A Makers Year 77. “Partly Open Day”

We have “Partly Open Days” at Rowden now and again. So what and why is a POD?

Years ago I had workshop foreman called Neil Harris. Lets have an “Open Day, Neil” i say. Now Neil in his spare time is a Special Constable and he looks at me sideways. “David , do you see all these shiny things around us, planes chisels, well if we do as you suggest they will all be gone in two weeks and coming up on local car boot sales” .

So we only Partly Open, I invite a speaker to talk to us after a lovely lunchtime barbecue. I also invite a few local local makers. We give everyone a good lunch and carol makes cakes for tea. Then the fun begins.


Here you see Paul our Aussie at the Barbie hidden from view is our Kiwi Shainic so we are well covered for barbie skills.

The deal for our guests is that they bring a piece of furniture they have made and talk about it. I tell them talk about the making or the design or the selling.

I usually start it off. I talked this time about a box I had made for Tony and the way Japanese planes had given me a great surface followed by no sandpaper and burnished wax had given me great natural finish. I showed them the plane I had used and the burnisher and handed the box around. Because i made it I know it would not have passed Eds box standards but I am not that great a maker now.

That was my fall back in case the chair I wanted to show didnt get back from China. But It did. This is a chair that is based on a Chinese chair. A square straight base with a curved tenuous top rail. This isn’t a wildly innovative chair but I like it. Strong, light, good looking all round, and most important, comfortable. I told them it has taken about four years of occasional faffing about with this chair to get it to this stage.

Nick Twaites a furniture maker from Honiton  and Chris Haywood from Graeme Scott furniture were up after me. they both told us really great stuff about their work but the real starts were yet to come.

Rose and Michael are both students in the last few months of their year with us. I didn’t warn them until the last couple of hours but i wanted them to bring their pieces to the party. Rose showed a nearly finished cabinet on a stand and Michael his rocking chair.


The idea is this. Doing it, standing on your hind legs and talking in front of an audience, with friends is the place to start. What we all need to do is find the words to talk about our furniture. People buy the passion


David established Rowden Atelier in 1995, a now world renowned fine woodworking school. Discover Rowden, the woodworking courses, and the work that students go on to do.

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