Specialising doesn’t mean missing out

272 Words - Posted on 3rd May 2018

An expert woodworking demonstration at Rowden Atelier

The next step?

One of the hardest things a new cabinetmaker has to decide is exactly what they want to do with their lives. (By the way, this probably isn’t limited to cabinetmakers!)

Trust wood to be so versatile that you could as easily find yourself making chopping boards as the table they’re used on, the kitchen cabinet they’re stored in or the extension they live in. Tell someone you’re a cabinetmaker and its anyone’s guess as to what they think you actually do, unlike, say, a painter or a plumber. 

And so the question for the cabinetmaker becomes one of, “what would I like to do?”, or rather “what would I like to do that’ll make me a living?”

The good news is that you don’t have to do everything. In fact very few cabinetmakers do. The other good news is that makers often have very different ideas about what they want to do. This means that there is no real problem specialising as you’ll usually find someone who can help if you aren’t set up for a specific project or job. We have outsourced work beyond the scope of our workshop as often as people have outsourced work to us, and we’ve made money both ways.

It is a real challenge to set up a workshop that can do everything, but it doesn’t matter, you don’t need one. All you need is confidence in what you do and do well, and a bit of knowledge about what other people do and do well. Simple!

Until next time,


Lakshmi Bhaskaran

Writer at Rowden Atelier
Lakshmi Bhaskaran studied at the Rowden Atelier in 2008, following on from a successful career as a design writer and author. It was at Rowden that she met her husband and business partner, Jonathan Walter. The pair set up Bark Furniture in 2010 and now run a successful furniture business, based in Cornwall, with clients all around the world. Lakshmi has written for renowned publications like Wallpaper, and has authored five books in the design area.
Lakshmi Bhaskaran

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Categories: Making furniture

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