Monthly Archives: November 2015

World champion?

In the squad for Abu Dhabi 2017.


We are delighted to say that Angus has made the squad for the World Skills competition in Abu Dhabi. It’s the 44th running of the event with 50 skills on show, 1200 competitors and from 72 countries.

It’s great news and we are delighted that Angus has become such an accomplished cabinet maker whilst under our guidance and employment. A fantastic achievement but really only the start of the run to Abu Dhabi. He has made the squad but there is only room for a single competitor at the event in 2017. Between now and the competition we have to help Angus become the chosen one. He will have to raise his game significantly and leave those that make the final choice with no doubt that he is capable of winning the competition. Our good friend Gary Tuddenham, who is helping with Angus’ training, won the completion in 2007 and the UK have also won the last 2 events in 2013 and 2015, so the pressure is on for whoever represents the UK to make it 3 in a row.

So what now? Well the plan is for Angus to do at least 20 mock competitions between now and October 2017. Thats 20 pieces, each made within the competition timescales of 22 hours. It’s a massive commitment from both Angus and us here at W and A.  A commitment that we are all prepared to make, and one that we hope will win him the place on the plane to Abu Dhabi.

Go for it Angus. We know you can do it.

To follow his training keep an eye on Facebook and also Instagram. We are approaching 10k followers on Instagram and our #goangus is an easy way to keep up to date with all things related to Angus and world skills 2017.


The beauty of yew.

The beauty of yew.

There seems to have been a lot of yew used in student projects over the last couple of weeks. Harry has just finished his wall hanging cabinet…


….and Craig is busily making drawers, with waney edged drawer fronts. This influx of yew projects and the subsequent pictures posted online lead to some serious yew appreciation on Instagram, which then lead to me dragging out some archive pictures of an amazing project completed in 2014.


The starting point for the Slackwood furniture was an ancient Yew that had stood proudly on the site that is now an amazing contemporary extension. Obviously it’s sad to see a great old tree fall, but this sadness is off set if the timber is then used to create something of beauty.



The designs utilised tiles rather than large solid pieces as the yew, although, beautiful was riddled with defects such as shakes and knots. Thousands of tiles made up both the curved book case and sliding door.


The results we feel do the beautiful tree justice. Lets hope they are around for a long time to come. Just like the tree was!!!

To follow work in progress within the school and professional workshop have a look at our Instagram feed. It’s full of workshop insights and beautiful images.

Tool chest of champions!!

Tool chest of champions.

Angus’ tool chest has been getting a lot of appreciation on our Instagram feed so I thought it worthwhile having a closer look.


All competitors at the World Skills UK event this week have to bring their own tool chest. It’s a serious business as in order to make the competition piece within time there really is no time to waste searching for the right tool. The competitors should know exactly where every tool is, and also know that it is well set up and if it\’s a cutting tool, razor sharp.

Take a look at the contents of Angus’ tool chest. It’s just brilliant. Tidy tool chest, tidy workshop, tidy work!!!!! And if his attention to detail within this tool chest is anything to go on, Angus has a real chance of going all the way to Abu Dhabi 2017.



Go Angus!!!!!


World Skills UK

Angus heads to final qualifier for World Skills 2017

This morning our junior maker Angus set off on the next leg of his journey towards the World Skills competition in Abu Dhabi 2017. Having won the silver medal in last years national skill build final at the NEC in Birmingham Angus had already made the provisional squad for the World Skills event 2017. This time it was all about confirming his place in the squad proper. Again he would compete at the National finals at the NEC, but this time there are no medals up for grabs. This time he is competing against the age eligible contestants at this years National finals (they are competing for medals), as well as all the other members of the provisional World Skills UK squad. It’s complicated and also high pressure. 19 hours to produce a finished piece of high quality furniture, the drawings of which he only sees for 10 minutes the night before competition begins.


So is he ready? We certainly think so. He’s been practising hard. Working closely with our head maker Tim Smith but also having sessions up in North Cumbria with Gary Tuddenham of Parabola workshops. Gary is a previous winner of the World Skills event, a great friend of our workshop and furniture school and most importantly a very generous guy. He has mentored Angus as we approach the final qualifying competition. Offering expert advise as well as allowing Angus to spend practise days within his Longtown workshops. It’s been great for Angus to practise hard within Waters and Acland workshops but also to practise under the different pressures of working in an unfamiliar environment. The watchful eye of Gary and Ben I’m sure added a pretty intense pressure and one that will certainly get Angus in the zone.


The cabinet pictured above is Angus’ final practise project. Made in 17 hours, so 2 hours quicker than the competition allows, the cabinet has both a drawer and a door. A really impressive effort and one that gives us all at W and A confidence in Angus. Whatever happens this week we know he has improved as a maker due to his involvement with World Skills but we truly hope the journey doesn’t end here.

Go Angus!!!!

To follow his progress sign up to our Instagram feed and search the #goangus



Bespoke courses now available.

Bespoke courses for bespoke furniture makers.

Since starting the school we have offered a number of students variations on our set courses. Some want to break the longer courses into smaller chunks. Maybe doing a 3 month course split into 1 month modules. Others want to learn a specific skill or simply want to express that they have passed experience and therefore want to progress more quickly. Whatever the requirement we have always been able to find a solution that works for both the school and the student and I just wanted to use this blog to let potential students know that these bespoke style courses are available. Just get in touch and we can   put our heads together and come up with a tailored course thats right for you.

You may have to be quick though. We are getting close to being fully booked for 2016 already.