Stop faffing about!

It all adds up

It’s not always easy to explain to a client why a piece of furniture takes weeks to make. 

Many a client, I am sure, looks at us makers and thinks what an easy life we must have. A life whittling away at a piece of wood, gazing at sunsets and drinking tea. And that maybe that is why it takes a whole week to make one (ONE!) chair.

But furniture making, like all skilled crafts, is fundamentally a business. Unless you’ve a fat wedge of savings you can periodically dip into, or are happy to be a hobbyist, a maker has to earn his crust just like everyone else. 

At Rowden the emphasis is on developing skills and becoming an accomplished maker. Often it is the attitude of the maker after Rowden that will determine whether he or she will make any money with these skills.

Rowden instills a very tangible sense of pride in making exquisite furniture. It is hard wired into every student by the time they leave. Quality takes time, and time, even for designer makers, is money.

As such, one has to reconcile the romantic nature of making beautiful furniture with the hard-nosed business logic of making it efficiently. In fact, it is part of Jonathan Walter’s (AKA hubby’s) role in his business tutorials at Rowden to deal with this apparent dichotomy.

And it can be summarised like this. Cabinetmaking is a wonderfully enjoyable and creative job. It is fulfilling in so many ways. But it is still a job and so time needs to be used efficiently. Projects need to be planned, processes organised and costs controlled. 

Tea, lunch, social media, your kid’s sports days all come into it, of course, and interfere with your productivity. But if you do want to have fun making stuff out of wood, it pays to be professional. Albeit in shorts, listening to Radio 6, thinking about the beach or the mountains and wondering if you can justify buying just one more chisel.

Until next time,



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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It is where you will now find all the information about our renowned fine woodworking courses, our ethos, and why our students go on to do so many great things. This site remains dedicated to the designs and work, of Rowden’s Founder; David Savage. If you are looking for our woodworking courses, please click here.