Intensive Course (Option 3) – Monday, 27th July 2020 @ 10h00

Tuesday/Thursday daytime (Option 1) -Tuesday, 4th August 2020

Saturday Beginners’ Course (Option 2) – 15th August 2020 @ 13h15

Wednesday Evening Beginners’ Course (Option 4) – 19th August 2020 @ 18h00


Next course starts Monday, 19th August 2020

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Online courses now available!

Learn woodwork skills from the comfort of your own home.

Woodwork workshop for hire.

Based in Cape Town. Fully equipped. Supervision available.

Router Use One Day Courses

Level 1 and Level 2

Modern Wood Jointing Courses

Level 1 and Level 2


Students from all over South Africa and the world!



The three Foundation in Woodwork courses are also offered in the form of the Intensive Course, when all fifteen lessons are completed over six days, from a Monday to the Saturday immediately following. This Course has proved to be very popular with students from all over South Africa, and overseas. 

Based in Cape Town, The Mercury School of Woodwork offers you the opportunity to rediscover the age-old craft of woodwork. Experience the joy and simplicity of working with your hands, along with the satisfaction of learning a useful skill. Whether you are a complete novice or a seasoned woodworker wanting to brush up on technique, you’ll find the course that suits you. Our youngest students were at Grade 8 level, and the oldest at 72 years!

The school was established in 2006 with the aim of providing students with the opportunity to gain knowledge of woodwork techniques, materials, machinery and finishes in a friendly, fun and safe environment. Our small classes ensure the perfect balance between shared learning and individual attention.

We currently offer Beginners’, Intermediate and Advanced courses in our Foundation in Woodwork phase.


If you are looking for course information click here. Alternatively, send us a message and we will get in touch!


Our Intensive Course

All three of our Foundation in Woodwork courses are also offered by way of our Intensive Course. In this instance, all fifteen lessons of the Foundation courses are completed over five days, from a Monday to the Friday immediately following. This Course has been attended by students from all over South Africa, as well as those from outside the country.


This course is designed for those who either know little (or nothing) about woodwork, and those who might have forgotten what they did know. We teach students to make simple items to illustrate basic concepts in woodwork, while keeping it enjoyable and fun. By the end of the five-lesson course, you will have a solid understanding of the concept of working with a drawing and making something of it. Along the way, you will be introduced to all the hand tools you need to get going. The emphasis is almost entirely on hand tools (with the exception of powered drills). We demonstrate all the tools and students get to practice using them in class.

Click here for the full syllabus: Beginners


This course caters for students who have completed the beginners course or those with some background in woodwork. The Intermediate course will further your skills and knowledge of woodwork technicalities such as grain direction, sanding, fastening systems (screws, nails, wall plugs, etc) and drill bits. Lessons include demonstrations and discussions on hand power tools such as routers, sanding machines, jig saws, portable circular saws, etc. You’ll also be taught about standing power tools like the table saw, radial arm saw, surfacer, band saw, scroll saw, column drill, chisel morticer.

Click here for the full syllabus: Intermediate


By now, you’ll be ready to concentrate on joint-making, in particular, mortise and tenon, dowel joints, pocket-hole joinery, biscuit joinery, butt and half lap joints and edge-joining of solid timber. Advanced students will have enough expertise to make anything from picture frames to furniture, shelving and even decking. You can arrange private classes with one of the teachers at the school for assistance on a particular project you have in mind.



Click here for the full syllabus: Advanced     


Extra Courses covering the subjects of Router Use, Pocket Hole Joinery, Biscuit Wafer Joinery, Mortise and Tenon Joints and Door Hanging can be arranged on request, subject to time availability.


  • Beginners, Intermediate & Advanced: R1600-00 per course;
  • Intensive Course: R4800-00;
  • Router Use Levels #1 & #2, Pocket Hole Joinery, Biscuit Wafer Joinery, Mortise & Tenon Joints – R1700-00 each;
  • Cupboard Building and Installation Course: R7800-00.

All the above include all materials needed, and the use of any equipment required.

  • Door Hanging: R1800-00 plus materials (door frame, hollow core door, mortise lock, hinges & handles needed).

Basic hand tool kit for woodwork:

Try square 300mm
Combination square 300mm
Sliding Bevel
Tape Measure 5,0m
Steel Rule 500mm
Steel Rule 150mm
Handsaw 660mm – General Purpose (9tpi)
Tenon Saw (Backsaw) 250mm (11-14tpi)
Claw hammer (fibre glass shaft)
Panel Pin Hammer
Chisel 6,0mm (1/4”)  (Bevel)
Chisel 18,0mm (3/4”) (Bevel)
Chisel mallet (+/- 500g)
Carpenter’s pencil
HB pencil
No 4 plane (Jack Plane 350-380 mm long)
#2 posidriv screwdriver
Carpenter’s pincers
Marking Gauge (cutting gauge)
Safety glasses
Dust mask
  • All three of our Foundation in Woodwork Courses (Beginners’, Intermediate & Advanced) comprise of five lessons of about two-hour duration each.
  • Students can start at any of these three levels, depending on your previous experience with woodwork.
  • After a level is completed, there is no obligation to carry on with the others not yet done.
  • All classes are conducted at our workshop in Paarden Eiland, Cape Town.
  • We start with the Beginners’, then go on to the Intermediate & Advanced.

The following dates are the starting dates for these three different options:

OPTION 1: Weekday classes are held on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, and all fifteen lessons of the Foundation are completed in seven visits to the studio.Each of these classes, which last about four hours, as a “double lesson” is done on each day (10h00 – 14h00.)

OPTION 2: Classes are held on a Saturday. All three levels are offered on each Saturday. This means that each level is completed over five weeks. The time for Beginners’ is at 13h15. The time for Intermediate is 11h00 and the Advanced at 09h00.

OPTION 3: Classes for The Intensive Course are completed over 5 days from a Monday to Friday of the same week. All fifteen lessons of the Foundation in Woodwork (Beginners’, Intermediate & Advanced) are completed.

OPTION 4: Classes for Beginners are completed on a weekly basis on Wednesday evenings. Times are from 18h00 till 20h00.


Custom woodwork & Timber decks

Tables and desks

Food serving boards

Pastry rolling pins & Wood decor items


“I chose the Mercury School of Woodwork because I had so much things that I wanted to build and lacked the knowledge and had no idea where to start. Buster’s comprehensive courses enabled me to find my feet, and his amazing after-course care and generosity with advice helped me to realize every project I wanted to tackle. I would highly recommend the courses to anyone, even if you just want to a know a bit more about DIY to someone launching themselves into a new carpentry career – just do it!”

“I knew I wanted to learn more about woodwork, but had no idea where to start. After completing Buster’s Beginner, Intermediate and Advance course I am excited about all the possibilities that lies in front of me. I met so many people from all walks of life. Some were about to retire, some are just starting out in their new careers, but all of us were inspired and in awe of the knowledge and experiences shared by Buster. I now have the confidence to start creating because I now not only know which tools to use but also where to go for advice and help.”

“You don’t come across someone like Buster Tinsley every day. I’ve attended many of his woodworking classes over the years and am still astounded by the man’s carpentry skills and know how. But not only that – he shares this seemingly endless knowledge so freely, almost as if he himself doesn’t realize how valuable a mentor he is. There’s not a single tool in my workshop that I didn’t first discuss with him before buying – he’s advice is rock solid. And I’ve asked MANY a stupid question, which has always been answered with a kind patience. Go to Buster’s, you will not regret it. I’m very thankful for having this gentleman as my “uncle in the carpentry business”!

“With Buster Tinsley’s passion for the subject, and his wealth of knowledge, you cant go wrong by attending these courses. Not only does Buster divulge a wealth of useful tips and tricks, he also demonstrates the practical applications of woodwork skills and supervises projects that allows you to put to practice the skill sets you have learned. I would recommend these courses to anyone with an interest in working with their hands.”

“Buster is a brave man – he not only has let me into his workshop but has let me play with power tools! The school has given me a new creative outlet while making sure I work properly and safely.”

“Buster Tinsley is the best. I did the courses a couple of years ago and have been doing woodworking projects ever since. A truly enriching experience. Yay for the Mercury School of Woodwork.”