Thomas is one of these people that from his earliest childhood memories he knew what he was destined to do. At every opportunity he could be found trying to cut, hammer, shape pieces of timber with tools way to big for his small hands to hold, sometimes resulting in a few cuts and bruises.
It wasn’t unusual for Thomas, at a very young age to have a pocket penknife, and a number were given to him by his grandparents and great uncles. Many an hour was spent whittling a stick to a sharp point.
This enthusiasm didn’t diminish through the teenage years as he would sign up to local evening classes where he started to produce his first pieces of furniture.
It was no surprise that after leaving school at the age of 16, some 37 years ago and within a few days he was walking through the doors of the local joinery workshop starting his joinery apprenticeship. As this was a rural, traditional joinery workshop it made just about everything needed by the local community, just as well as Thomas has always needed new challenges and projects to feed his enthusiasm.
This enthusiasm was met when at the age of 20 he moved to Manchester to enrol into the Manchester School of Furniture to sharpen his skills in fine cabinet work, along with learning other skills such as the basics of french polishing and upholstery.
This combination of fine cabinetwork and joinery stood him in good stead for the next 30 years, with the vast majority working self employed, producing an impressive catalog of furniture, bespoke kitchens, cupboards and the strange, unusual items, only designers can dream up.
These days Thomas can be found living on his narrowboat, Dovetail, and looking for a simpler life including, expanding his knowledge and adapting his skills in the green woodworking direction. He first started with nice simple, relaxing spoon carving, and then onto other larger, furniture based projects.
Thomas has found that he gets great satisfaction by passing on the skills he has learnt especially in the green woodworking, as this requires very little in the way of tools and machinery.
It’s lovely to unlock the potential within someone to make a simple utilitarian item from simple hand tools and even better to watch it happen.