I’m a cabinetmaker and woodworker making high quality bespoke furniture in London. I’m passionate about working with wood and enjoy making anything from an intricate wooden box to a suite of wardrobes or a timber building. I make everything myself at my workshop on a city farm in Islington.
Teaching woodwork is an important part of my work and I gain real satisfaction from enabling others to develop their skills in the craft. I run evening classes for adults, woodland weekends, corporate days and volunteer-based projects. My classes were highly commended by the Craft Skills Awards in 2013.
I like to work with solid woods, birch ply and veneered boards. I favour hardwoods from the UK, Europe and USA - oak, ash and black walnut are particular favourites. I also often use high quality softwoods in my work, like douglas fir and cedar. I prefer to avoid tropical hardwoods because they’re much better left in the rainforest - though of course they are fascinating for any timber enthusiast.
I tend to source materials from north London timber yards but will go further afield for something special. Working with reclaimed wood can be interesting because you never know what you’ll find in the reclamation yard. It can take some imagination to give new purpose to on old unloved piece of wood while making the most of any evidence of its previous life.
All my offcuts are burnt at home to keep us warm on our converted free-fall lifeboat, the Nautilus, which I gutted and fitted out myself. The wood shavings I produce go into the compost at The Castle Climbing Centre garden project in Hackney, so nothing is wasted.
Woodwork has been a lifelong passion since being given my first tiny workbench and real tools as an eight year old child. At school my interest in sculpture was nurtured by a patient headmaster and I went on to study a degree in Furniture Design and Craftsmanship at Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College in High Wycombe, which is the traditional furniture-making capital of the UK. On graduating I worked in the prestigious Lillyfee carving workshop, followed by Windmill furniture, one of the leading manufacturers of woodwork for interior fit-outs. I founded my own business in 2009.
I’m constantly reading to improve my knowledge of the craft. I’m particularly interested in Shaker craft techniques, midcentury cabinetmaking, Japanese joinery, green woodworking and bushcraft. I enjoy spoon-carving and have recently taken up scything. I also enjoy finding and refurbishing old and neglected tools such as chisels and planes, bringing them back to life and putting them to use again.