Win with Liberon

Ian Burnell’s award-winning ‘Lelló’ cabinet – London plane, sandblasted glass and Medite Clear – 1,250 × 1,180 × 400mm

In conjunction with Liberon – woodcare experts since 1912 – we recently ran a three-month long competition, giving readers the opportunity to show off their woodworking skills, regardless of discipline – be it general woodworking, woodturning, carving or cabinetmaking, for example. We asked you to send in photos of a recently completed project or restoration, along with a brief description detailing the making process involved.

We were incredibly impressed with the calibre of entries received, which certainly made the judging process a difficult one. The expert panel consisted of representatives from Liberon along with the magazine’s editorial team, to ensure that pieces were evaluated fairly and objectively. Following much deliberation, the panel finally reached a consensus and chose Ian Burnell’s ‘Lelló’ cabinet as the winning piece. In recognition of his fantastic efforts and skill, Ian received a £200 Amazon voucher plus a bundle of Liberon woodcare products, worth over £120, for use on future projects.

WINNER – Ian Burnell’s ‘Lelló’ cabinet


The entire structure is held together by 46 hand-cut dovetails – five or six on each corner – including the internal box sections


All surfaces are hand-painted with a low to no VoC water-based paint


The exterior has been ebonised and the internal surfaces waxed to enhance the vibrancy of this stunning timber’s natural tones

Ian Burnell – an award-winning Product Designer from Ireland who’s now turned his talent to designing and making furniture – graduated from Robinson House Studio in May 2022. He designs both one-off, bespoke pieces as well as small batch-run furniture and prides himself on having a keen eye for detail, which he perfected while training under some of the industry’s best makers and designers.

The judges chose Ian’s stunning ‘Lelló’ cabinet – a modernist-inspired piece with an eco-conscious twist – owing to his clever use of London plane and the way in which finishing products were utilised to ebonise and enhance the vibrancy of this stunning timber’s natural tones.

Construction & material selection

The name of the winning piece stems from Ian’s clever and playful use of the colour yellow. In terms of construction methods, the entire cabinet is held together by 46 hand-cut dovetails – five or six on each corner – including the internal box sections. The London plane, used for the cabinet’s carcass, was taken from a tree grown on the streets of East London.

On making the piece, Ian comments: “When I set out to design this cabinet, I took some inspiration from the work of various pivotal female designers of the early 1900s, such as Eileen Gray and Charlotte Perriand. I loved their use of colour and bold lines in terms of furniture and architecture. My goal was to try and incorporate something similar in my design.”

When it came to choosing materials, Ian’s aim was to explore the idea of using either frosted or ribbed glass to obscure the painted internals: “I hoped this would encourage people to open the doors and investigate what was going on inside.”

As for the timber selection, Ian’s main goal was to use something local and sustainable. Through carrying out some research, he was able to find a company that worked with trees grown in London, which were then processed for furniture makers. “This is how I discovered London plane and subsequently fell in love with it. It has such an exciting figure, which really pops on the inside of the cabinet, but is also very eye-catching when blacked out with Indian ink.”

’Shaving Box’


‘Shaving Box’ – European walnut burr, French walnut, stainless steel and Scottish leather – 245 × 225 × 95mm


’Shaving Box’, closed

As well as the winning ‘Lelló’ cabinet, Ian also entered the first project he made during his time studying at Robinson House Studio – a shaving box designed for the high-end luxury product market. “I used the finest materials but was mindful not to compromise my eco-conscious ethics.

All materials – excluding the substrate – were sourced as locally as possible. The box is constructed using Forescolor – a no added formaldehyde MDF – with a European walnut burr veneer and lipping along with the finest Scottish leather. The shaving set was sourced from Edwin Jagger, a Sheffield-based company.”

Maker’s secrets

In the September issue, Ian takes us through the steps involved in the making of his wonderful cabinet, in an effort to give readers an insight into construction secrets as well as the various techniques employed.


Instagram: @ianburnelldesigns

While Ian’s ‘Lelló’ cabinet was the star of the show, several other entrants caught the judges’ attention, several of which are shown below, in addition to other notable pieces

2ND PLACE – David Henry’s Champagne box


David’s wonderful champagne box features a handmade wooden ribbon


The completed champagne box is lined with velvet suede and features brass hinges, with an engraved message inside the box’s lid

Originally from Canada but having lived in the Cotswolds for the past 15 years, David describes himself as a very enthusiastic ‘amateur’ woodworker. His passion is making keepsake boxes for family and friends and over the past few years, he’s been fortunate enough to have benefitted from undertaking woodworking courses with the likes of Peter Sefton and Andrew Crawford.

Speaking on his wonderful champagne box, David made this celebratory gift to mark the birth of his niece’s second baby – named Forest – who’ll hopefully also go on to become a budding woodworker! Featuring a wooden ribbon, which he made after watching an online YouTube tutorial, this was David’s first attempt at creating such a piece, and we think he did an incredible job.

He used sapele and bookmatched sapele for the lid, with ebony splines at the corners, a veneered walnut burr bottom, with the ribbon tying everything together. The box was then lined with velvet suede, routed beading on the bottom edge to give the impression of feet, before installing brass hinges, engraving the inside lid, and finally adding the requisite bottle of bubbly.

Inlay banding


Various examples of inlay banding, for use on boxes, picture frames, etc.

During lockdown and having undertaken Andrew Crawford’s boxmaking course, where students were introduced to his beautiful handmade inlay banding, David decided to have a go at making his own, for use on boxes, picture frames, etc.

The photo above shows a range of inlay banding examples produced by David over the past two years, using a wide range of different timbers. He encourages other interested woodworkers to have a go at making their own, commenting on how you’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish.

3RD PLACE – David Hutcheson’s turned & hand-carved Scottish quaich


David’s quaich is turned from a stunning piece of Scottish elm...


... with hand-carved thistle detailing

Here, the judges were particularly impressed with the way in which David showcased the Scottish elm and highlighted its wonderful grain patterns with Liberon Finishing Oil. A traditional piece, this Scottish quaich, made as a wedding gift, was first turned on a lathe, then hand-carved thistle details were added to both handles. Unsurprisingly, it’s one of David’s favourite projects to date.


Daniel Robins’ mahogany jewellery box


... featuring contrasting ash and corner splines


Tony wood’s hall settle in white oak


... comprising a dowel construction with homemade tongue & groove panels

Jacob Green’s side table in English and olive ash


... featuring a Brazilian purpleheart core and black walnut strips

Peter Filcek’s Krenov-style cabinet


... featuring hand-cut dovetails, with stretchers made up from an interlocking bent lamination, and continuous grain wrapping around the carcass




Keep these core woodcare items in your toolkit. Liberon’s superior quality range helps both professional and amateur woodworkers achieve a beautiful finish on a wide range of different projects.

WOOD DYES: Spirit & Palette

Liberon’s Spirit Wood Dye is an ethanol-based product ideal for dense hardwoods. Any of the eight colours in which it’s offered can be mixed together to achieve the preferred shade. You can achieve an exact shade by mixing any of the 13 colours in which Liberon’s Palette Wood Dye is available. This is a quick-drying, water-based option suitable for either soft- or hardwoods.

OILS: Finishing, Superior Danish & Pure Tung

Liberon’s Finishing Oil blends hard-wearing oils with resins, enabling protection not only against water, but also heat and alcohol. Liberon’s Superior Danish Oil achieves a superior satin gloss sheen, while also feeding, protecting and adding long life to both hard- and softwoods. It protects against sunlight and is resistant to water, alcohol, heat and food acid. Liberon’s Pure Tung Oil is hard-wearing and provides a long-lasting matt finish. It’s ideal for surfaces most often in contact with food.

WAX POLISH: Black Bison

Liberon’s Wax Polish Black Bison has a good content of carnauba wax and, being highly lustrous, makes wood look simply beautiful. It provides good resistance to finger and water marks, and is ideal for small surfaces. It feeds, polishes, helps to prevent wood drying out, and has traditionally been used on antiques.

For further information on Liberon’s range of woodcare products, see

Liberon UKd
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Learoyd Road
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