Working with my hands has become a vital part of my happiness.

I never set out to run a business, just to make furniture. Now I have to try to run a good business in order to keep doing what I love.

I am passionate about woodwork – the constant learning and mastering of new techniques or tools, the inventing and innovating, as well as the satisfaction of putting finished pieces out into the world.

Chasing the dream can often be the easy part, it’s sustaining your dream as a career that can be challenging. You have to place a priority on protecting and nurturing the aspects that drive you, without getting bogged down by the noise and minutiae of running a business.

Working with wood is often about embracing the imperfect. No piece of wood is perfectly uniform, there are knots and other imperfections, and making furniture is about working with and even highlighting these imperfections. When I’m selecting timber for a project I’ll often seek out interesting-looking knots or grain variation to include in visible areas of the piece, aligning them in ways that I think will be pleasing to the eye.

The design decisions at the core of my business are aimed at having the least negative environmental impact. The most important of these is ‘design for disassembly’. Every piece I make is designed to be taken apart easily so that each constituent material can be reused or reclaimed at the end of the object’s life-cycle. In practical terms, it means no nails and no glue, a tricky challenge with solid timber furniture.

Since starting my business I have limited my materials to only locally sourced, alien species of timber. This means no imported timber and no engineered timber products like plywood or MDF, which are often made with harmful ingredients. A lot of our imported, ‘exotic’ timber is from tropical rainforests, and while there are sustainable certificate programmes, I still don’t believe that we should be cutting these trees down at the rate we are. Local indigenous species are completely out for me, we should be protecting these slow-growth species and the eco-systems that surround them, rather than using them for timber.

While putting your work out there into the world can be terrifying, seeing people use and interact with things I’ve made is one of my biggest motivations to improve and continue. Making things and seeing a tangible output at the end of each day and each week is incredibly rewarding.

Cameron Barnes,
Furniture Designer & Carpenter