Using traditional tools and techniques for cleaving and shaping, green wood is worked along the grain for maximum strength and to retain the original character and natural curves of the tree. The pleasure gained from working in the woods right through to creating the end product is reflected in the living quality of each unique piece of furniture.
I make traditionally crafted rustic style furniture such as tables, chairs, benches and coffee tables as well as smaller items such as baskets, lamps, candlesticks and clocks. Garden products include benches, picnic tables, cleft fencing and arches. Other structures such as tool stores, shelters, sheds summer rooms and houses are also undertaken. Bespoke one-off projects are always welcome – please ask!
I also re-seat chairs using traditional English rush seating techniques.
Look at examples of my work in the Gallery.
Green woodworking is simply working with unseasoned (green) wood. The main reason and the advantage of this type of woodwork is the ease with which the wood can be worked. It enables the work to be done easily with hand tools, which stay sharp longer as the wood is softer at this stage.
The wood is shaped while it is still green and then left to part-season before finishing and construction. This reduces the risk of movement and splitting.
Wood is usually split rather than sawn so that it retains its natural strength. This is because the fibres in the wood are not broken. It allows the craftsman to feel the wood and work with the natural shape and grain, adds character and interest to the final product and a real sense that the product has been born from the woods.
The majority of the timber I use is low value wood from neglected local woodlands.
Other materials come as by-products from winter hedge laying (also known as pleaching). I use native hardwoods for my products, mainly Ash, Oak, Hazel and Sweet Chestnut, and occasionally some Wild Cherry or Blackthorn.
Different timbers have different properties and uses. Some wood is used green (or unseasoned) and some is left to part or fully season before use.
Most of the tools used in making my products are traditional hand tools. These include tools for splitting, clamping, shaping and drilling the wood.
A froe is used to split (or cleave) the wood, then a drawknife used in conjunction with the shaving horse for the main shaping of components. The finer finishes are then produced with a spokeshave, then cabinet scrapers, and finally fine abrasive paper- or sometimes dogfish skin!
Construction is once again using simple tools like the brace and bit to drill round mortises, an old wheelwright’s tool called a hollow auger produces a round tenon with a square shoulder, or the more modern versions (called rounders, rotary planes or tenoners) produce a radius shoulder or tapered shoulder. These tools can also produce a dowel for pegging larger roundwood joints as used on my outdoor furniture and bigger structures like my house.