When starting a piece of furniture, I plane both sides of each piece of timber so that I can see the grain and shade them. Dry timber can be a very different shade when a finish is applied so it is very important to deal with this early in the process and this is done by lightly wetting all of the timber, standing back, and matching the shades and grain. A piece of furniture can have light and dark timber, but not side by side.
The laminating of timber required to produce the flow I desire for my style of furniture is laborious. Timber must be fitted perfectly without any pressure at all whilst dry, then it has to be cleaned, scored, sanded and biscuit jointed to give it the strongest joint. On some pieces this is repeated over 130 times so it’s best not to look at the wood pile.
Once the piece of furniture has been formed then the hard work begins. Five grades of abrasives, a wood plane,
scraping irons and sweat are essential to shape the piece into a beautiful form.
The finishing process is the most important of all. What ever finish a customer wants, depends on how the piece will be used. Wax, for example, in my opinion is unrivalled for beauty and touch, but is not as suitable for a high traffic area as polyurethane varnish or Danish oil. Once a finish has been decided, the process involves more finer abrasives, several coats of the desired finish and lots of drying time. This is the stage where the slightest imperfection will show, so I have to be thorough from the very start of the shaping process.
Every piece of furniture I make that is of a certain design, will be very different from the previous version. I don’t reach for a bunch of jigs and templates of a certain shelf and make identical shaped copies. I make anew each time, as a customer determines the exact dimensions they would like to suit them and their environment. I don’t like repetitiveness, I want individuality.