A video diary of our 5-day steam bending masterclass.

Make your own ‘Sussex Mirror’ course

Recently we had the pleasure of collaborating with some fabulous participants on one of our 5-day steam bending masterclasses. Edward and his team worked alongside the students as they made their own Sussex Mirror. Although steam bending is a substantial part of the project, many other skills were also covered in depth, including timber preparation, precision sanding and shaping, and learning how to sharpen hand-tools.

We documented each day and have highlighted the main steps and activities in the series of short videos below.

Steam bending masterclass day 1:

Timber Selection

Timber Preparation

Demonstrations and training using various machines, and machining timber in preparation for steam bending on day two!

Tool Sharpening

Tool sharpening demonstrations and training to round the day off!

Steam bending masterclass day 2:

Learning the science and art of steam bending

Discussing the timings, process, and the jig in preparation for steam bending oak and ash timbers.

Steam bending

Our students in action and learning fast!

Removal from jig

Removing the timber from the jig 20 minutes after steam bending to allow the timber to cool. After removal, fixing in timber in the drying rack before starting the entire process again. This intense activity was followed by Edward’s tasty home-made gourmet lunch!

The hand-held CNC Shaper tool

In contrast to traditional steam bending the students were taught how to use the Shaper hand-held CNC router, used to cut out the plywood back panels for the mirrors and templates.

Day 3

The main shaping and making day

Learning to use the precision wide belt sander to perfectly flatten the mirror.


Marking up, learning to use the domino jointer and pillar drill, and cutting off the internal excess timber.

Shaping continued…
Learning to use the hand-held router to cut the groove for the mirror, curve and shape the straight edges and inside circular edge.

Shaping Up!

Chiselling and spoke shaving.

Day 4

Fine tuning

Learning how to hand cut wedges for securing the pegs, sanding with precision, and oiling. followed by a pint down the pub!

Day 5.

The final day

De-nibbing and sanding the grain lightly to make the mirror silky smooth, gluing and wedging the pegs the applying the final coat of oil like a pro. As part of the final assembly bonding the mirror to the back panel. The mirrors are now complete!

We have had some great feedback from our students and the whole team had a thoroughly enjoyable week. If you would like to find out more, or would like to ask us any further questions about our courses, please feel free to give us a call on 01243 696606 or contact us via our form.

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