“Where the spirit does not work with the hand there is no art”. Leonardo da Vinci
Hand crafted furniture made in Surrey
I make simple, hand crafted furniture here in Surrey. Not having access to large scale workshop equipment I keep designs simple, concentrating on obtaining naturally interesting timbers much of which is reclaimed or upcycled from existing furniture. I mostly work in English oak, some of which is several hundred years old. I also can make simple fitted shelving units and desks.
I started making furniture for myself and small pieces as presents for customers. I am able to make footstools, occasional tables, coffee tables, dining tables, live edge tables, shelves and stands either finished naturally in oil, shellac and wax or any finish of your choice. I like to seek out the most interesting timbers like the unstained, naturally finished brown tiger oak hallway shoe stool below shaped to fit an exact area which somehow manages to display quarter grain medullary rays, quilting, burrs and tiger figure all in the same piece. The front edge reminded me of clouds over Jupiter.
The timber being quite thin and needing to take the weight of someone sitting on it to put on their shoes I decided to strengthen the top by adding a bowtie to stabilise the large shake (crack) which also adds interest and gives me an excuse to use my antique Sheffield chisels which date from the 1930s.
After sanding to P500 grit finishing was by hand with over twenty coats of tung oil followed by a good waxing with beeswax and carnauba. Oiling like this takes several weeks as only a few coats can be applied each day but the finish feels like silk.
Seasoned air dried English oak shelves
After thirty to forty years air drying, this local Surrey timber was well seasoned. Dark stained and French polished with 4lb button shellac and waxed with carnauba and beeswax to a half grain finish to match the three hundred year old TV stand.
Somehow an elm board managed to cuckoo its way into the batch, but when you are dealing with rough sawn timber that has been sitting outside for over thirty years it is not always until after several hours of planing and sanding preparation that you find out exactly what you have. Seeing as elm and oak were often used interchangeably in old English country cottages and stain very similarly we decided to proceed with the imposter.
Three hundred year old TV stand
The English oak for the TV stand was even more well seasoned, stained and French polished to match the shelves.
Quilted olive ash upcycled table with luminous epoxy infills
I found this table on ebay with shonky faux country style legs which I removed as they were too damaged to repair. I could see an amazing piece of wood in the pictures which was sold as oak, only after sanding and seeing the spalting did I discover it was in fact an amazingly figured piece of ash.
Instead of filling the holes for the old legs with plain ash, seeing as I did not have any crazy quilted, spalted olive ash lying around I decided to make a feature of them by filling them with luminous epoxy and turning them into four luminous carp yin and yang symbols.
Over twenty coats of hand rubbed tung oil were applied to leave a beautifully silky and durable surface.
Book matched olive ash desk
This is another item I won on ebay, but I won it so cheaply when I picked it up I ended up chatting to the original maker, an old timer, for several hours about his green oak building business and paid him several times what I won the item for. It was the first item as furniture he made and I assured him it would be restored and sent to a good home. Another great find and another beautiful recycled piece of timber.
To bring out the depth and contrast in the quilts I pre stained the table with a black water stain and resanded the top, this also had the effect of reducing the grain raising when I stained it a second time with a traditional van dyke walnut brown water stain with a little black. After a couple of coats of shellac the top was oiled several times and then waxed for a beautiful soft satin matt sheen.