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         Patrick Turk - Cabinet maker

Patrick Turk comes from a long line of well-respected London Master Tradesmen.  He can trace his ancestry back to 1706. In each generation there have been either Chair Makers, French Polishers or Cabinet Makers. 
Many of the hand tools Patrick uses today are the same ones used by his great grandfather who was a chair maker in Bethnal Green, London in the late 1800's.

























Above photo shows Patrick using a spokeshave to shape the edge of an end panel for a Monk's seat.

Established as a Cabinet Maker and Furniture Restorer for over 30 years following a 4 year apprenticeship in furniture restoration and wood turning, Patrick has gained a wealth of experience and knowledge in the design and construction of furniture through the ages. It is this knowledge that he draws on when creating the pieces for the Forest2Furniture collection.

Although the company he served his apprenticeship with were not cabinet makers this was not a problem for him, as Patrick has always had a natural ability to look at a piece of furniture and know how to make it.  He says "I can't explain how or why but I just know how to make it.  It must be something in my genes passed down through the generations".

He says "It would be nice to say that the furniture starts as a sketch on a drawing pad; from there a working drawing is made so that a cutting list can be prepared. 
However, sometimes there are no sketches or drawings; sometimes I just have a picture in my head of the piece I want to make and need to go with the flow allowing my hands and mind to work in unison."

Arm detail of patrick turk's signature piece - settle                                                       

As with all artisans and their art, it is the medium in which they work that dictates how the final piece will turn out. In Patrick's case it is the characteristics of the timber - the grain pattern, the colours, the knots, etc - that determine the final design.

Being able to see the tree in its natural environment in the forest, controlling the cutting, milling and drying phases through to the finale of the finished piece is a tremendous buzz that few artisans ever enjoy.


                              He who works with his hands is a labourer
                     He who works with his hands and his head is an artist  
            He who works with his hands, his head and his heart is an artisan
                                                                                  (St Francis of Assisi)

Arm detail of patrick turk's signature piece - settle
        Making The Furniture

Patrick uses traditional techniques and methods in the construction and finishing of his furniture.

Each piece is hand finished using a pure beeswax polish the recipe for which has been passed down from generation to generation.

The photo below shows Yew squares being set out for an inlayed chess board before cutting in begins.




Settle in the 'white' (this is the term used for furniture before any finish is added) waiting for the first coat of stain prior to being polished.


child's monk's seat in sweet chestnut from forest2furniture

Child's Monk's Seat before staining and polishing process begins.

The wood finish should not be to smooth otherwise the stain will be unable to find it's own level when soaking into the wood.

The picture below shows how boards for a table top are secured together
by cutting a mortise into the edge and then fitting a loose tenon into it.
Once the boards are fitted together these tenons will be pegged in
the same way as any other mortise and tenon would be which will
result in the boards being held firm together.


Once the timber leaves the woodland and arrives at Patrick's premises for drying it doesn’t leave until it is made into furniture.This gives him complete control of the drying process and ensures that the carbon footprint is as low as possible.

He uses off-cuts for firing the cooking range and the shavings are either formed into bricks for burning or are sent to a local butcher who then uses them for smoking meat.


The photo above shows the first stages in the assembly of a dining table top in Sweet Chestnut.
The boards are jointed together using loose tenons of old Oak in mortises in the board edge and secured with dowels.


Signature piece:

A signature piece defines who you are and how you view the world; it helps others to see the real you.

As an artist, you should only have one signature piece and the Settle, which you’ll see the end profile of on every page of this website, as well as on the leaflets and banners advertising the exhibitions is Patrick Turk's.  It’s the first piece to be made under the Forest 2 Furniture name and, for him, marks the beginning of a special time in his life. 

The settle is made from Sweet Chestnut and Patrick has incorporated pieces of timber with knots & holes that other cabinet makers would have discarded.  He is a great believer in the parable of the rejected building stone that became the key-stone of a great building.  In the same way Patrick tries to use as much of the timber as possible to create his beautiful pieces of functional art.

Now that you've seen how we transform fallen trees into furniture please feel free to view the collection.



Arm detail of patrick turk's signature piece - settle

         
Contact: Tel: +44 (0) 1623 794406   Email enquiries: Here