When customers get in touch with me, the first thing I do is try to get to know them a little bit- hopefully see their house or office or garden to get a better idea of their tastes and see where the piece will go, talk about what they like and don’t like, what’s important to them, what they want the piece to do and not to do, discover what sort of impact they want to make and what their coffee’s like……
I then set about designing some furniture that suits both their needs and their tastes and their budget. Discussion with the clients (and indeed the odd disagreement) is an essential part of this process as the final design will be a collaboration between me the maker -with my experience and skills- and the customer -with their needs and tastes. After all, it’s not all about me.
When I get the OK from the customer, I then go and select the chosen timber, whenever possible from my step-dad’s small ancient wood at Tattingstone but always from trusted local suppliers. I work mainly in high-quality, sustainably-produced, native hardwoods- ash, elm, oak, chestnut, cherry, maple and the like- and I will be able to tell the customer exactly where and when the tree was felled. I am no Luddite, however, and am not averse to using modern board materials where they offer an advantage.
Once the timber arrives at my workshop, the whole production process- the cutting up of the planks, the machining of the timber, the shaping, the jointing, the assembling, the fitting and the finishing – is done by me. The only thing I may farm out to local craftsmen friends of mine is any large-scale turning, carving or upholstery – not my favourite jobs!
To say my furniture is “hand-made” is slightly misleading in this age of thicknessing machines and hand-held routers (with electronic speed control), but suffice to say that it is all designed originally and then made individually to a very high standard using top quality materials. What I deliver to my customers is a unique piece of furniture that not only looks beautiful but will also do its job for generations to come.
It’s not often in modern life that you get a chance to have something made for you….. I mean truly designed and made just for you…… or, indeed, for someone you love. That, combined with the process of selecting a unique, original design, the knowing where the timber has come from, the visiting my workshop as the piece is coming together, all mean there is a real romance in commissioning a piece of furniture from someone like me.
I hope you like my work.