not time to do any more than this if you are a beginner.  If you do not have anything suitable, Gary can provide new frames to be upholstered, which have the advantage of being sound, but please let us know in advance.   Please don't bring anything that doesn't fit into the above categories, especially a button-back chair and seat, as it won't be suitable for an amateur, and the other students will not be happy with the amount of tutor-time you will need!

If you do bring your own furniture, please make sure that it is mended and completely wobble-free beforehand, or you won't be able to work on it, and will lose a day.  And it saves time to strip it of old upholstery, but bring it with you in a bag as Gary likes to re-use where possible. 

TIP:  if the woodwork doesn't look good, rub it over with genuine turpentine or white spirit:linseed oil  (50:50) and wipe off the muck carefully with a clean rag.  If you can still see the scratches, buy some Topp's Scratch Remover in the right colour from B&Q or similar, and apply that, but wipe off really well before finishing with a waxing (but don't use anything that contains silicone).  This needs to be done beforehand ideally so that you don't stain the new upholstery covers.

PLEASE ASK TO GO ON THE RESERVE LIST when the course is full as we often have last-minute unavoidable cancellations.  Ring Anne on 01787 229955 or email with your mobile number.

CANCELLATIONS:  Three weeks notice is the minimum to receive a refund.

VIP:  See the "What to Bring" section below.


Really impressed with everything; website informative and easily navigated, wonderful range of courses.  I'll be back!  Gary has perfect combination of technical knowledge and ability to communicate and encourage.  I'm thrilled with what I've achieved.

What a fantastic two days - could have stayed longer!  I really felt that the numbers were just right as we all had individual tuition but were also able to share each other's experience.

The upholstery course was wonderful - I had a great couple of days and would love to repeat the experience one day.  The setting and facilities and hosting were unique and very memorable.  Elaine M.

I would like to thank you for your excellent hosting of the course. Not only did I thoroughly enjoy the course, apart from learn and develop a great deal, I also thoroughly enjoyed the two days at Assington Mill. The facilities and food were superb and you, personally, did everything possible to ensure that we derived enormous pleasure from being there.

Great course and a great way to learn hands-on upholstery, with a like-minded group.

Absolutely wonderful course.  I loved the food, the variety of people and the hands-on, practical approach to the day.  Thank you.  Lorna

A brilliant two days - just couldn't be better in any way.  I shall come back to do more next year.  Lorraine B.

The best two days of the year!!  Penny

Extremely worthwhile and I learnt more than I expected.

A really enjoyable couple of days in a lovely setting, fabulous lunch and an excellent course!  Thank you.

Exceeded my expectations in all areas!  The only request I would make is to run the course at a weekend. (Almost nobody in S. England does this!)

My indecision re which chair to pursue and one needing glueing [meant that I] didn’t get as far in process as hoped.

I just wanted to say a huge Thank you for all your hard work which made our Upholstery course such fun. It was wonderful to spend two days learning such an intricate craft using traditional materials, in such beautiful surroundings. We were thoroughly spoiled with your fantastic lunches and the delicious morning and afternoon treats to go with our cups of tea were much appreciated. I will definitely be looking on the website and trying some of your tasty recipes.  Please also pass on my thanks[to Gary] for an excellent course, and for allowing Belinda and I to continue on after 4.30pm yesterday to get to a more finished state with our respective pieces.  Kay B.

An excellent two days, lovely lunch and very good tutor.  Gary was always very helpful and willing to explain.  Must be an exhausting two days for him as well as us the students.

Very friendly and inviting staff.  Very enjoyable day and lovely food!

I just wanted to email to thank you for a really lovely couple of days. I think Laura surprised herself and enjoyed the course far more than she thought she would;   she is a hard worker and,  as her mum, I was so pleased with what she achieved. I think we both learnt a lot and hope that we will have the chance to use the  skills in the future. Thank you for the little extras too - the use of the woodworm treatment, for allowing us to work late (I think we were last out on both days!)
and for the good advice on where to eat. Simone S.

Wonderful day (again).  Will be back, maybe for Badgers!


A huge thank you to you and Gary for such a rewarding, interesting and fun course.   The setting was great,
 Gary is a great tutor and the  absolutely wonderful food all combined to make it perfect. And am very pleased with my chair too!






Gary Phipps
Saturday, 10 March, 2018 to Sunday, 11 March, 2018

Times9.45 for 10.00 - 4.30


What to Bring

Materials and tools:  please either bring the following with you, or be prepared to hire or  buy them from Gary at cost on the day.   To buy online, try Axminster Tools.  If you don't have the right tools, and don't want to buy them, please try to borrow them beforehand because it won't be acceptable to use other students' equipment.

Small magnetic hammer, wooden mallett, tack removing chisel, sharp scissors/shears, nail pincers.

Material for top cover of your chair/stool (Gary does bring end-of-lines with him).

Warm clothing and apron or overalls.

Strong shoes, in case you tread on a tack or drop a hammer.

Cash to pay Gary for materials on the day.



Materials will be charged according to how much you use..  Please bring cash or a cheque book to pay Gary on the day.

You may wish to choose the seat covering material beforehand.  Gary always has very acceptable odds and ends which he brings with him.