Project Description




Some students join us with a very clear vision of what they plan to do in the future. Others just set off on a wonderful journey and see where it takes them. David was very much the former. He was a research scientist professionally but was also a very keen amateur woodworker. His mission was to make his hobby his profession and he wanted our help. He wanted us to up his game as a furniture designer and maker but also to give him confidence that he could start his own business and become a professional designer and maker of fine furniture.


We always push our students from day one of the course but when a student joins us with a wealth of experience we often have to push that little harder. The cabinet pictured above was an early example of David pushing his skills to the limit which at this point of the course meant lot’s of complex and exposed joinery. After a concentrated few months of intense practise under the close supervision of tutor Graham Loveridge this wasn’t an issue for David and we were certainly seeing signs of what was to come.

As the course progressed David developed into a fine maker but his design skills also flourished and he developed a thoughtful and sophisticated style. When you study the pieces made during his 3 term Designer Maker course, but also the many pieces he has since made for private clients, they all demonstrate the passion for fine furniture making which was evident from the day David entered the school. Long may this continue.

Upon leaving the skill David immediately started his own design and make business Four Limes Design where he continues to make truly exceptional pieces of fine furniture. The great thing is that David is never a stranger to the school and often visits to see how the school is developing and always takes the time to chat with our currents students and to share his knowledge. It’s appreciated.


And a few words from David:

I had a lot of experience as a hobbyist before doing the year and also had done a number of short courses at other  schools (David Savage, Marc fish etc) and had the basics nailed and could execute them well. I had also built up a pretty nice workshop over the years as a hobbyist and had all the major kit (although you can never have too much) so was not faced with a big outlay on that front.

It took me a long time to take the plunge. I had a well paid corporate job and  I was making a big career change so I felt I wanted some sort of ‘formal’ apprenticeship or training to both convince myself I had what it takes to do it professionally and also to show potential new clients I had a professional training and was not just a hobbyist

One of my big worries before doing the course was…..would I be just going over old ground and not learning much. Inevitably there was was bit of going over old ground but I found the school really flexible and found ways to push my skills level whilst the newbies around me did the basics. I really felt quite stretched.

What really swung it for me was the quality of the head tutor Graham Loveridge and the master Maker Tim Smith. Both are real expert professional cabinet makers and to spend a year working under these guys guidance was amazing and worth its weight in gold……both to pick up tips from their years of experience and also being challenged to make work that met their high standards.  As a hobyist it’s really hard to know just what professional making standard is.  After doing the year under these guys you really do know and this is incredibly helpful when you are out on your own.

I also can’t sketch to save my life and I found the drawing/design sessions tough….but very worth while. If you want to set up on your own as a designer maker, it’s coming up with appealing novel and creative designs that’s the real tough part in my opinion.  Olly and Will are good at pushing hard on these aspects but it’s really essential that you commit to this aspect of the learning. In hindsight I would have spent even more time on the design aspects during my year…….it’s really the thing you need  going forward imho.

Post attending the school, I have found Will Olly and Graham very supportive as I set up on my own.  They helped/advised me on my first professional commission in terms of refining my designs, preparing the pitch to my client as well as pricing. They have also given me the opportunity to exhibit my work in London alongside the school  which was a great opportunity to gain access to the London market.  I feel I can pick up the phone to them if I ever need any help or advice on any aspect of my business as it develops

Cheers D