Q: How did you get into woodworking?

A: One day I needed to make a bench for my bonsai trees and could not find anything to buy that would fit the bill, so decided to make it myself. That was back in 1995, and I have been working wood ever since.

Q: Who are your woodworking heroes/gods/gurus?

A: Woodworkers—George Gavaric, Hank Holzer and Grant Vaughan. Designers—Greene & Greene, Frank Lloyd Wright, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Marcel Breuer and Carlo Molino.

Q: What do you mainly make?

A: Fine Furniture

Q: Your thoughts on traditional vs ‘new’ and digital?

A: I like the joinery that goes into traditional furniture, but love contemporary design.

Q: What are you pet woodworking hates?

A: Sanding, hate it, but to make a piece of furniture usually involves several hours of sanding so it can’t be avoided.

Q: What is your desert island hand tool/ machine/ timber/ woodie book?

A: Twin drum sander with inbuilt satellite phone.

Q: The best thing you’ve ever made?

A: Don’t think I have made it yet, but I’m hoping one day to make it.

Q: Your best excuse for not getting something quite right?

A: That’s easy, not thinking.

Q: Your most often-made mistake?

A: Cutting materials too short.

Q: Your biggest woodworking disaster!!?

A: Trying to save money when starting out by using white PVA for curved laminates. At least I learnt and in the meantime found a cheap source of yellow glue.

Q: The thing I would most like to change about wood is…

A: The price of very nice timber.

Q: The thing I would most like to change about woodworkers is…

A: Stop hobbyists from going over my furniture with a fine-tooth comb.

Q: The thing I would most like to change about my own woodworking is…

A: Nothing, as I am very happy with where woodworking has taken me and where I am going

Q: My final word on woodwork is…

A: As frustrating as working with wood can be sometimes, I cannot imagine myself doing anything else with my life that pleases me so much and also pays the bills.

Write to Darren Oates at:


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