Student blog - 2013


The Contemporary Craft Festival 2014

We are very pleased to announce that we have been selected to exhibit at the Bovey Tracey Contemporary Craft Festival 2014.

Dec 20, 2013


Craig's Rosewood Cabinet

Here are a few shots of Craig's Rosewood cabinet under construction.

It has been constructed from Santos and Indian Rosewood.

 We will have pictures of the finished piece soon.

Dec 12, 2013


Adam's butterfly table

Adam's butterfly table has now had its finish applied and is being assembled for the final time.

More pictures will be on the Student Gallery soon.

Dec 6, 2013


Press Coverage from New Designers and the New Forest competition.

Here is a rather belated round up of the press coverage from New Designers 2013 and the New Forest Trust competition.


New Designers 2013

A PDF ia available here.

A PDF ia available here.

New Forest Trust 2013

A PDF is available here.

More can be found here on

Oct 30, 2013


Katie's Feature Article

Ex student Katie has had a feature article in Novembers Good Woodworking magazine for her bedside cabinets.

You can see more pictures of the bedside cabinets in the Student Gallery

Oct 25, 2013


Richard's Front Cover

Richard's Elm drinks cabinet has made the front cover of Octobers The Woodworker magazine.

You can see the full article here.

Sep 18, 2013


Katie's turned Elm stool

Katie has recently completed a stool made out of Elm, both the legs and seat were turned.

Here it is being prepared for oiling. The triangle on the bottom is hiding some magnets, to find out why check the Student Gallery

The legs were secured in with wedges




Sep 5, 2013


Craig's maple table

Craig's maple table.

Sep 4, 2013


Matt's chair

Here a few shots of Mat's self designed scandi chair taking shape

In the spray booth

Aug 30, 2013


Adam's butterfly table emerges

Here are a few shots of Adam's butterfly table from its initial design through to gluing up.

Adam found it easier to visualise the outline for his butterfly table by chalking it on the concrete outside the workshop.

All the components ready to go.

Gluing on the lippings.

We will have some more pictures of it nearer compeletion.

Aug 25, 2013


Busy workshop

The workshop continues to be a busy place with many of the students starting work on their first projects.

Mat has designed a Walnut and ply lounge chair as his first project, here he can be seen letting the legs into the seat.

Craigs has designed a Maple dinning table with shaped legs and curved laminated rails. Here he can be seen cutting the tenons on the rails.

Thomas is making a Walnut coffee table with a glass top.

Aug 20, 2013


New Forest Trust Fine Crafted Wood Competition

Student John entered his Oak blanket box into the "New Forest Trust Fine Crafted Wood Competition". This competition is open to anyone under instruction, either as an apprentice or a student at college.

John came second in the overall competition but was awarded Best Craftsman by the Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers. He also won the People’s Choice prize, which is voted for by the visitors to the exhibition.


More pictures from the show can be found at the New Forest Trust website.



Aug 6, 2013


Peter's Prize

Tom's Whinlatter desk was selected as one of the winning pieces  ‘the Alan Peters Award for Excellence’ in conjunction with the Celebration of Craftsmanship and Design exhibition.  It will be at the exhibition from 17th-26th August 2013. This exhibition is a showcase of the best designer maker furniture in the UK. 

The Award was judged by Keith Newton - apprentice of and maker for Alan Peters for 19 years, Jeremy Broun FRSA – pioneering furniture designer-maker and producer of the DVD ‘Alan Peters – The Makers Maker’ and Jason Heap – award winning furniture designer-maker and director of Celebration of Craftsmanship & Design.

As featured in British Woodworking August/September 2013

Aug 4, 2013


Latest batch of boxes

Here rather belatedly are our latest batch of student boxes, these are made as one set projects each student makes.

The boxes in order are Matt, Adam, Craig and Thomas.


Jul 25, 2013


Pippy Oak blanket box

John's blanket box was inspired by the Arts and Craft movement.  

The exposed hand cut joints of this piece provide both strength and interest while the clean lines frame the beauty of the Pippy Oak panels.


Jul 17, 2013


Katie's bed side table

Katie's pair of Walnut bedside tables, each has an opening lid revealing secret compartments and an area for displaying her special things.

Each also has a different door and shelf configuration making then really individual.


Jul 14, 2013


Richard's Elm drink's cabinet

Richard's Elm drinks cabinet, constructed with large dovetail detailing.

The shelves have had grooves routed in to keep the bottles secure.


Jul 14, 2013


Jessica's Glacier drinks cabinet

For the cabinet Jessica has used an amalgamation of materials to characterise the elements of a glacier.

The open grain of the fumed oak with its lines mimicking layered sediment is representative of rock and the mirror finished steel shards portray the ice crevasse of a glacier.

Jul 12, 2013


Tom's Whinlatter desk and Lord's Seat chair

The Desk named after Whinlatter Fell in the Lake District is designed to reflect its flowing lines. It was made as an exhibition piece demonstrating the importance of both form and function working in unison. Three generously sized drawers, combined with hidden storage areas to the rear of the desk, enable this piece to meet its functional requirements, whilst the flowing curves of the laminated legs running through the draw fronts ensure the desk sits gracefully in any room. The integration of two plug sockets into the design ensures that the floor space around the desk can be kept cable free.

The chair is named after the highest point overlooking Whinlatter Pass in the Lake District, this chair was designed to accompany the ‘Whinlatter’ desk.  The chair incorporates a hidden swivel mechanism so that it functions like a convensional office chair without looking or feeling like one.  A suede covered seat and a relatively upright back enables users to adopt a comfortable and productive working position.



Jul 10, 2013


Made it - New Designers 2013

We have made it. Thanks to everyone for their hardwork and effort. We are now here and I am very pleased to say everything got finished.

My photo's do not do the stand or the furniture any justice, so please take it from me that everything looks absolutely stunning. 

The whole event has been well worth the effort. We have had lots of people coming onto the stand, and everyone has been very complementory, Not only that but all the the students individualy have picked up various leads for commissions, articles and work.

Once again well done to:

Thomas Whittingham

John Nolan

Richard Hardy

Katie Finlay

Jessica Fairley

Kung Mana Tongmee


Jul 3, 2013


Almost there ...

Not long now before we head of to London for New Designers! Just a few more long days and perhaps a few more late nights and all the pieces will be finished. Tom is busy assembling his desk and although not in the photo he has also had time to finish a matching swiveling chair, and for the first time I would like to show you Jessica's 'Shard drinks Cabinet'. I will keep you guessing, but the MDF shards in the foreground are soon to be covered in laser cut highly polished stainless steel.

John is also hard at work hand polishing his blanket box. Finally I am very pleased to report that this year the making quality from everyone has been exceptional. Welldone!

Jun 30, 2013


Welcome to new students

Welcome to our new students Adam, Craig, Mat and Thomas.

Jun 25, 2013


Progress for New Designers

Walking into the workshop this morning you can sense a real hive of activity. Richard has now fitted his dovetailed drawer into his drinks cabinet, Tom is masking of his desk, which is now ready for spraying and Katie is on the final glue up of her bedside cabinets.

As well as this the students have also been working on their promotional material and websites. We are all now getting quite excited and looking forward to the exhibition.

Jun 20, 2013


The count down for New Designers 2013

The count down for New Designers 2013 has started and this years pieces are well underway. We have five students who will be exhibing. A few of the pieces are already made, but here you can see Katie's bedside cabinet's, John's blanket box and Richards drinks cabinet. There is nothing like a deadline to focus the mind. The students have until July 3rd so watch this space!

Jun 10, 2013


Contemporary Crafts Festival 2013

We have just come back from a visit to the contemporary crafts festival in Bovey Tracey. It was an inspiring show and the students came back with lots of thoughts and ideas.

It was also really good to see ex-student Chris Burley exhibiting this year. Still in the early stages of his business it was good to hear from him that things are going well. He achieved a great deal when he was with us, and we wish him continued success.

Jun 8, 2013



If you have ever hand cut a row of dovetails you will know how exacting this can be. Richard is currently making a solid English Elm drinks cabinet, and we will update you soon with progress.

Jun 5, 2013


New Designers Exhibition July 2013

Building on the great success of last year, the students will again be exhibiting at New Designers. 

‘New designers’ takes place over a two week period, with 9 dedicated design zones including; Furniture, Product design, Ceramics & Glass, Jewellery, Textiles and Fashion.  We will be exhibiting during part 2 of the exhibition, between 3 – 6th July 2013.

This is such a brilliant opportunity for five of our students to showcase their work at this prestigious event and gain valuable experience and hopefully acquire some useful connections.

If you are able to, please come and see us on our stand - FP69.

Jun 1, 2013


Buying Timber

If you are looking for some really good temperate hardwood then we can recommend Vasterns. We took John Richard and Katie to their yard in Wiltshire to help them understand and help them select waney edge timber.

Their next projects are a blanket box, a drinks cabinet and two bedside cabinets. 


May 15, 2013


Angle grinding

As we have finally had some good weather, James takes the students outside to demonstate the exciting potential of angle grinding into solid timber.

Everyone has a go and here you can see Adam and Jessica realising the effects you can produce.

Lets just hope the good weather continues. 

Apr 20, 2013


Quarter sawn Oak coffee table

Richard has recently completed an oak coffe table commission, which has simple classic lines to compliment the existing furniture in the customer’s living room.

"It’s for a crossword fanatic – the shelf is for dictionaries, a thesaurus and other useful reference books."

The table is made from oak that has been ‘quarter sawn’. This way of cutting the tree exposes beautiful natural defects in the wood called ‘medullary rays’. They really shine when the wood is polished.

The legs pass through the table top, and are fixed in place with a wedge. The wedge is made from brown oak, a darker wood, which makes a nice little detail – as well as providing strength.

The legs are tapered, and were individually turned on a lathe. The corners of the shelf are supported by the inside surface of the legs, which makes it appear to ‘float’ and gives the table a light feeling. 

Apr 17, 2013


Richard's 'Smorgasboard' £50 Project!

During the course of our student's 40 weeks with us they are often given small side projects to fill the little gaps of time between larger more complex projects.  This also gives them the opportunity to get their creative juices flowing!

The brief for one popular project we run is to design an attractive item that could be batch produced with limited time, with a market value of £50. It is also a great accompaniment for those larger pieces at exhibitions. A prospective client gets to walk away with a great product at a good piece, as well as a acting as a reminder of your work if they ever decide to have a bigger piece commissioned!

Richard came up with this particularly successful idea for a sharing platter board, which he has named ‘Smorgasboard’.  The design has great attention to detail with the gain being at a slight angle to add interest to the top and the underside has a rather stylish handle detail!  


Mar 6, 2013


Fine crafted Wood Exhibition at the New Forest Show

Since 2006 the New Forest Trust has organised an exhibition of furniture made by trainee Designer/Craftsmen at the New Forest Show (30 - 31 July, & 1st August 2013).   We are encouraging our students, as well as other budding furniture designer/makers to enter.  

Check out the 'The New Forest Trust' website to see full details of the competition, as well as download application forms.

We are also pleased to announce that Jane Cleal, alongside Martin Grierson and Richard Williams will be this year’s judges.

Feb 18, 2013


Knuckle down to work!

Student Jason is coming to the end of his course with us and decided to make two lacewood bread boxes with his last few weeks.  He wanted to learn some batch production techniques for this project, so he made jigs for most of the major processes.  See the finished pieces in our 'Student Gallery'

Jason created this jig to cut his knuckle joints to final length on the dimension saw.  The jig allowed him to get nice consistent knuckles with minimal wastage.  The jig also enabled him to get the maximum amount of knuckles from his turned sections of wood. 

Feb 18, 2013


21st Century Furniture IV @ The Millinery Works Gallery

We are pleased to announce that we are going to be exhibiting at this year’s ‘21st Century Furniture IV' at 'The Millinery Works Gallery’, in Islington, from the 10th February - 10th March 2013.  

The exhibition is rapidly becoming the major London showcase for bespoke designer-makers.  This is a rare opportunity to see, buy, collect or commission a piece of sublime craftsmanship, produced by the most talented designer makers who practice the hand skills of the Arts & Crafts era and combine them with the design sensibilities of today.  This year is showcasing around 30 of the countries best contemporary furniture makers. 

Williams and Cleal are exhibiting a walnut dining table and four matching chairs.

The closest tube station is Angel, on the Northern Line, so if you happen to be in London, it would be well worth a visit.  For more details on directions and opening hours visit the 'Millinery Work Gallery' website.

Jan 30, 2013


Art in Action!

2013 brings a new series of art sessions to our ‘Creative Hub’.  The classes are run by renowned local artist Sara Fairfax.  The sessions are intended to bring out the student’s creative side, experimenting with different materials and medias, teaching them drawing techniques and encouraging them to explore and develop their own unique design style!  We will keep you posted with their progress!

This first session involved the students whittling their own pens for various timbers, before experimenting with pen & ink techniques to achieve a range different effects.  


Jan 29, 2013


Racing into the New Year!

Tom is about half way through his course with us, and he has just recently finished his piece entitled 'Honister Vitrine'.   This display table is made from Brown & American oak, glass and slate from the Honister slate mine in the Lake District.  Finished photos of the piece can be seen in the 'Student Gallery'.

The vitrine was specifically designed to showcase his dad's precious classic racing car collection.  Tom learnt a  number of new techniques working on this piece, including curved shoulder lines on the motice and tenon joints and scribing for and fitting the slate panels.

Jan 10, 2013

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