Commissioning and materials

Here you will find details on how to commission an item and some details regarding materials.
Commissioning
Commissioning a bespoke box is not difficult and, in most cases, not necessarily any more expensive than those already for sale in the shop. The primary difference is that you get a design that you are involved in making.

The process for commissioning a box is simple. You contact me via the contacts section and we will discuss your requirements. These can be bespoke marquetry, choice of woods/ veneers, finishes, interior layouts or sizes. We then agree a price and you pay a £50 deposit to cover the initial cost of materials

What to choose can be confusing, so you will be supplied with images of the veneers/ woods that will be used, designs of any marquetry/ parquetry for your final agreement, choices of hinges and lock’s/ latches and finally the finish.

Pricing is based on the materials used, complexity of any designs, the finish, the types of hinges and locks, and the interiors requested. To give an example of the differences, in the images below, there are two Bird’s Eye Maple veneers. The normal veneer is priced at about £20 per small sheet. The fumed veneer is over £60 per small sheet.

Materials
“Real wood is better than Veneer.”
You may hear this opinion voiced by some people, usually purveyors of oak furniture. The opinion is superfluous. Firstly, veneer is real wood, it’s just cut differently. Secondly, they both have their strengths and weaknesses. Veneers need a good substrate such as high quality birch ply or another less expensive wood to be glued against in order to give it strength. Real wood is only as good s the quality of the wood and the joints made in the item. A rubbish joint is a rubbish joint. Veneers offer greater choice of figure. They are more stable, sustainable and ecologically friendly. The best designers use combinations of solid wood, veneers and other materials to give the client the best product to fit their brief/ price range, no matter whether it’s a jewellery box, a piece of furniture or a Rolls Royce (Who use all types of woods).

Finishes.
This refers to the “Coating” that is put on your box. The finishes vary in price but also in time taken to apply. For varnishes, there is a minimum of three coats followed by buffing. One day is left between each coat. Danish Oils require about 4 coats and may be finished with a wax coat. All in, this takes about a week till final curing. French Polishing may take over 20 coats and a few weeks till it is cured. Not all woods are suitable for French coating. Danish Oil is usually my favourite finish as it is easy to apply, even once you own the item, and it really enhances the colour of the wood. French Polish does not like heat, water, alcohol or any thinner/ turpentine based products.

No matter what wood item you have, only use high quality polishes and oils on them. Household spray polishes are best steered clear off.

Below are some images of the veneers and solid woods I have available at the moment. These are in addition to a selection of colourful dyed Spanish Tulipwood veneers, Ebony and Purple Heart blocks, and Oak is always easily obtainable. Different woods and veneers can easily be ordered in, so please don’t feel limited by the selection below.