About the Mercury School of Woodwork
Courses are currently conducted by F R (Buster) Tinsley, a UCT law graduate who has found woodwork to be his real passion, with over 40 years background in the area, as well as a Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) assessment done. His wife, Alice Tinsley, a primary school teacher, is also passionate about woodwork. She has an extremely sharp eye for good work and has been involved from the start.
Listen to Buster’s interview on Cape Talk Radio: CLICK HERE
Brendan Tinsley (Buster & Alice’ older son)
Brendan is a hotel school graduate who is (apart from manufacturing in wood and undertaking woodwork contract projects) very involved in woodturning. Because of his hospitality background, he is also building up a portfolio of related wood products, concentrating on innovative designs. He was in and around his father’s workshop from the time he learned to walk, and shares a passion for woodwork. He assists with classes and undertakes all types of Contract and Manufacturing woodwork.
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.
- The course fees for all three levels in the Foundation in Woodwork phase are currently R1 500-00 per course, and this includes all materials.
Basic hand tool kit for woodwork:
|Try square 300mm
Combination square 300mm
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)
No 4 plane (Jack Plane 350-380 mm long)
#2 posidriv screwdriver
Marking Gauge (cutting gauge)
- 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.