Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


September 23, 2010

Doors Open Day at our workshop this weekend 25th-26th Sept. 2010. Download dod2010 for full details.

CLICK on document below to enlarge it or CTRL/CLICK, save it to your desktop and print it out


Scottish Furniture Makers at Collins Gallery, Glasgow.

NOW until Sunday Sept 26th.

Download sfma invite and/or sfma2010

Be there …….. or be culturally disadvantaged!


Something to Aim For

January 30, 2010

Putting a lot of other woodworkers’ efforts into perspective, have a look at this guy’s stuff. He’s called Livio de Marchi.

An amazing AMOUNT of work apart from anything else!

Does he do it all himself? I would guess not.

By way of example, this gives a whole new meaning to the expression  “cruising in the Ferrari”:-

wooden Ferrari on the canals of Venice

Ferrari wooden interior

and  his wooden house with wooden clothes hanging on the wall:-See lots more at the Livio de Marchi website. Click on it in my blogroll.


continuing the theme of “something to aim for” while putting local (i.e. Scottish) efforts into perspective ,it is also worth having a look at timber stocks in the Pennsilvaynia, USA, yard of Talarico Hardwoods. Look in particular at the section of their website devoted to “Amazing  Scottish Oak”.

Prime Scottish Oak Log at Talarico Hardwoods yard USA

This begs the question as to whether Scotland is some third world country to let logs of this quality go abroad.

Also, as a Scottish cabinetmaker wanting to incorporate the very best native oak in my furniture, why would I have to send to the States to get it?

Their website is accessible thru my blogroll.

The Edinburgh Cabinet,RBGE wych elm project

October 27, 2009

I have made a number of chests of drawers over the past three decades,  all characterized by the sculpting of their handles from the solid of the drawer-fronts. The layout of the drawer handles has taken various forms on the different chests (see the post entitled “Chester draws”  of a year ago) but the idea behind “The Edinburgh Cabinet” is that the carved form represents the iconic Edinburgh skyline seen from the viewpoint where the wych elm itself stood as a living tree in the Botanic Gardens.


Apart from the obvious candidates, from Arthur’s Seat, Salisbury Crags and Calton Hill on the left to Edinburgh Castle and its esplanade on the right, I have tried to capture the feel of the roofscapes of the Old Town, its spires and chimneys, (Auld Reekie), and of the tree canopies of Stockbridge (with St Stephen’s  Church) and the Botanics itself. ( It will be apparent that the representation is more about the impression than any literal depiction). Sadly, due to lack of space, (or motivation?), I have had to omit the magnificent vista that is the St James Centre.

It has become usual to speak of using the timber of a tree as a way to extend the working life of that tree –  in the best instances for decades, if not centuries. The Edinburgh Cabinet  takes a significant step beyond this to explicitly link the piece itself to the source of its material. It imagines the tree, the Botanics Wych Elm, looking out over its environment as it would have done in its maturity. Thence arises the notion of “The Self Unseeing” as an alternative title for the piece.


These are a couple of photos taken by Edinburgh Evening News photographer Ian Georgeson which might have been (but weren’t) used with the feature the paper ran Thursday Oct 22nd; many thanks to Ian for sending me these.

We got a kind mention on a blog from across the Atlantic

Many thanks for that.

Wych Elm Exhibition opens at Botanics

October 11, 2009

With the opening of the new John Hope Gateway building at the west (Inverleith Park) entrance to the RBGE, the Wych Elm exhibition is now up and running. Our involvement has been twofold.

Firstly, with the kids of Kaimes School, Sharon Kirby and myself have built an “Acheivement Tree” which is now a permanent installation outside the school library. Photos and description of this form part of the exhibition and it is featured in the beautiful 10 minute video on the whole project made by Circa Media

Secondly, a piece I am calling “The Edinburgh Cabinet” shown here on its first morning in the John Hope Gateway (Angus Ross’s “collector’s chair” is to the left  and the Chris Butler chest he made for Ian Rankin is immediately behind).


and, below, a shot of the 5-drawer front nearing completion in the workshop


The exhibition runs until 28th March 2010 9.30am-7.00pm(9.00am on Saturday & Sunday).

Edinburgh moves to Glasgow

October 2, 2009

To paraphrase a well known Glaswegian saying, “The only good thing to come out of Edinburgh is the current Scottish Furniture Makers exhibition which transfers from Greyfriars Kirk to Princes Square, Glasgow after this weekend” (not that snappy a paraphrase then?).

More specifically, the exhibition is at GREYFRIAR’S Saturday the 3rd from 10.00 til 6.00 and Sunday the 4th from 2.00pm til 5.00pm when it clsoes its doors for the last time.

It re-opens at PRINCES SQUARE on Tuesday 6th Oct and runs thru, every day until Sunday 18th Oct 10.00 til 6.00.

Since my “Edinburgh Cabinet” is now in the Wych Elm Exhibition at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, it has been replaced with (a blast from the past) the swinging cot, an early piece in cherry and utile which has been in use in the family for a couple of decades.

swinging cot



Doors-Open-Day Weekend

September 28, 2009

This was a tremendous success.  We were inundated, “stowed out”, (sp?)  with visitors both days and I can only apologize that we were not able to give all of you the attention we would have liked.

Those of you who took photos, please send them as comments to this blog or email them.

Thank you for the “tea and coffee” donations towards my daughter Catherine’s forthcoming voluntary work in India. We collected nearly forty squids. Special thanks to the lady who used to come and sit in Gogar Kirkyard back in the seventies (before my time) just because ” it was a good place to sit”. Come back and see us soon, its still a good place to sit.

A new member for the workshop

November 19, 2008

Introducing our latest workshop recruit, designed and built to deter lowlife and scumbags attracted by our new-found juxtaposition to the building site which is the Edinburgh tramline to the airport.

This is Eddie pictured, on the right, at 4 weeks with his brother.  He is a Bouvier des Flandres and is in the process of growing apace. In a few months time all matters of workshop security are to be addressed to him.

He is named after Belgium’s most famous son ( and possibly the worlds greatest ever racing cyclist…. sorry Lance) Eddy Merckx.


SFMA Exhibition

October 2, 2008

I showed a console table, in cherry and ash, and a pair of chairs, (native cherry}, at the annual Scottish Furniture Makers Association Exhibition in Edinburgh in October.

I have recently completed a set of 6 of these chairs in native cherry, (which, in Scotland, is called “gean”).  Because of its scarcity, and the demand for it for fine cabinetwork, one of the big yards down south (Duffields in Yorkshire) has now classified cherry as an ‘exotic’…. and priced it accordingly!  These chairs are £750 each.

The console table is partially inspired by the early sixties Maserati sports-racing car known as the “birdcage”.  Its incredibly low bodywork meant that the wheel arches rose dramatically above the bonnet line.  In my table, the floating top kicks up above the tops of the legs.

This console table, in cherry and ash, is for sale at £1175.

oak sideboard

July 21, 2008


This was my biggest piece of 2007 and built from a couple of truly massive (3 foot wide) planks of French Oak.  It goes with a dining table made from the same log which had  previously been commissioned by the same customer. Using planks from the one tree is the best chance we have of obtaining uniformity of grain and colour throughout the ensemble.

elm sideboard

July 21, 2008