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
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
Although the company he served his apprenticeship
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
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
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."
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
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)
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 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.
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.
Contact:Tel: +44 (0) 1623 794406 Email enquiries: Here