Project Description




Our students come from far and wide. From Hong Kong, New Zealand, America. From all over the world. But not all travel such distances to join us and Gareth is one of our local students joining us from a couple of miles along the road in Windermere. The great thing about local students is that we get to keep in close contact and support them in their on going journeys as designers and makers of high quality furniture. In Gareth’s case we get to watch his new business Windermere Fine Furniture develop. Exciting times.

Gareth made a number of very high quality pieces during his 3 term Designer Maker Course. For someone who had little to no experience before joining us the quality of his making is excellent and this can be seen in all the pieces he produced during his course.

Look closely at the following images and you really will struggle to find a fault.


A few words from Gareth:

In 2017, I made a life-changing decision to enroll on the 44-week Designer Maker course at Waters and Acland; I was a complete beginner to wood working.

After eight weeks of intensive hand tool technique training, I’d completed several smaller modules as well as the wall hanging cabinet project: a hand tool only project that took on mitred dovetails, mortice and tenon joints, frame and panel construction, turned handles and veneers. This was intertwined with design meetings, timber properties and selection tutorials, CAD tutorials, and one-day modules like French polishing and marquetry. I was surprised how quickly I’d been able to learn real craftsman skills, and was already producing high quality furniture pieces.  

We were guided through a machine based project – the occasional table – which gave us hands-on experience with all the major machines in the workshop. Once completed, my first self-designed project was ready to go. The brief was to design and make a table or desk with two piston-fitted drawers. For me, this took the form of my Butcher’s Block.

We were encouraged to be creative and explore a broad range of disciplines during the self-design phase of the course. I finished with three self-designed furniture pieces, which I am incredibly proud of, including the Butcher’s block, a lounge chair, and a media unit. The lounge chair was a real highlight: incorporating new techniques and testing new-found skills to the limit. I was completely blown away by what I’d been able to accomplish; I left with the skills and confidence to start my own business.

During the W&A course, I started planning my home workshop and began taking orders a few months after leaving. Since then, I’ve acquired numerous commissions and exhibited at some local shows. Like all woodworkers, I think you’re always on a learning curve, and finding out what works and what doesn’t. However, it’s a real testament to the W&A team to be able to turn a complete beginner into a professional maker within a year’s course – I feel I have learnt from the very best in the business.

You can see more or my work at Windermere Fine Furniture or follow my Instagram feed @windermerefinefurniture