Latest bespoke projects

I can’t believe I’ve not updated this since June last year! I’ve been lucky enough to work on a variety of bespoke projects over the last eight months…

These include bespoke indoor and outdoor work, along with some finer joinery and an interesting deck or two.

Let’s start indoors shall we; I’ve made a storage cupboard that sits under some of my shelves and also ties in with the banquette seating that I’ve previously made.

 

My little sister got married in December and I couldn’t resist making them a cheese board for their cheese cake.

Photo Credit: Rebecca Roundhill Photography

I was commissioned to design and make a built in oak storage unit and log store, this was great fun and a massive learning curve! Installing in any house can be hard work, but this certainly pushed me. I’m happy to say that the clients loved it as do I.

I was also commissioned recently to make an indoor solid oak coffee table. This has just been delivered to its new home and the clients were thrilled with their new piece of furniture.

The end of last summer, I managed to finish my first outdoor kitchen space which included a BBQ and worktop with some storage underneath. I really enjoyed making this along with laying the locally sourced limestone for the base.

I worked on a large deck and outdoor kitchen space with Matthew Ellett, a friend and landscaper last summer that looked amazing when finished and I’d definitely love to work on more projects like this in the future.

Photo Credit: Matthew Ellett Limited

My most recent job was another deck, using scaffold boards and counter sinking the stainless fixings and then plugging the holes with oak pellets. The deck was cut in around a curved stone wall and I’m really pleased with the outcome, as were the clients. They asked if this was a labour of love and I guess it is!

So it’s been quite a busy few months and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the wide variety of projects that I’ve been able to work on.

I’m looking forward to the weather improving and to the next chapter of this journey!

Speak soon,

H

My latest bespoke oak project is complete!

I have just finished my first major bespoke oak project and I love it!

When I started the business just over a year ago from my garden, I never really thought that I would be interested in building bespoke pieces but it’s amazing how your ideas and interests can change as the business evolves. And I now find myself really looking forward to my next two bespoke projects. What’s really good is seeing the design come to life in front of your eyes. It’s also great to be able to look at the end product and if anything the finished piece looking better than it does on paper.

Bespoke Oak Project - Banquette Seating

The idea for the banquette came about because of the layout of the kitchen and the need for some built in seating with various bits of storage. There’s storage for a couple of pairs of shoes, right by the back door. There are also lift up lids fitted on two sections of seating and lastly, there will be a handmade wine rack at the other end (but is currently being used for gin storage instead!)- what more could anyone want?!

The back rest is made of oak, I made the cladding out of various bits that I had lying around the workshop. It was a great way to use up the random sizes.

Below are a few images of the work in progress:

If you’re interested in any bespoke work like this then please feel free to get in touch!

Onto the next project we go…

Speak soon,

H

New oak products now available

Over the past month or so I’ve managed to get a number of new oak products finished and up on the website. Moving away from the smaller homeware products and more into the furniture and outdoor ideas that I’ve always imagined Oak House to make.
I designed 2 solid oak planters (quite a while ago) which are now planted up and looking rather splendid – I like to try to design products that look a little different to similar items that are available.


I also finished this chunky English oak coffee table, I’m really happy with how this looks and the warmth of the grain of the table top. It was finished with multiple coats of danish oil and 3 coats of finishing wax – it’s the first time I’ve combined the 2 finishes and I’m extremely pleased with how it looks now.

Lastly, I’ve finally had the time to finish and install these oak and leather shelves. I’ve had lots of lovely feedback on many of my products but these really seem to of struck a cord with many people and it’s been lovely to receive such good feedback on a product you’ve designed and made.

You can find info on all of the above products on the website. Everything is made to order so I can make to different sizes if required – just get in touch!
Next up: I have a couple of bespoke projects about to start which I’m really looking forward to…you can find out more and see my progress by following along in the usual places; find and follow me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

New listings in my Etsy shop!

It’s been a busy month, but I’ve finally had the time to get new listings in my Etsy shop – it’s a longer process than many of you would think!

After products are made they need to be photographed which then in turn need editing – thanks Claire! I hope you agree with me that she’s done a fab job.   Choosing the type of styled shots can be tricky as you want them to look as good as possible, to help show how each item can be used.

Amongst all of this happening, I also needed to source some more packaging for some of the larger boards as they are a bigger size than anything I have made before. Once packaging is sorted, it’s onto calculating the postage costs involved before finally adding all the info to Etsy and making the products live!

All of the above is now complete and I’m pleased to say that my Etsy shop is now stocked with lots of oaky goodness! There are also a few little bargains to be had in my spring sale, so why not pop over and have a little look for yourselves…

Solid oak serving board

As well as helping Claire with the above, I’ve been busy in the workshop creating some brand new Oak House products.

These solid oak planters are 95% finished.

This chunky English oak coffee table is also not far off being finished:

 I also have a bench that is nearly complete too. Any of these larger items can be made to order and at various sizes so if there’s anything that catches your eye, please don’t hesitate to drop me an email to discuss.

Over the next few months I’m hoping to produce an oak and steel dining table for our home, along with some more outdoor furniture pieces.

I’m also beginning to think about producing a trade catalogue for any potential stockists who may be interested in my products.

So not much to do over the next month or two.

As always you can follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see all the latest updates.

Speak soon

H

 

Preparation for the MK Handmade and Vintage Extravaganza in Milton Keynes!

Since I last wrote, preparation for the MK Handmade and Vintage Extravaganza has been full steam ahead. A lot has happened in the past three weeks, after spending my first full day in the workshop, I managed a further six days on the bounce and a couple more after that. It was great to be able to see how productive I could be when making in bulk. As well as everything I planed on my first day, I also planed and machined to thickness another coffee table top and the legs for both tables as well as some bookends and doorstops. The rest of the time has been spent finishing all of these products.

The process involves:

Sanding, cutting to length, branding, a final sand, cutting and punching leather (for respective handles), marking and drilling the oak for these handles, oiling and finally putting the handles on.


After ten days, I have managed to produce serving boards, bookends, doorstops, shelves and a couple of outdoor coffee tables. What’s even better is that everything other than the coffee tables has been made using English Oak – I love being able to use locally sourced oak wherever possible.


Other than fitting a few handles on a couple of items tomorrow, I am ready to box everything up, load it into the van and head to The Centre:MK. I am sharing a stall with my very talented other half Claire of Claire Wilson Designs who has helped me massively with tonnes of fine tuning getting ready for this weekend including flyers, price lists, care info, the list goes on….

We are both really looking forward to what will hopefully be a very busy and productive weekend. If you’re reading this and fancy a trip out this weekend then come and say hi, there are 128 stalls in total with a rich variety of handmade and vintage giftable items.

You can follow our progress this weekend on:

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

As always wish us luck!

H

Finally moved into my workshop and received my first oak delivery

Hey everyone! So it’s finally happened, I have finally moved into a workable workshop to start producing my oak products and outdoor furniture (albeit temporarily as I will at some stage be moving into a new workshop on the same site).

The last few months as always have been fairly busy, we made it through Christmas and then on the 28th December, Claire and I flew to Cambodia for the best part of 4 weeks which was amazing. We travelled all around the country, saw plenty of great sights and even managed a lovely bit of r&r on 2 tropical islands.

Since returning at the end of January we have both signed up to the MK Handmade and Vintage Fair, which runs 4 times a year at the centre MK (outside John Lewis). This is now under 4 weeks away, so as you can imagine, we are both slightly flapping at the thought of being ready for it, especially as I have very little stock and only had my first full day in the workshop on Monday 6th February! We are sharing a stall, so if you’re free the weekend of the 4th & 5th March, pop in and say hi. I’m sure we’ll have plenty of lovely things you can purchase. What stock I do have left is available on my Etsy shop.

I had bought some machines (a little while ago!) from my friend Rodas at Oxford Oak, he luckily kept hold of them for me until the last weekend of January and delivered them to their new home.

The following Friday I had my first delivery of oak, much of it being English too which is great. I best say thanks to Claire for coming up in the afternoon and helping me neatly stack it all, there’s no way I could have done it on my own.

oak delivery

oak stacked and ready for working

I spent the Saturday sorting my extraction out and setting the machines up. Then finally the day I’ve been looking forward to for a very long time came: MY FIRST FULL DAY IN MY WORKSHOP!!!!!!

And what a day it was, I started work at 8:30am and finished packing up at 6pm and in that time I ripped to size, planed and machined to correct thickness enough oak for 45 serving boards, 6 shelves and a coffee table top. Not a bad effort for a first day I thought.
Planed oak

planer thicknesser

I’m back landscaping for the rest of this week but am already looking forward to next week as I am spending all week in the workshop. I’m hopeful of producing lots of finished products for the MK Handmade Fair during that week!

It’s great to finally be able to look forward and to plan as a business, once the show is over I’m hoping to be able to make some larger items including tables and benches as well as other outdoor furniture.

You can stay up to date with all my current news via:

Instagram

Twitter

And now also Facebook

Wish me luck.

H

 

It’s great to be busy but….

So this past month has been busy! I can’t quite believe it’s been a whole month since I last wrote a blog post and that there’s only a few more weeks until Christmas arrives. This month has certainly gone quick, and it’s great to be busy but it can be frustrating at times as you don’t feel that you are able to move forward. The main reason for my lack of blogging is because the landscaping has been and is so busy at the moment. We’re currently part way through a very large project in Oxford that has included a terrace, a raised hardwood deck (involving some steelwork), block rendered walls, raised oak beds and a rather large hardwood bench. However at the minute we are installing vertical oak sleepers along switch backs that we have cut out of a very steep bank.

Vertical Oak Sleepers 2 Vertical Oak Sleepers 1

All of the above has meant that I haven’t been able to hone my woodwork skills in the past month. I have been selling products though and it’s been great being at work and getting an email from Etsy come through which then gets packaged up and sent out to it’s new home.

Oak House Packaged Products Oak House Packaged Products Oak House Packaged ProductsIn fact, all of my original bookends sold out pretty quickly so I have managed to finish off some others that are now live and available to buy in my Etsy shop.

Oak House Bookends Oak House Bookend - DetailI am now about half way through my stock. The weekend before last being my best yet with half a dozen serving boards selling in just 24 hours. So if you are thinking about getting your hands on any of the Oak House products, I would suggest not to leave it too late, especially with Christmas just around the corner.

Selection of Oak House Products perfect for Christmas giftsCheers for now.

H

First sale in my Oak House Etsy Shop!

I can’t quite believe that it’s been over 2 weeks since my Oak House Etsy shop went live. Between the middle of July and the end of September, I spent on average a day a week working from home on Oak House. This included making all the products that you can see in my shop and sourcing the materials. Leather from Northampton, brass screws and brass caps – I never knew it would be so difficult to source some decent looking brass caps! And also choosing the right oil for the various items.

Oak House Leather Pile

oak-house-leather-straps

Claire and I also worked hard on the business stationery (when I say “I”, it generally means that I just agreed with what Claire said and did!).

I’m really pleased with the final branding and hope you agree she did a great job.

oak-house-business-stationery

I also spent time sourcing packaging for the various products, so we now have a spare room that houses different sized flat packed cardboard boxes and foam packaging.

In the 2 weeks since my Oak House Etsy shop went live, it has had what I feel is a lot of views (a few hundred) and I’ve also had my very first Etsy sale which is great.

First Sale in my Oak House Etsy Shop!

I’ve since been doing a spot of research on how you go about converting views into sales.

Oak House Product Collection available to buy from my Oak House Etsy Shop
Oak Homeware Collection available to buy from my Oak House Etsy Shop

I have to keep reminding myself though that;

1) I run another business which is stupidly busy at the moment

2) The fact that my other business is busy is a good thing as it pays the bills and it will allow me to spend the odd day at home or in the new workshop every now and again to make new products

3) Success doesn’t come overnight (but hopefully within 18 months!)

Cheers for now, H

Handmade oak and leather homeware products now available to buy from Oak House!

So after what seems like a lifetime and probably is in fact more than 650 days, I can finally say that Oak House is officially up and running!

I now have a limited quantity of stock FOR SALE in my very own Etsy shop – exciting times.

These include serving boards, bookends and mantle clocks. I have also made some green oak door stops and am currently working on the designs of some oak and leather wine bottle holders.

The wine bottle holders will use up the last of the oak that I picked up from Oxford Oak a little while ago. My next batch of oak will hopefully be very local and planked for me over the next month or so. It would also allow me to make some larger items including coffee tables, outdoor dining tables and benches, as well as the current Oak House home ware products from any offcuts. An exciting six months lies ahead which will hopefully involve lots of making.

I’d like to thank all of you that have read this blog and those of you who have liked, commented or shared any of my pictures on Instagram and Twitter. It’s a great feeling to know that people actually like what you do.

The biggest thank you has to go to my other half, Claire, who has been nothing short of amazing in helping me get the business off the ground. Over the last 3 to 4 months she has put some serious hours in which I truly appreciate.

I hope you all enjoy having a browse around my Etsy shop and if you happen to buy anything than that’s a huge bonus and thank you!

Sanding Selfie!

Cheers, H

 

Why Homeware Products?

When coming up with business ideas a few years ago, it was always the intention to start making oak outdoor furniture as well as log stores and possibly sheds, helping to tie in with the job I have done for over 10 years.

Ideas and designs were completed of tables, benches, stools, planters, and log stores.

Outdoor Product SketchesHowever the really tricky part was finding a suitable workshop, close to home and within a (tight) budget. I have since managed to find somewhere, although a few minor issues means I’m not quite up and running in it yet. Hence the homeware products, Claire and I started looking at ideas of products I could make from off cuts.

Homeware Product SketchesThe idea is that I would make an item of furniture and then out of the off cuts I could make functional homeware items that also looked good if left on display. I spoke to my friend at Oxford Oak, Rodas Irving, who very kindly let me rummage through his burn pile and I came home with seasoned English and European oak so that I could start making.

Salvaged OffcutsA lot of this oak is full of character; brown oak that looks like it almost has chocolate running through the grain, knots, cats paws and sometimes even the odd small split.

Wood Character detailsThe plan is to still make furniture but to also have the homeware products too, that will help dramatically reduce any waste.

We are a very close to being ready to open the Etsy shop; boxes have arrived, mineral oil has been chosen and we are just waiting on a few promotional materials to arrive.

We hope to have some stock online with the next 2 weeks so keep checking back for updates! Don’t forget you can also find and follow me on Twitter and Instagram so keep up with the all latest news and products.

Oak Homeware Products

Cheers, H