Woodworking has been my greatest passion from a very early age. I spent much of my childhood experimenting with woodworking techniques and always had a project on the go! It was these early years in which my passion for wood really took hold.
At 16 I embarked on a 5 year apprenticeship in cabinet making at Robert Thompson's in Kilburn. It was there I learnt to truly hone the traditional skills of furniture making, exclusively using air dried English oak. I began to develop a hunger for the craft and took further lessons in carving and marquetry, the process of cutting wood veneer into shapes and patterns. I began to experiment with other timbers and develop the more contemporary designs you see today. I now work directly with my clients, helping to transform their ideas into reality.
Wood working is an age old craft and the techniques I use today are indistinguishable from those used by the craftsmen of old. Whilst I use many modern methods in the construction of my furniture, I firmly believe that traditional methods should be used wherever possible. This ensures each piece is created with care whilst maintaining it's individuality and uniqueness.
Commissioning a piece
Creating a piece of bespoke furniture is all about the journey from idea to a three dimensional object. It’s very important that we get the initial stage right. Clients usually come to me with a particular idea or a space that they feel needs a little extra something. I will then arrange a consultation to discuss these ideas further, forming a brief and an initial sketch. Once my final design is submitted, I have a clear understanding of exactly what the client is looking for and of their individual tastes. After a design's approval, the exciting process of turning paper into reality can begin.
I begin by personally selecting the timber from the timber yard. This stage is vital as every piece of timber is unique, and determining the grain pattern and strength will reveal the best possible function of each board within the piece. I have developed an astute eye for selecting the best wood available for a project as the quality of timber reflects the outcome of the finished piece. As a designer-maker I have the unique opportunity to continually develop the design throughout the creative process. Every step of the way there will be new challenges and fresh inspiration.
Creating a unique piece of furniture requires a multitude of skills. From the age old tradition of carving a Green man or cutting a dovetail joint, to removing timber with millimeter precision on the overhead router. Each process is varied but is equally important to the aesthetic of the finished product. Many of the methods I use are steeped in history and tradition; indeed the contents of my tool chest would have been recognisable to craftsmen hundreds of years ago. The skills are, and always will be timeless; There is no substitute for the craftsman’s hands and eye.
Each piece is individually handcrafted in my workshop; every stage is thought about, every step carefully planned. I know the limitations of my materials and I know how to develop their full potential.
Every piece of furniture I produce is as important to me as it is to the client. As a symbol of this I place my mark upon each piece, in a discrete location, with my unique branded logo.
The final step of the journey is to coat the furniture with a finish of your choice and in a way that compliments the character of the timber. Completing a piece of furniture is a challenge in itself. The natural colour of oak may be changed by an overnight fume in Ammonia, and the modern range of dyes and stains available opens up a whole new range of possibilities.