The Mark of Difference - Why Me?

In a modern world dominated by consumables manufactured in vast quantities, I offer the alternative. A link to the methods of old, applied to contemporary designs, to produce a piece that will endure in design, functionality and build quality.

I know I can’t compete with the everyday prices of commercial furniture, but as an Accredited Studio Woodworker, I don't want to. My work is far more than that. With one of my pieces you will have something you will be forever proud to call your own, and hopefully the beginning of a long-lasting family heritage.

Here are some of the reasons why my work is different to what you can find in a store:

Every surface finished – Every surface, edge and corner of every component of my pieces is smoothed and polished. This not only reflects my attention to detail but ensures there are no unpleasant sharp surprises when you run your hand over the underneath or interior of your piece.

Hand cut dovetails – I enjoy cutting dovetails by hand. Demanding the utmost in concentration and discipline, I nevertheless find the process extremely cathartic. No less precise, my hand cut dovetails are immediately distinguishable from those cut by a machine by their finer pins and proportions.

Wood movement – Wood shrinks and expands with the seasons as sure as the sun rises and sets each day. I take this very seriously in the design stage and over-engineer my designs to ensure your piece will endure for generations. Tabletops, door panels, box lids etc are all built to be able to move with the seasons without cracking or warping. Drawer components, door frames and cabinet backs are all built from quartersawn stock which moves far less than flat sawn stock.

Customer input – I build what you want or need, for you. You are therefore an integral element of the design process. An initial consultation (preferably in my workshop as I believe you will get an immediate feel for me as a craftsman just by being in my workspace) will yield a first brief, from which I will work up some sketches, followed by scale drawings. Depending on the complexity of the piece, I may build a prototype or scale model. Once the design is locked in, production of the piece will begin. Not only will you be rewarded with a piece that is perfect for your requirements but also the knowledge that you had an integral role in its development. You will be welcome to visit the workshop at any stage of the build process, and I will endeavour to update you with images and words detailing my progress.

Colour matching – I go to great lengths to ensure consistency of grain and colour in my work. Where possible I build using pieces from the same tree. This is not always possible so I am known for spending hours searching through vast stacks of timber to find just the right pieces for your project. Sapwood, which is generally paler in colour is generally kept to the interior or rear of a piece.

Respect for the resource – It may seem surprising, but I believe many people seem to forget that wood comes from trees, which if not managed appropriately can be rapidly depleted to the detriment of all. Where possible I use timber certified through one of several respectable chain of custody organisations, such as the Forest Stewardship Council. As part of my design process I critically examine each board to both harvest the right grain patterns and maximize the yield. I waste almost nothing – small waste pieces are utilized for smaller items such as chopping boards and boxes. Even the shavings from my handplanes are used in the compost bin which feeds my vegetable garden and fruit trees! 

Application of grain – I use the grain variations in timber to best advantage when building my pieces. As a general rule, straight grained stock is used for door frames and legs and highly figured pieces are used to catch the eye with door panels, tabletops, accent details etc. Wide panels are glued up to use the grain to assist in making the joint line almost invisible, as if the panel was in fact one piece of wide timber.

Evidence of the hand – Aside from my dovetail joinery, run your hands over one of my pieces and you will be delightfully surprised to feel the most delicate remnants of my handtools. Sharp edges are rounded over with many light passes of a block plane or spokeshave, but just like snowflakes, no two edge profiles end up identical. The underside of a tabletop may still have infinitesimally small scallops from my smoothing plane. Of course the warm lustre and tactile sense of my handrubbed oil, shellac and wax finishes are also immediately evident.

Solid wood drawer bottoms and cabinet backs – To get around the problems of wood movement and to speed up production, commercial furniture generally has drawer bottoms and cabinet backs made of sheet goods such as plywood or hardboard. I practice traditional techniques and use solid timber for drawer bottoms and cabinet backs. Designed to be seen and admired, open one of my drawers or cabinets and you will immediately see yet another distinguishing feature of my work.

Exquisite details – I like to adorn my work with delicate details, such as hand-carved door handles, multi-coloured edge bandings, fine inlay lines of contrasting timber or precious metals, or even decorative fan shapes. I make my own custom cutters for many of these processes. Carved monograms can be added to personalize your piece, such as your initials on a box.

Works signed, dated and registered – For me, building a piece is always both a learning experience and a journey. I like to add a personal touch by signing and dating each piece.

Historical record of the build process – For larger pieces, I like to photograph the full process of the build, from the breaking down of larger slabs or boards to the joinery, assembly and polishing. I then document this process, with explanatory words, in a photo album that, along with a certificate of provenance, is presented to you upon delivery to serve as a timeless reminder, for you and your heirs, of the origins of your piece.