Fine furniture maker, furniture making training courses, bespoke furniture, cabinetmaking training

40wk Student Profiles

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Tim

(40 Week Furniture & Cabinetmaking Course)
Tim (early 50’s) was originally a professional photographer. His aim was always to set up on his own and develop a range of bespoke furniture well beyond official retirement age! He is currently converting an old-peoples home in Salisbury back into a family house, and intends to use the open-plan attic as a small workshop. My recollection of Tim is of him patiently making, not phased by the challenges of furnituremaking but just quietly getting on with.
(See Tim’s website, his testimonial and album of his time in the workshop.)

 
 

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Mary

(40 Week Furniture & Cabinetmaking Course)
Mary (early 40´s) first discovered an interest in woodwork by helping her father convert a loft, and eventually left her career in accountancy to train as a furnituremaker – an entirely justifiable decision as her standard of work was consistently high. She remained in my workshop for a further year to work on a number of complex commissions under my supervision, before moving to share workshop space with another ex-student.
(See Mary’s website, her testimonial and album of her time in the workshop.)

 

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Nick

(40 Week Furniture & Cabinetmaking Course)
Nick (early 30’s) is the complete engineer – thoughtful, tidy, precise, always finding intelligent solutions to every challenge. He took a one-year sabbatical from his career as a design-engineer in the City of London, to which – with a growing family – he returned after the course. With plans to eventually move to a quiet part of Essex, Nick will find time outside of ‘work’ to continue his passion for making fine furniture, with a longer-term aim of opening his own workshop.
(See Nick’s testimonial and album of his time in the workshop.)

 
 

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Tony

(40 Week Furniture & Cabinetmaking Course)
Tony (mid-60s) is in the final stages of his course. Having progressed from an engineering degree to a long technical and managerial career with ICI, then to a later career in IT security, Tony started his training two weeks after formal retirement. A hugely friendly and helpful presence in the workshop, Tony quickly grasped the essence of precision needed and displayed a clarity of thinking and neatness of making. Despite his mature years (and a long weekly commute back up North to his wife), he not only easily managed the full range of manual work and long hours involved, but also more than met the set timescales in designing and making his portfolio pieces.
(See Tony’s testimonial and album of his time in the workshop.)

 
 

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Peter

(40 Week Furniture & Cabinetmaking Course)
Peter (early 50’s), having retired after 32 years in the police service, thoroughly enjoyed the course from day one. Although possessing plenty of DIY and home carpentry experience, he found the skills and design learning on the course to be a ‘quantum leap’ up from anything he could have learnt on his own. He now operates from a small workshop attached to his cottage, and intends to grow his ‘retirement’ as a one-man designer-maker of the most elegant fine bespoke furniture.
(See Peter’s website, and album of his time in the workshop.)

 
 

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Russ

(40 Week Furniture & Cabinetmaking Course)
Russ (early-40s) seriously needed a change in direction! A creative all his life, first as a graphic-designer then as a senior web-designer/team-manager for a rather well-known American internet-retailer, Russ needed to get out of the corporate world and into a proper workshop. By the course end, his transformation back into a sane person – let alone the releasing of his potential as an innovative designer-maker – was complete. Now working out of the largest furniture-making shed he could build in his back garden without needing planning permission, while simultaneously halving his wife’s horticultural responsibilities, Russ is already up and away working for his own clients.
(See Russ’s website, testimonial and album of his time in the workshop.)

 
 

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Sandra

(40 Week Furniture & Cabinetmaking Course)
Aside from having brought up a family alongside a full career as a midwife, Sandy had no prior woodworking experience before deciding to kick-start her ‘retirement’ by re-training to become a furniture and cabinetmaker. Although new skills take a little longer to learn the older a student is, there was no difference whatever in the quality of her finished work compared to any of my other trainees. She constantly surprised herself – let alone her husband and grown-up sons! – with her achievements.
(See Sandy’s album of her time in the workshop.)

 
 

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Ben

(40 Week Furniture & Cabinetmaking Course)
Ben (early-20s) came to train properly as a maker having had the misfortune of spending a wasted year at a once well-regarded furniture-making college – and he wasn’t the first student of mine to have done so! Having also some previous experience of commercial kitchen-fitting, Ben was a confident and friendly person to have in the workshop. Being young with very limited financial resources, he was able to save considerably by buying used tools for the fraction of the cost of new equipment, which he however stripped-down and tuned-up to the high standard needed for his work. He then spent the last part of his course working for me (I was prototyping a new chair design and making a small but complex exhibition cabinet) in return for a reduction in course fees. He’s now been offered a job at an established furniture-making company.
(See Ben’s album of his time in the workshop.)

 
 

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Anna

(40 Week Furniture & Cabinetmaking Course)
Anna (late 20’s) wasn’t quite a stranger to designing and making furniture. Having studied furniture and product design to degree level, she worked for several years as a draughtsman-designer in both interior design and the metal fabrication industry. With this background, as well as an innate artistic talent, I was delighted with the refreshingly creative design ideas she produced. Anna has now joined a shared workshop complex in Scotland, complete with sawmill, gallery-space and an established network of local architects and interior designers with whom to work.
(See Anna’s album of her time in the workshop.)

 
 

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Regis

(40 Week Furniture & Cabinetmaking Course)
Regis (early-50s), a highly-skilled designer in electronics-engineering, took up the offer of a redundancy package to change his life. As with other students from technical backgrounds, his approach to making and organising his workflows was excellent from the outset. His beautiful portfolio piece – a sizeable cabinet in cherry and maple in the ‘French Style’ – wasn’t finally completed within the course duration – as he allowed himself the distraction of getting married, refurbishing both his old house for rental and their new house for living in, while also converting and equipping his new garage as the ideal small workshop.
(See Regis’s album of his time in the workshop.)

 
 

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Gavin

(40 Week Furniture & Cabinetmaking Course)
Before retraining as a furniture-maker Gavin (early 30´s) had been both a physics teacher and a research scientist – a background which gave rise to some pretty ‘adventurous’ design concepts! Although I managed to talk him out of some overly-complex ideas for his cabinet (so it could actually be made within the course timescale!), his chair design involved very successful curved laminating. Gavin is now running his own small workshop, which he shares with another ex-student, and is no doubt pushing the boundaries of what is designable!
(See Gavin’s website, and album of his time in the workshop.)

 
 

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Dave

(40 Week Furniture & Cabinetmaking Course)
Dave (early-30s) is a current student. Having previously worked in IT but with no previous craft experience, he has already revealed a fuss-free confidence and high standard of care in his making. His tea- and coffee-making skills are superb (this is of course extremely important in all students who partake in the running rota) and – of similar importance – I’m enjoying teaching him!
(See Dave’s album of his time in the workshop.)

 
 
 

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Edward

(40 Week Furniture & Cabinetmaking Course)
Edward (late-30s) is a current student. Having originally done a carpentry apprenticeship with an established firm of builders in the local area, Edward went on to gain a degree in quantity surveying, then spent over a decade as a project-manager on specialist construction work. Whilst I’d normally expect running-mates on any given course to proceed at a similar rate, with his experience and innate instincts for manual work Edward has naturally shot ahead – and is furthermore showing signs of ambitious, creative design ideas.
(See Edward’s album of his time in the workshop.)

 
 

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Bryony

(40 Week Furniture & Cabinetmaking Course)
Bryony (late-20s), had studied engineering at Oxford then worked first for Sony as a games software engineer, later in IT for Goldman Sachs before giving it all up and finally doing what she really needed to do. With strong creative instincts in both hard and soft materials (ie textiles as well as wood), I was most impressed with her determination to master the craft and proceed to set up a workshop of her own immediately on leaving the course.

 
 

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Ian

(40 Week Furniture & Cabinetmaking Course)
Ian (mid-60s), had a varied career, first as a college lecturer and later in IT support for the Thames Valley Police. As with other students I’ve trained of the older generation, his enthusiasm – and the self-knowledge that comes with age – easily overcame the slower pace I might have first anticipated and he completed a successful course.

 
 
 

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Rob

(40 Week Furniture & Cabinetmaking Course)
Rob (early 40´s) had worked in the food industry before deciding on a career-change. During his training course he designed and made a cabinet commission for his own client, and on leaving he set up a small – and very tidy – workshop equiping it with used machinery. Alongside his own work, Rob has also made high-quality pieces for me on a subcontract basis, including tables, chairs and cabinets, and has recently begun to restore clock cabinets for the antiques trade.

 
 

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Andy

40 Week Furniture & Cabinetmaking Course)
Andy (late 20´s) came from a general building and carpentry background. He significantly upgraded the accuracy of his making and acquired a wide range of new skills on the course. The traditional craftsmanship he learnt on my course enabled him to work on high-quality projects incorporating fitted cabinetwork and hand-made kitchens – as well as being able to make fine freestanding furniture.