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Good Woodworking  |  Oct 22, 2008  |  0 comments

We’re on the cliffs above Blackgang Chine on the Isle of Wight. Behind us, to the north, the skies are bruised and heavy with the threat of approaching rain. But before us, the glass top of a table — part-silvered by the autumn sun — reflects the passage of billowing clouds as they catch the wind in their huge sails and trail their shadows southwards over the mirrored sea, over the horizon, and over the edge of the glass.…

Mike Riley  |  Oct 09, 2008  |  0 comments

John Brown died in his sleep on the morning of 1st June 2008. John Brown was a maker of Welsh stick chairs, as well as a teacher and author. His book on Windsor chairs is, I believe, out of print although it is to be found here and there for stratospheric sums of money.

Phil Davy  |  Oct 08, 2008  |  0 comments

The world of woodworking is full of colourful characters, but John Brown stands out as one of the most unique. Often controversial, he was regarded as something of a Luddite by many fellow woodworkers for his loathing of power tools and modern woodworking machinery. In fact, his monthly column in Good Woodworking probably generated more letters from readers than anyone before or since. As a champion of hand tools, he had little time for…

John Brown  |  Oct 07, 2008  |  0 comments
Here John Brown tells of the very moment his career in chairmaking sparked into life. Along the way, in what would be typical JB style, he throws in a disparaging assessment on woodturning. In its life his column generated more readers’ letters than any other subject! Below: Back in 1997, John Brown sculpts a bow arm using a rasp. Note that he does so using an engineer’s vice I have written in my book, Welsh Stick Chairs,…

John Brown  |  Oct 06, 2008  |  0 comments
By appearances and background, the John Brown that Good Woodworking knew was a late-middle aged, middleclass gentleman. Yet in spirit he was a selfconfessed hippy. This treatise on practise and dedication again helps us to understand his approach to woodworking. Right: John Brown allowed himself only the one machine – an ancient bandsaw. Typically it lived outside under a tarpaulin taking power off a tractor! The last two years of…

John Brown  |  Oct 05, 2008  |  0 comments
One of JB’s favourite subjects was hand tools – or rather the advantages of hand tools over machines. Of course he had a holistic approach to the matter. My grandmother had y a theory that the heartbeat hadn’t altered since time began, and that the pace of life should be regulated by that fact. Even 50 years ago she could not understand what all the rush was about. She used to tell me that most of life’s ills were…

John Brown  |  Oct 04, 2008  |  0 comments
There is little question here that John Brown found an inner peace in chairmaking and we dare say he enjoyed a level of happiness in his work that few truly find. His column in early 2001 championed woodworking for beating stress. And while his copy offered a typically eclectic mix of anecdote and empiricism, it was in a small aside titled ‘A chairmaker’s notes’ that John Brown revealed (not for the first time) his tactile if…

Ben Plewes  |  Sep 15, 2008  |  0 comments
I’m driving through Bristol to find the workshop of Niall Meadows, Toby Howes, Andy Butterly and Steve McIlveen: a group of furniture makers who, when they finished college, elected to stay together and form a cooperative where they work independently but under the same roof, rather than going their own separate ways.

As the car’s sat-nav homes in on my destination it takes me left off Gloucester Road and down a small alleyway…

Darren Loucaides  |  Apr 07, 2008  |  0 comments

Squeezing past the carcases of half finished furniture, and threading between the makers who’re wielding hand tools, working at a huge tablesaw and around a state-of-the-art vacuum press, we finally reach the narrow design office that is the nucleus of Matthew Burt’s industrious workshop. He lifts his eyes briefly from his drawing board and shakes hands: “Hang on a minute. I just have to finish this layout; I’ve got a…

Darren Loucaides  |  Apr 07, 2008  |  0 comments

Click here for 'Root & Branches', the Matthew Burt profile piece by Darren Loucaides.

Kim has enjoyed spending a few weeks gathering work experience in Matthew’s workshop; the rest of the team have been together for several years

Dave Roberts  |  Feb 07, 2008  |  0 comments
See David Oldfield's work here  

In Wiltshire, not far from Trowbridgeshireton, beside a water meadow in the curtilage of a farm that’s home to a small community of craftspeople, you’ll find David Oldfield. Or rather, you probably won’t: there’s no sign on the door, no giveaway stacks of timber. “No-one knows I’m here,” he says with the dolorous satisfaction of the successful recluse.…

Dave Roberts  |  Feb 07, 2008  |  0 comments

“Lotte, a gentleman’s dressing chest, was one of three pieces built for a wealthy financier – is there any other sort? – at the behest of his wife, who organised his life. For this piece, all she told me was, ‘Steven is quite conservative’ – that was the brief! So I took command because you have to in a situation like that.

The Woodworker  |  Sep 20, 2007  |  0 comments
It’s Saturday in High Wycombe. In 96 hours, Peter Rolfe’s writing desk has to be finished and in Cheltenham, ready for the opening of the Betty Norbury — the familiar shorthand for the annual Celebration of Craftsmanship and Design exhibition of which Betty is the curator. It’s a deadline that Peter can’t afford to miss: the exhibition is arguably the premier showcase for…