THE FURNITURE MAKER
Green Wood Furniture Maker
Working in an old sheep barn in Dartmoor’s Fingle Woods, with views of the Teign Valley, Alasdair Kilpatrick hews bespoke contemporary furniture using unseasoned ‘green’ wood that he fells sustainably from nearby Woodland Trust and Duchy of Cornwall estates.
Alasdair takes charge of the entire furniture-making process, hand-selecting the perfect tree for each of his commissions. Caring for the environment is at the core of his ethos, and he only fells trees that are overcrowded or compromised.
“When I make something for someone, I start with a walk in the woods, looking for a tree that will be suitable for the commission, but not essential for that eco-system. I won’t take take a tree unless it’ll improve the woodland and help balance it out,” he says. As a woodland manager for some of Devon’s biggest estates, he plants thousands of trees each year. “I reckon I plant 600 trees for every tree I cut down,” he says.
Alasdair works mainly with ash, oak, sweet chestnut, yew and cherry to produce bespoke chairs, tables, picnic benches, garden gates and other domestic furniture for his clients.
Working with green wood means Alasdair can work with the natural shape of the wood with traditional hand tools such a pole lathe, axe and shave horse. “It’s easy to shave and shape green wood with nothing but hand tools and the power of your hands and legs,” he says. “I cleave wood along the natural lines that it wants to split, and work it until I have the components for a piece of furniture. It means that nature has a say in the design of what I make, and that I can work with nature rather than against it.”
FOUR HOUR TASTER SESSION
During this half-day taster session, you’ll learn the main principles of working with green wood and will have the chance to make your own stool.
Prices start at £90 per person.
FAMILY WOODWORKING DAY
Suitable for families with children from primary school age, these half- and full-day sessions are aimed at complete beginners. Your family will work together to make a coat rack, rolling pin, mallet or even sword. Working with green wood will deepen your connection with the woodland itself. Be prepared never to look at a tree in the same way again!
Prices for a half-day start at £160 per group.
LEARN TO MAKE YOUR OWN STOOL
This two-day course offers you a chance to produce a simple three- or four-legged stool with a hardwood top and turned or draw-knifed legs.
Price: £160 for two days, including all use of equipment and materials. Prior booking essential.