process, how I approach my work


Where do the ideas come from when I make a new piece, what is the process?  I never know how to make the ideas just come, thats for sure!  one thing I have come to rely on,  however,  is distraction…go and do something else,  let it all go!  Then my ideas begin to flow,  when I am concentrating on something other than design.

I dont think I ever need to understand fully how that process works,  just know that it works for me , maybe if you have a need to explore this further you could have a look

somedays you need to get away from work to visualize things from a different perspective

view from the office

For me,  cycling is my greatest passion,  distraction from life and responsibility,  and fortunately , its also when some of my best designs come along and pop into my head.  And because riding bikes demands TOTAL focus,  it seems that other parts of my brain get a chance to think about other stuff..  just as well really,   because I’m often dreaming of riding like this guy..

Not that I will ever be so competent,   mind, but there is no harm in dreaming,  we all need a dream..


explain your process of thought

design sketch

My client asked me to design her a new coffee table,  chunky and rustic was the brief..  and can you use some reclaimed timber too,  please? So,  a little research,  and a call to my local reclaimed timber supplier had me in possession of some fine,  reclaimed redwood floor joists. After a couple of sessions on the bike,  I came up with a design that my client was happy with.

I can only begin to describe the joy of cutting and preparing the parts for a project,  selecting parts of the timber with grain and features to enhance the final look of the finished piece , certainly a part of the making process I get a kick out of,  letting the wood speak for itself.

structure and grain

structure and grain


Some areas of the joist needed a little repair as they had had holes pierced to take plumbing

and electrical services in their former life  as a floor,  and once this had been done, it was time

to begin machining an cleaning up the timber, ready to become a new piece of furniture.




square peg, round hole

repair and reclaim


And once the component parts are prepared , it’s time to take a step back and consider the structure and integrity of the completed work.  It is possible to take this into account before work begins,  of course,  but I like to work in a way that allows me to think and problem solve as the piece progresses and evolves.  Sometimes solutions and details suggest themselves as I work,  and these cannot always be included at the design stage.  Some folk say this an ‘organic working method’  others, ‘making it up as you go along ‘, I’ll let you make your own decisions here,  me,  I’m organically making it up,  every single time!!



thinking time, part of the process of making

thinking time


Final machining,  cutting,  shaping and prep of the timbers,  and the true beauty of the material really begins to show,  details merely hinted at in the raw material become obvious and draw your attention as figuring and structure,  a story of the growing tree,  and how the material has been worked and converted into timber.  A little care is necessary at this stage,  as it is so easy to obliterate some of this figuring and feature,  I definitely do want the material to tell its own story.  And I surely do not want pristine and perfectly machined timber,  not in a piece such as this one.



table top



Next comes assembly and layout,  choosing how material features will be seen in the finished piece.  And begin to prepare the timbers for the final finish being applied.  The finish being, in this case,  a danish oil.  Oil finishes are so adaptable and allow the wood to breathe.  They can be added to and topped with a wax coat.  An oil finish will allow the the lustre and shine of the grain to show the beauty of this natural material.



monolith table

monolith table


This is a snapshot of how I design and make.  Sure its not the only way,  but it its my way.  I have a love of the material,  and a love of making and hope that never leaves me.  Design and making are fundamental to how I work, I’ve been involved with other types of work,  but always seem to return to making,  I guess because I find it such a satisfying thing to do.  And am finding that my clients also,  are liking what I do.  Its a sharing of thoughts and ideas,  a two way process, maker and client.  Why don’t you have a try at designing and making for yourself,  lots of great reference sources out there,  you could start here,  ,  give it a shot,  you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  There is nothing so satisfying as making somthing for yourself,  connect with your creativity today!



monolith table

monolith table


sunlight: captured

Captured sunlight and dirt from the air…such beauty and grace, they surround us and support our lives. It still surprises me now, when i remember that something like 80% or more of the substance of a tree, or plant, is metabolised purely from the air we breath by interacting with sunlight…80%! just from air, or more correctly, from the carbon dioxide in the air… Carbon, carbon based life, just like us… the place we live wouldnt be the same without them,  wouldnt be at all without them..

sunlight through the canopy

lime trees

all of us, made from the same material and substance, star stuff! a bit of carbon, a bit of hydrogen and oxygen, mix and wait a few millenia and apply radiation from the nearest star, and, boom, look what happens when chemistry hitS the groove…its cosmic I tell you…

I would urge you to go out today and hug a tree, we owe them so much, it really wouldnt be quite the same if not for them,


captured sunlight

lime trees


My life and my work are linked to woods, as a place and a material to work with..they are a frame to my actions and activity, can’t help but wonder at the structure and nature of wood as I work, and make,  using this fantastic material given to me by, a tree…

Strong, durable, graceful and beautiful, I just feel very fortunate in being able to live and make a living from wood. and I hope that feeling never goes away as every day, I look for new ways to make new work with it.

A timeless material, worked using traditions and skills passed down through time, wood really is THE material from the past, used today and here for tomorrow, take a look at how it is grown, managed and secured for the future,

I will always love making things from wood, being amongst the trees, and sharing their nature and beauty…long live trees!


Photo 0134


A story told in time…

change of season, and a new beginning

as the seasons change, so does our outlook on life, the universe and

autumnal colour a change in the air

autumn dawn

this blog marks a big change in my life, so far, the launch of The Dream Stone & Woodworking Company…so I wanted to take the opportunity to thank all of the people who have supported me in reaching this point, this change. so many people really, “everyone else who knows me” is the cliche, but that’s true for the most part…specifically, my partner, Paula, my good friend Flicky, my neighbours Paul and Fiona, my Mum and Dad, Terry at TWDA in Hexham…the list could go on, and on,  suffice to say, I hope, you know you’ve helped put me here, and right now because of all of my questions and attention seeking just recently, so simply, thank you all, lets see where this thing will go next.

as if further evidence of change would be needed, just check out what is going on with the weather today at

the winds of change are surely blowing  with some force today, I’m sure we can rely on them to change in their own unreliable way, and keep us guessing as to what is coming up next.

Here’s to change, cheers!

as we move on into autumn, the season changes around us..not always as we would expect!  I for one would have anticipated more of the cold frosty weather associated with this time of year, but so little of that has come our way, so far!

Friends in Canada and Alaska tell me we should expect a long cold winter this year,  and yet we are expecting warmest weather on record, this weekend as we approach all hallows eve and November 5th celebrations,  watch this space…or better still,  watch this one for an informed and articulate comment as the season develops…