A Guide To Commissioning Bespoke Furniture

Why commission a piece of furniture?

You know what you want. In your mind you know how it should look, its colour and size. You have searched high and low, to no avail. What you find is either too big, too small, almost right - but not quite. Perhaps it’s time to consider commissioning, to create exactly what you are looking for?

Why have a Conservator and Restorer of Antique Furniture make furniture for you?

Because I repair furniture, some up to 450 years old, I understand what it is from these designs that has promoted longevity. I use traditional methods such as Dovetails and Mortise and Tenons, that have stood the test of time. However, I don’t just make traditional furniture. I also use modern techniques and methods, where appropriate, in my designs. As a Restorer, I can offer a wide range of traditional hand finishes, so your new piece compliments or blends with your existing furniture. I take great care to select quality materials from trusted sources.

 

Preparing To Commission

What Do You Want?

You should have a reasonably clear idea of the size, functionality and colour of the piece. Visual aids such as magazine clippings, sketches or photographs to illustrate aspects of design that you provide can be a great help. I can provide timber and finishing samples to help you decide.

What Is Your Budget?

A piece made to your particular requirements will, inevitably, be more expensive than one factory made. The price of a piece will be determined to some extent by the materials used. More importantly, will be how complicated the design is, influencing how long it takes to make, and the finish required. If you have a budget, the design can be tailored accordingly.

Design Fee

A nominal design fee (£100) is payable, reflecting the costs of visiting you, researching, preparing and costing the design.

 

The Commissioning Process

I try to make the commissioning of furniture a very personal, enjoyable and rewarding experience in which the client takes an active role at all stages of the journey from workshop to their home.

Initial Consultation

This will take place at your home or premises, and will establish your exact requirements, particular features and dimensions for the piece. At this stage your particular likes and dislikes can be discussed and highlighted. The intended location of the furniture will, if possible, also be viewed.

The Design

Reflecting your preferences and requirements resulting in a piece that is unique to you. As the design evolves, I will provide drawings and a calculation of the likely cost. It will fulfil your practical needs.

The Proposal

Once we agree a final design, price and time scale, a written proposal will be drawn up, including Dimensions, Materials, a firm Final Price, Payment Terms, Production and Delivery Dates and the Delivery Cost.

Production

On receipt of a non-returnable 50% deposit the commission can be booked into the workshop schedule. The remaining 50% will be paid on delivery.

Workshop Visits

Clients are very welcome to visit the workshop, by arrangement, whilst the piece is being made. You will be able to see first hand the great care and craftsmanship that goes into the making of your furniture.

 

Restoration Gallery

My restoration picture gallery shows examples of my work - before, during and after restoration. I offer a wide range of techniques to make the most of your furniture.

 

Sample Bespoke Pieces

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A corner cabinet made in English Ash. This whole unit was made from a single plank of timber with no machining. Everything was done by hand.

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A Shaker Style Table made in American White Oak for the central column with the rest being made from Quarter Sawn English Tiger Oak. Finished with oil and wax. Dimensions 600mm height, 400mm diameter.

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A CD tower made in American White Oak with English Walnut inlays. The unit features tapered sides with a bevelled top and base. Finished with oil and wax. Holds approx. 90 CD's. Dimensions 894mm height, 265mm width, 250mm depth.

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A wooden base for a glass case housing a decorative item of pulled sugar. This piece was designed for Raymond Blanc's Le Manoir Aux Quat' Saisons for one of his chefs who was entering a piece in a national pulled sugar art competition!

Base is made from a rich Mahogany with a finger gap of 20mm all round underneath to enable lifting of the item. A very unusual piece.

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A double-hinged folding screen made from Utile - an African Mahogany substitute wood. The screen can fold both ways and the legs taper. All three panels were upholstered on frames with a velvet substitute material. The frame was treated with nitric acid to produce the rich depth of colour and then finished with acrylic varnish.

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A stand to hold a large Copeland plate and designed to fit under a hall table so giving a maximum height of two feet and a maximum width of 2 and a half feet. The stand was made from a timber to complement the colour of the outer ring of the plate, so I used a single board of African Utile timber, treated with nitric acid to achieve a rich colour. Both inner and outer rings were constructed using 12 individual segments joined together brick style. Several coats of Shellac were applied followed by wax.

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A display frame made from solid Brazilian Mahogany. A recess was routed into the back and the shape of the inner and outer frame cut using a scroll saw. The backing is a piece of birch plywood veneered with Brazilian Mahogany. The frame was coloured using nitric acid, neutralised and then several coast of French Polish applied. Steel wool and wax were used to give a satin appearance to the finish.

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Shaker-style bedside table with drawer made from European Sycamore with a Fumed Oak drawer pull and European Oak drawer casing & bottom. Featuring tapered legs on two sides and chamfered at the bottom, chamfer to the underside of the top and a hand dovetailed drawer. Finished with oil and wax.

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A childs-sized Shaker-style rocking chair

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Bedside cabinet with a single side-hung drawer, constructed from American White Oak and finished with oil and wax.

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A display cabinet modelled on an existing piece. We've detailed the construction of this cabinet from start to finish on a dedicated page - Click HERE to read more!



 

Contact Me

Stephen Davies
43 Curtis Avenue
Abingdon
Oxfordshire
Email: restore@stephenjdavies.biz
Telephone: 01235 200 869
Mobile: 07870 134 826