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"The world is a better place for having craftsmen (and women!) like these at work." [T&CL, Hereford]

18th-27th August 2018

Best use of British Timber - Sponsored by Woodland Heritage

Celebration of Craftsmanship & Design


18th - 27th August 2018


Best use of British Timber - Sponsored by Woodland Heritage

Working in collaboration with Woodland Heritage this award looks to promote the use of local resources to produce pieces that have added meaning beyond their basic function.

It is an exciting prospect for many people to have a piece that has been conceived, designed and made locally by an artisan. Part of the reason for this is that one can speak to the designer-maker in person and understand their inspiration and the stories behind the piece.  To be able to extend this understanding further with the origin and history of the timber, sometimes down to its precise location as a tree, will inevitably therefore serve to add to a client’s enthusiasm and emotional attachment to their purchase.

The use of local materials has obvious benefits for the designer-maker’s local economy and environment.  The proper felling, processing and drying of wood are skilled trades that are important to preserve to ensure the continued effective management of the woodlands, forests and landscapes that we all enjoy.  By using local materials in bespoke work, our exhibitors are ensuring that it is used beautifully, in an item that will be cherished and kept for generations.

The award is open to all exhibitors and judged by a panel during the show, with the criteria including design, species selection, use of timber, craftsmanship and provenance of the wood used.  Points will be awarded to entrants who go out of their way to source timber locally and/or find out where their timber comes from.

2018 Award


'Grace' Circular Table by Daniel Harrison Furniture

The Judges said:

“This beautiful circular table stood out immediately.  The figure on the top is just stunning to look at and also to feel – very tactile.  The unusual fluted underframe demonstrates great Craftsmanship & Design.

It seems fitting to have ‘Ash’ standing out at this point in time when we are losing so many of our native Ash trees to Charlara.”

We spoke with Daniel to learn a little bit more about the piece:

Ash is Daniel’s favourite timber and as such he wanted to show as many varieties within this piece as possible - Olive ash for the top, ripple ash for the base and the use of laminated native Welsh ash for the spokes of the base structure.  Daniel commented that: “With the onset of Chalara (ash dieback) I thought it important to raise awareness and celebrate one of our finest native tree species."

The Ash used for this project was sourced from Andrew Williams (A W Hardwoods LTD) within a 10 mile radius of his sawmill in Swansea, South Wales, just down the road from Daniel’s workshop. The wood was air dried then second seasoned slowly in Andrew's heated drying shed. Most of the wood Andrew has at his mill is locally sourced and many of the trees have been personally felled and converted by himself. He has deep knowledge and understanding of trees and is especially keen to promote our native woods.

The table base is inspired by the sweeping curves of a gramophone horn and was challenging to construct due to its narrow centre that caused the components to be quite thin.  Lamination and tongue and groove construction ensure that a strong and functional base was created that is extremely elegant and visually pleasing.

Highly Commended

Beneath The Bark with ‘Corvus’

The Judges said:

“A curvy version of a classic chest of drawers.  The use of Burr Elm (Scottish) on the draw fronts is very dramatic.  Elm is a beautiful timber and is natural beauty has been exhibited by this piece – even the back has a dramatic grain.”

Tom Jones, of Beneath The Bark, combines making furniture with working for a commercial timber yard.  This is a great combination Tom often gets first sight of any logs that come into the yard that are too characterful in their grain for commercial products such as structural beams and are therefore more suited to furniture.  This is the case with this chest of elm drawers where the timber has been utilised beautifully to enhance a very functional piece.

2017 Award


Johnson Furniture with his Expanding Circular Dining Table. The judges said:

“One of the best pieces of furniture that both the judges felt they had ever seen and certainly the most elegant solution of the expanding circular table challenge.

A triumph of design, engineering, craftsmanship and selection of materials with an excellent write up of the maker’s discovery of the all-important Brown Oak burr veneer.

The base combines both elegantly and functionally with the top solving, so well, the stability, looks and space-for-the-knees problems.”

The tree from which the veneer on this table came was at least 825 years old, we know because George has told us that the growth rings were counted!  For more information about this table and the timber used please see the following feature

Highly Commended

Jan Waterston with his 'Velo' Chair. 

“A brilliant combination of a traditional slightly ‘Windsor’ base with a state of the art laminated back rail.  A sculptural look almost conceals its comfort and flexibility.  The sitter feels as if on a bicycle.  Beautifully made partly by hand and partly by CNC machinery. ” (Judges Comment)

We asked Jan for a bit of background about the piece:

“Designed in response to modern bicycle design, the Velo Chair's components seamlessly change form and encapsulate the user.

The bicycle is an object in which the user can feel a seamless relationship to and subsequently the road. This relationship between body and object is echoed in bicycle design with tubes flowing seamlessly into one another, constantly changing shape, to improve function and aesthetic.

Complex free form lamination creates a strong yet flexible backrest. The user should sit right back in the seat, gaining enough support to have straight posture.

Although this piece utilises CNC technology it is important to note that there is still an incredible amount of hand crafted work in this piece.

2016 Award


Chris Wiseman with his ‘Oak Within’ Sideboard in Sycamore and Oak. The judges said:

“The remarkable quality of this piece displays an exceptional range of skills.  An aesthetically imaginative design with immaculate craftsmanship. A craftsman for the future.”

Chris Wiseman was also one of the 2016 Winners of the Alan Peters (Student) Award for Excellence.  We asked him for a little information about the piece:

“This was my second ever piece of furniture that I had designed and made myself. I wanted to learn the core of true furniture making but at the same time include some modern techniques. The smooth, clean lines and finger pull handles along with the soft white sycamore all give it a sleek contemporary look. As the front of the cabinet loosely resembles a tree, I wanted there to be a contrasting timber to highlight that feature. Oak was the obvious choice for me as it is a very traditional timber used in furniture making and also complements the sycamore well. The sideboard is mainly a solid frame-and-panel construction with certain areas created from man-made boards to prevent movement. I finely finished the piece in Danish oil and decided to keep the inside untreated so the feel and the smell is natural.”

Highly Commended

Robert Scott with his 'Aeolian' Console Table in Ash. Sculpted by hand and inspired by rock formations created by wind erosion.

“A clever sculptural piece with real impact.  Its organic shapes have an enduring quality with strong fluid lines” (Judges Comment)

We asked Robert for a bit of background about the piece:

“Aeolian processes, pertain to wind activity in the study of geology and weather and specifically to the wind's ability to shape the surface of the Earth (or other planets). Navajo Sandstone that I researched is located in southern Utah and northern Arizona. The sandstone is being actively eroded by sand-laden, south-westerly wind. The table took about 6 weeks to complete. I use an angle grinder with carving tool to create the majority of the shape. I also use chisels and rasps to refine the shape before sanding."

Special Mention

Paul Jaques Design with his 'Walnut Poem' Coffee Table 153 carved walnut units finished, on the exterior, with sealed Nitram charcoal with bronze elements.

‘If ever useless timber has been rescued to great effect, this is it. Huge effort has been made to maximise the beautiful English walnut grain, with numerous small carved units which combine to produce a truly inspirational piece.” (Judges Comment)

We spoke to Paul in some detail about this special table:

"2 years ago I was offered some walnut. I drove to Wiltshire to pick it up and found that it had already been logged and not left as usable lengths. I brought a load of 12" pieces home and left them to season for a year. I was confined by the size of the pieces and I have made a multi-unit structure which shows the fabulous qualities of the timber. Small bronze elements drip down into the centre to give a dynamic element to the piece. The exterior is deliberately "hacked" to simulate chain-saw brutality and coated with charcoal to represent the burning of logs."

The poem that accompanies the table and some 'in the making of' photos can be found in the pieces feature:

2015 Award


Matthew Burt's Bow - Fronted Chest Of Drawers

“Simply exquisite craftsmanship: Imaginative quartered ash drawer construction.  The British ash is enhanced by careful selection of the olive colour on the carcase.  The design is simple but entirely original.”

Highly Commended

Gareth Batowski Furniture's  'Ely' Drinks Cabinet

“A perfect solution to a challenging structural concept using multiple timber species: Glass and carbon fibre have given a well-lit interior which is beautifully crafted.”

William Self's 'Quilted Perception'

‘A striking chair of heavily contrasting timbers.  Surprisingly comfortable and perfectly finished.”

2014 Award Winners

After much debate, they adjudged Young & Norgate’s ‘Animate’ writing desk as their winner which has been produced using 4000 year old bog oak from the peat bogs of East Anglia.  The judges were particularly impressed by the exquisite craftsmanship and decorative use of the grain pattern within the timber and also by the innovative exposed drawer slides which make the piece a delight to use.



David Watson’s ‘Stockinged Leg’ chair was also highly commended for its comfort, design concept and appealing combination of British Sycamore with Walnut. Also Commended was ‘Heart’ by Sounding Bowls which demonstrates superb turning skills to produce a romantic, elegant and tactile instrument that has a unique sound thanks to the English Sycamore which has been used to make it.

2013 Award Winners

In 2013 we had a very encouraging number of entries with some truly stunning pieces of design and craftsmanship.  Our judges named Charles Thomson Fine Furniture as their winner for his desk top tambour made using English Walnut, sourced from a huge tree growing on a fruit farm in Kent.   The tree was owned by a family friend whose grandfather had planted it 90 years ago.  Charles dug out the huge tree, roots and all and had the root bowl milled into panels that he uses for special commissions such as this.  It was the functionalityand movement of the piece along with the story and conservative use of timber that steered the Judges to select this piece as the 2013 winner.

Two other entries were highly commended. 

Eleanor Lakelin, who en,%20Ammonite%20Form.jpgtered a range of wood turned forms and bowls, was highly commended for her 'Ammonite' Form  that represented a shell or fossil.  The timber which was sandblasted, bleached, turned on a lathe and hand carved, came from a misshaped lump of Horse Chesnut burr from a tree planted in 1710 on the Boughhton House Estate in Northamptonshire. Eleanor is keen to give some sense of the power and beauty of natural forms through her work and this ability to highlight the organic nature of her work was evident in the commended piece.,%20Elevata%20Shelves.jpg


Cato Design's ‘Elevata’ Shelves in Sycamore were also singled out for their elegance and simplicity.  The shelves were designed to display beautiful objects and were well received by the judges and visitors alike. 















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