In this section of the website I want to show you some of the ways I work. Two past commissions are shown in step by step stages demonstrating traditional cabinet making techniques.

Veneered or Solid Timber?

I probably use equal amounts of veneer and solid timber. But a lot of clients I talk to feel that veneered furniture is the poorer relative of the solid wood version. This misconception has more to do with mass produced furniture being made of wood or plastic 'wood' style veneer to save on cost.

Depending on the design of the piece, I will recommend solid or veneered wood for the job. A lot of the wider, flat panels used in simple, modern designs wouldn’t work nearly as well in solid wood, equally some details like worktops which get harder use and age better in solid timber. There are far too many situations too list but I am always happy to talk through the reasons for my recommendations with clients.

Workshop

My workshop is situated in North London and clients are always welcome to visit to check the progress of their commission. If this isn’t convenient I’m happy to email photographs instead.

Timber

I always use good quality timbers from renewable sources, supplied by wood yards who observe good environmental purchasing policies. 

The Making Process 1: Chest of Drawers

Solid wood dovetailed drawer boxes are most often the best, a well treated antique chest shows how long dovetailed drawers can last.

1.1

This chest was made from mahogany with oak drawer linings. The first stage when the wood arrives is to select how each piece of timber can be used to best show its figure and grain.

Making process 1.1
1.2

The frames and panels of the sides are planed and jointed ,this type of construction is used in a large percentage of traditional woodwork e.g. doors, carcasses and wall panelling.

Making process 1.2
1.3

When the framed panels are glued together the centre panels are only partly fixed to allow them to expand and contract to cope with the changes of temperature and moisture which occur in a modern centrally heated home.

Making process 1
1.4

Dovetailed rails hold the top of the carcass together.

Making process 1
1.5

The rails between the drawers and at the bottom are fixed in with double mortise and tenon joints to prevent moving or twisting.

Making process 1
1.6

Once the carcass is glued together the top can be fixed on and the chest is rigid enough to start working on the drawer runners.

Making process 1
1.7

The top is made here from three pieces of timber. This type of construction is done for stability although it is virtually impossible to get many timbers in the widths necessary for tops.

Making process 1
1.8

The drawer runners are jointed into the front rails ,simple strips of wood were used in traditional chests although modern metal drawer glides are often used now especially in kitchen work.

Making process 1
1.9

The fronts, sides and backs of the drawer boxes are planed to fit the carcass.

Making process 1
1.10

Hand or machine cut dovetails are most often the best choice of joint in drawers for a chest like this but when the cost is too high for the budget I often do veneered or plain MDF drawer boxes on metal drawer glides which still give a good result.

Making process 1
1.11

A finished wooden drawer box glued up, the drawer bottom slides into a groove cut into the bottom of the sides and front and is fixed at the back to prevent any movement.

Making process 1
1.12

I do most of my finishing by hand with polishes and lacquers using techniques I was taught by a traditional french polisher, this gives a beautiful, tactile finish.

Making process 1
1.13

I still really like this chest which I made a few years ago, it′s good to know that what I′ve made could be around for a long time.

Making process

The Making Process 2: Loveseat

I recently completed a pair of chairs which were made to sit together
in the style of a traditional "loveseat".

2.1

CAD software was used to create the chairs' design and rendering to show the client before work started.

Making process
2.2

Chair making is a more complicated art than a lot of cabinet making with rails and legs going together in compound angles rather than right angles.

Making process 1
2.3

A chair commission involves more work at the design stage...

Making process 1
2.4

...laying out these angles to make the templates needed to get the first and last chairs to match.

Making process 1
2.5

The finished product.

Making process 1