It has been a pretty hectic year at Dovetailors and we have loved every minute of it. We’ve enjoyed working with some very creative customers to develop some intriguing bespoke furniture and our commercial workload has grown significantly, supported by investment in a second CNC machine.
With so many exciting things happening, our creative director David has found it hard to choose his top 5 of 2018 but here, in no particular order, are his highlights from a year that has involved us in so much fascinating and rewarding work.
The Headsprung! Design Collaboration
Our collaboration with London design consultancy Studio Hemal Patel led to us working together to develop a range of British designed and made contemporary furniture for home design brand HeadSprung!. We helped Hemal develop his original designs, produced prototypes for testing and provided manufacturing expertise and facilities to bring the products to market.
David says: “I love Hemal’s striking designs, particularly the stacked table which is bold and dramatic without losing its practicality. His approach to design is very similar to ours, marrying beauty and purpose to create something that will be treasured as an integral part of a stylish modern home.”
Wakefield Cathedral Display Cabinet
As specialists in ecclesiastical design we have been very proud to work with Wakefield Cathedral on a number of unique projects. The latest of these was an oak display cabinet which is now being used to display items from the cathedral’s history going back centuries.
It is always a great privilege to design and craft furniture for historic buildings, particularly when they have such an important purpose.
David says: “We designed practicality and strength in right from the start, reinforcing the frame with steel and the glass for security and keeping the frame simple to allow for lots of glass and a clear view of the objects within. Although this is a new addition, we worked hard to make sure it was still in keeping with its surroundings and it is a beautiful addition to the cathedral.”
Circular Box Stool
David picked this project out because it demonstrates perfectly how we work with artistic and creative customers. These kinds of projects are always favourites with David and the team because they are so interesting to develop. We love seeing where the creative process takes us, from the customer’s first ideas and challenges to the completed product and their reaction to it. This customer loved entertaining and wanted some extra seating – but didn’t want it to be just a seat. This box stool had to earn its keep, doubling up as a clever storage unit too.
David said: “I found the whole design process so exciting, passing designs back and forth between us and the customer and acting on feedback to solve every challenge and idea that was thrown into the mix. Design is a dynamic process and when it works well, as it did here, it is hugely rewarding for us and the customer. We both feel we have created the furniture together – and we have.”
We have developed a speciality in designing and making curved furniture and this particular project took inspiration from the mid-century era, which is a very popular style in contemporary furniture design right now. The simplicity of the design of the bow-fronted drawers gives grace to what is in fact a very sturdy piece of furniture built for everyday use.
David says: “The drawers have a solid oak interior and are robust and weighty. They feel substantial when opened yet because they are set on soft close runners they glide smoothly, making them a real joy to use. I love the sophistication of the design and the fact that the finished chest of drawers and bedside cabinets are functionally perfect too.”
5-Axis CNC Machine
In 2018 we introduced a second CNC machine to the workshop to support the growth of our commercial work. We produce components for furniture design companies and the extra machine will expand our capabilities as well as increasing production capacity. Getting the new 5-axis CNC machine through the door and into the workshop was no easy task, however, and that day will be etched in our memories for a long time! The new CNC machine is already an integral part of our production flow and the first projects made with it have been delivered.
David says: “This really is an impressive piece of kit and we have all been on a steep learning curve getting to know the machine and its capabilities. It was a major investment for us but it is already earning its keep and the possibilities it brings to the business are enormous. It’s one of the reasons we are all so excited to see what next year brings.”