Tuesday, October 20, 2015

English timber

Why is it that Timber from America is cheaper and easier to get hold of than English timber despite the fact that its all around us?

Its cheaper apparently to get a tree cut down thousands of miles away, have it dried, shipped across the ocean burning countless fossil fuels in the process and delivered to my door than buying some that has been felled in this country. Which surely would be another sale and full process doing its little bit to boost the local economy.  

We have some beautiful timbers in this country and we don't really use them. Everything that comes down generally goes for fire wood or left to rot. Well we are going to try to do some better things with some local wood that we can get our hands on.

A year back we had a call about an ash tree that blew down in Royston. So we tooled up got ourselves some chainsaw gear and a little bit of wood cutting know how and headed off to slice it up. Now this proved to be easier said than done but the results really were stunning. We now have some beautiful boards of ash in stock ready to turn into furniture.

Over the next year we plan to push this even further and produce some designs from a variety of English timbers. We have already produced some worktops for our latest kitchen build from Whitwell oak and a coffee table from the Royston ash. Sitting drying we have some Royston and Kimpton walnut and a small cherry trunk ready to mill. I must say its exciting, a long slow process but exciting none the less. To have a piece of furniture made from a tree growing locally for possibly hundreds of years couldn't be more of a romantic idea but we are bringing it to life.

We will be seeking more local timbers in the near future to produce some interesting pieces from. If people are thinking about how local their food is now why not take it further and look at the furniture in our homes.

I love the idea and hope you all do too.

Watch this space for more local timber action.

Monday, October 13, 2014

chainsaw milling

So we have recently started chainsaw milling some amazing English hardwoods. Despite trees falling naturally or being felled every day our native hardwoods are mostly used for fire wood. It is such a shame and we at S. Nicholl Furniture strive to change this fate if not only for a few trees every now and then. It also seems to make little sense that the majority of timber used in England is American. It seems that shipping it from the U.S. is somehow cheaper and more viable than cutting timber here. Now don't get me wrong we are not keen on clear felling but the selective use of trees that are destined to be felled because of natural reasons or even ones that have blown down from high winds are prime for planking, drying and converting into fine furniture.

With the setup that we are using we are able to get to and plank trees that would be difficult to get to with heavy machinery. We are able to walk to a felled tree, plank it and carry it away.

This has allowed us to offer a service of cutting a tree that has been felled on a customers land, planking it, drying it and eventually turning it into some furniture for them. Creating a very personal, and beautiful piece for their home.

Here are some photos of us at work and our recent haul of walnut.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Ive been having a go with the new camera recently and thought i would share a few of the latest images. Soon they will be on the website properly but it'll take a little time for Nick to sort it so getting them on here is i think a good idea.

So to start with there a a few images of a project a little while back but my lovely customer Hazel allowed me to pop round and take a few shots. I have also included a shot of my makers mark on a drawer side.

And then there are a few of what i have recently finished, a painted dining room unit, two alcoves, tv unit and under stairs storage.

Monday, June 17, 2013

So I finally have time to write a little about the Harriet Kelsall Jewellery shop job back in September of last year. A short timescale and mass of furniture to make meant that the midnight oils were burning a lot in those nine weeks of the build. Eventually i think it was all worth it though, the end result looks great. I certainly cant take all of the credit though, the shop was designed by Callum Lunsden who has worked with the likes of Mary portas! There were a lot of great people involved to make it what it is today. Adi the site carpenter was a wizz with a chop saw and belt sander to smarten up the place before our cabinets went in. Melvin the electrician knows his way around a wire. Then there were plumbers, tilers, decorators not to mention the site manager Tim Alban.

The site has now been transformed into a haven for custom made jewellery, easily one of if not the best place in the country to go if you want a piece made. I only wish one day S. Nicholl Furniture will have a show room quite so grand.

Building the cabinets took a long time but finally they were taken over to paint. The oak has a stain applied which was colour matched on site to compliment the buildings exposed beams and then a coat of lacquer to make sure it could withstand some punishment. As you can see there was a lot of glass involved which took some careful handling during installation.

It was so close to the line as the timescale was really short. We actually had delivery of the uv bonded glass cabinet during the press launch but that was the only thing that was late (if only by half an hour).

It just goes to show that S. Nicholl Furniture can handle large jobs as well as small. It was a pleasure and a great compliment to get such a job, if our furniture is good enough to display such lovely jewellery i think it was a job well done.

Many thanks to all involved, and a special thanks to Luke Harding of Moss Furniture for helping with the fitting.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Painted bookcases

Recently we finished some painted bookcases sprayed in a grey pu. They went down so well it seems to have sparked up another order from the same customer and has inspired a couple of others to have their rooms done. Such a brilliant complement. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Brazilian Mahogany

Its not often in life that an opportunity to work on such an amazing piece of wood comes along. I had a phone call one day from a potential customer saying that he wanted a dining room table made, nothing out of the ordinary so far. He then went on to explain that years ago his father worked importing exotic timbers and when he died he left a plank each to his sons. This turned out to be no ordinary plank of wood, it was in fact a 14 foot long and 3 and a half foot wide two inch thick plank of Brazilian mahogany. Now it is a bit of a no no nowadays to use such a wood and encourage the illegal felling of the rain forest but seeing as though this plank had the import date written on it and had been sitting in a barn for about 30 years i thought that it was safe. Now the customer had already had 5 foot cut off and made into a small dining table but now he wanted the other 9 foot made into one as well. Not only that but he was adamant that it should not be cut up in any way so the solid lump would form the table top. I decided on staining up some sapele for the underframe and legs and also seeing as though it was so well seasoned and a very reliable wood in terms of movement then cupping should be pretty minimal. It wouldn't though fit on or in any machine that i had so we set about with an electric plane, belt sander and straight edge. The finished piece is a really big solid piece of furniture and detail wise it really didn't need any, the star of the show was the wood itself and it came up really well with a lot of oil. It was a real privilege to work with and i cant imagine that will come up again any time soon.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011