July and August 2018 – a Wardrobe, a Chest of Drawers, and some Wee Things

The last couple of months I have been busy in my Edinburgh workshop making a door, a wardrobe, boxes, lamps, and a chest of drawers.

I made a matching wardrobe and chest of drawers for some folk in Milngavie – here they are completed._N7A2256

All the wood came from two different Scottish oak trees, one for the frames and another for the door panels and drawer fronts. I finished them with a hard-wearing oil which is great at bringing out the warm rich colours in oak.

In other news, I made a door to replace one that had been removed in the 1920s from an old house in Galashiels. It is an exact copy of the existing doors right down to the placement of the door handle and the size of the hinges.

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To even things out I made a window for a flat in Leith, refurbished some sash-and-case windows, and put in some panelling. I’ll be making fitted furniture in birch ply for this flat as well.

I have started regularly exhibiting at Stockbridge market in Edinburgh, I’m there on the second Sunday of each month. I’ve been working on new keepsake boxes, jewellery boxes and lamps which I will have with me when I’m next there on the 14th of October.

I’m excited about the projects I will be completing in the next two months, they include an elm console table and matching mirror for a flat in the Edinburgh New Town, a stationery box in oak and elm and a keepsake box with secret compartments.

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I have also been on my summer holidays, I spent a week in Kishorn with friends and my dog walking around Applecross and Torridon. I’m looking forward to seeing the highland autumn colours in the next few months.

 

June 2018 – From the Garden to Venice and Pakistan

This month I’ve been doing a few smaller jobs and making boxes to exhibit at the Scone Game Fair this weekend. I’ve also been starting a large standalone wardrobe and matching chest of drawers for some customers in Milngavie.

I mounted a Venetian ceramic bust onto burr oak for a customer in Glasgow, shortened a Pakistani table to fit an Edinburgh customer’s garden, and made an allotment bench for two keen vegetable-growers.

The table was an interesting piece of work. The customer had bought the ornate carved garden table while living in Pakistan, and when she moved to Edinburgh she managed to bring it with her. The only problem was that the table was huge – 3m long – and was too large for the garden. So my job was to shorten it and touch it up after its travels.

I completely dismantled the table, shortened the curtain, glued all the legs back together, and shortened the table top, removing two sections so that I could keep the three carved sections. Once back together I sanded the table back to the bare wood (as the top layer had been silvered) and oiled it to bring out the colour of the natural wood and to help it survive the Scottish weather. Here are some before-and-after photos.

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I’m exhibiting lamps and boxes at the Scone Game Fair this year, which I’m very much looking forward to – here are some photos of the box-making process:

 


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I’ve also been starting work on a standalone wardrobe and chest of drawers for some customers in Milngavie. This will be most of my work in July, a lovely job and I found some perfect wood for it at Scottish Wood in Dunfermline (a great place to find beautiful pieces of kiln-dried hardwood).

To finish off, a bonus-picture of Gracchus and the 120cm-high gate I made to contain him that he can apparently easily jump.

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May 2018 – Craft Fairs and a Ladder

This month I’ve been hitting the craft fairs selling lamps and chopping boards. It’s been great meeting folk and other makers, and getting to travel around a bit. Gracchus got to try out the beginning of the West Highland Way in Milngavie, and here’s my stall:

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I’ve been to the makers market in Milngavie, and the Urban Market in Glasgow, and coming up are the West End Makers Market in Glasgow and the Scone Game Fair

The rest of the time I’ve been in Edinburgh making a very tall ladder from Douglas Fir. It now leads up to a high bed in Aboyne, Aberdeenshire. Here’s my jig for routing the joints for the treads, and a picture of roughing out the curved hand-rails.

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And here’s the ladder getting nearer completion and Gracchus and Jess appreciating it.

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And the finished ladder…_N7A7592

 

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January to March 2018

Memorial Bench

I was commissioned to design and make this memorial bench for the Woodend Barn Arts Centre in Banchory, Aberdeenshire. It’s made of Scottish oak and treated with teak oil. I designed it in an angular way to contrast with the landscape around Woodend Barn, and made the legs form part of the seat to give a sense of continuity. I cut, dimensioned, joined, assembled and oiled it in early January in my workshop at Newbattle Abbey. I’ll probably always associate this bench with watching the mad antics of my dog in the snow over too many cups of coffee with my co-workers.

 

Yew Lamp

This lamp was commissioned by an Edinburgh customer to match a lamp made by the owner’s grandparent so there was a pair to go on each side of a bed. It is made of Yew which darkens over time when exposed to sunlight, which is why there is such a difference in colour between the lamps.

Hand-turned Lamps

These lamps were hand-turned meaning that each one is unique. I used oak and elm and chose the timber for its colour and figuring which really comes to life when it is lit.  Some of the lamps have one or more circular inlays in the base. This is a technique I developed and as far as I know is unique to my work. I’m selling these throughout the year at makers’ fairs.

 

Bathroom Cabinet

I made this wall-mounted cabinet from Scottish elm and Scottish oak for the shelves and back. The panels on the door are book matched so they are a mirror image of one another – this is one of my favourite techniques in cabinetmaking.  The dark figuring on the door panels is called crotch wood and is formed where the tree branches. This wood is very dense and can have a lot of depth and colour.

 

Mirror

I made this mirror from Scottish elm. The top right corner is book matched meaning there is a line of symmetry along the join.

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July to December 2017

Platform Bed and Bookshelf Ladder

I made this bed and the bookshelf stairs to create more space in a small bedroom in Leith.  The sleeping platform is fixed in to the walls so there is no need for supporting posts. The man who sleeps in the bed says he will keep his fiction on the stairs so that he can climb up a stairway of stories to go to sleep.

Windowsill Desk

This desk is made from oak and designed as an unintrusive working space.

Staircase Restoration

These stairs are in a house in the colonies in Edinburgh. They were originally painted and carpeted so needed to be sanded back to the bare wood and then oiled with a high solids protective oil.

Staircase Repair

These stairs were old and hadn’t been fitted well in the first place, so they made a terrible squeaking noise whenever anyone went near them. I added strengthening batons and used expanding glue to hold the stairs solidly together. They are now almost silent.

Desk with Leather Insert

This desk was commissioned by an academic living in Edinburgh. The leather insert was form an old family desk that was beyond repair. The wood I used for the desk is Scottish oak with beautiful figure and variation of colour. The draw front is made of book matched boards meaning that one side is a mirror image of the other. my client was very pleased with the fusion of traditional and modern styles.

 

Coffee Table

I made this coffee table top from reclaimed pitch pine take from an 18th century manse in Aberdeenshire. It is oiled which brings out the colour in redder and darker woods.

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Dining table

This 10-seat dining table was commissioned for a newly built house in Aboyne, Aberdeenshire. After visiting to see the house and discuss options I designed and made this dining table from Scottish elm. The whole table is made from the same tree which ensures that the colour of the wood is consistent over the whole table. There are few right angles in the design which made it a challenge to make.

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Bathroom Cabinet

This was commissioned by Hugh Parsons, a designer based in Edinburgh. The cupboard is made of lacquered birch ply with marquetry on the door front and polished brass pivot hinges.

 

 

Kitchen Cupboard

This walk-in cupboard in a tenement in Portobello was wasted space. I coordinated plastering and installed fitted drawers and shelving up to the ceiling to create as much storage space as possible.

 

Elm Letter Box

The corner joints are hand cut dovetails that are not cut flush with the sides of the box, this really brings attention to this beautiful jointing method. The handle on the lid is formed by following the grain of the wood.

 

Douglas Fir Bed

This bed was commissioned for a house in Peebles. It is made with Douglas fir. It has a slanted headboard for sitting up comfortably in bed and a sprung mattress base.

 

January to June, 2017

Library Shelving

After moving to Edinburgh my first job was in Galashiels building library shelving to store a collection of rare botanical books. The shelving is in birch ply with solid wood edging and facings. The library has nine fitted bookcases containing 70 metres of adjustable-height shelves. I made all the components at my workshop in Dalkeith and then me and a colleague spent four days fitting in Galashiels. It was great to change the whole character of the room into one given over completely to books.

Kist Restoration

This 100-year old traditional Scottish kist was badly worn and scratched so I discussed restoration options, and decided to strip and varnish the top, leaving some marks of the kist’s use while revealing the colour of the pine, and repainting the sides. The old pine was very dense, and every finer sanding revealed new intricacies in the wood – it was a pleasure to work with.

 

Spice Box

This was commissioned by a keen cook who likes curry. I made the sides from oak and the top panel of Scottish elm. I used elm from two different trees to make use of the colour variations in elm.

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Large Bedroom Wardrobes for Edinburgh New Town

I made these two large fitted wardrobes for a newly renovated flat in Edinburgh’s New Town. At over three metres high and 60cm deep they provide a huge amount of storage space. They are made from birch ply with solid wood edging, facings, and doors. The door hinges are solid brass with hidden magnetic closures which keep the doors perfectly in line. For the drawers I used high-capacity soft close drawer runners which feel very smooth to use.

These wardrobes are the biggest pieces of furniture I’ve made – they were a bit of a challenge to assemble as they were so high! When they were in place though they looked magnificent.