Do you have a Giuseppe?

Are there any families, couples or individuals out there looking for a new addition to the family home – something that will last for generations to come?

An item of furniture that is not only a beautiful sculptural piece, but one that offers stylish functionality with a Scandinavian twist that will impress your family, friends and strangers alike (should you choose to let them into your home!).

Well – the search is over – Chris has been hard at work in the workshop and produced four Giuseppe Hall Tables.  Giuseppe Hall Tables.

The ‘Giuseppe’ is a hand crafted American Black Walnut (top) and Rock Maple (base) hall table designed and made by Christopher Neal. A table inspired by the designs of Giuseppe Scapinelli – a furniture maker known for his beautifully crafted mid-century modern pieces and unique style incorporating curvy lines and soft shapes. Chris has captured the spirit of Scapinelli while creating a refined and elegant design, which would look and feel at home in any modern home. Crafted in carefully selected timber lovingly shaped by hand (for X hours) this table is a joy to look at. There is a possibility I may be biased but I have the original and I love it! See for yourself how great it looks below…

Where can you get your hands on one?

The Giuseppe is currently available from Sturt Gallery, Mittagong or why not contact us directly on instagram or facebook to find out more.

Do you have a Giuseppe?

Beavering away

Life has a habit of getting in the way of many things if you let it – sometimes you don’t even realise its happening and before you even know it you don’t even remember when you last spoke to some of your closest friends and family (let alone write a blog post :(). If any of you are reading this – you know who you are and it doesn’t mean we love you or think of you any less – we’re just flat out. There is no real valid excuse other than life has got in the way, we realise its happened so not sure what the next step is… is acknowledging the problem a step towards recovery in this case?

Being time poor and the never ending quest for a work-life balance are topics of fierce debate – I see it all around me – we are constantly online – incessantly multitasking – there is no down-time – we are distracted from our own lives by other peoples lives (celebrity, friend, foe or otherwise). The question we all have to STOP and ask is … are these distractions providing inspiration, comfort, knowledge? Do they have and are they adding value in our lives, providing direction or contributing in some way? or are they one big fat time suck leaving us time poor and seeking something else?

Chris is in NO WAY distracted right now. His focus has never been clearer and his mission never more demanding. Chris is at school, heading towards 12 hours a day, six days a week at the moment beavering away on his chair project (actually 2 chairs and a table!!) and I have no doubt the end result is going to be remarkable. Take note all you aspiring woodworkers and furniture makers out there … if you are going to learn fine furniture making, let it be known there can be no half measures – not if you are really going to do justice to the ‘fine’ and quite literally make a new future for yourself.

TV Cabinet Front Shot
Completed cabinet with the walnut burl glinting in the sunshine.

Chris is giving his all to every project, not letting his current knowledge or skills hinder the design of the piece in question, challenging himself to learn and practice the trickiest of skills, techniques and methods. If there’s one way to learn – its by doing it and giving it your all. I think we thought, when we embarked on our new adventure it was going to be a challenge and we were right – but perhaps not in the way we expected. I think the lack of time for things other than work or school with both of us doing long days and travelling two hours plus per day is perhaps the biggest challenge. We haven’t yet nailed the coastie lifestyle but its certainly on the list of things to do and what we are doing now is enjoying a rare opportunity to change the course of our lives so believe me when I say watch this space – great things are coming. Becoming a designer/maker of bespoke wooden furniture that will last generations doesn’t happen over night you know!

PS We’ll catch up with you all soon. We appreciate all your support – thank you!

Beavering away

And we’re back…

Its been a while folks – sorry! There was a small matter of some postgrad studies to get out the way which I am happy to report are now all done and dusted. Phew!

What did you miss…

Term 2 at Sturt School for Wood! Luckily if you have been following us on Instagram or Facebook you wont have missed out! If you have not been following then I can’t imagine how you have coped for all this time! I am proud to report that we now have four completed pieces of fine wooden furniture and plenty more in progress.

The first…
A BEAUtiful hall table, designed and made by the one and only Christopher Neal!! It’s not only wonderfully proportioned, beautifully finished and finely sculpted, its truly a work of art and I honestly couldn’t be prouder. Someone asked Chris whether he was going to sell it… Chris mentioned it was my birthday and he would probably give it to me – it was advised that if that was the plan – he best marry me to avoid me running off with the table!! I am pleased to report, that after over 16 glorious years I have now got what I wanted and am off! Hilarious!

The curves…
We also have a gratifyingly functional but gloriously sculpted sofa or side table – designed to fit snugly over any part of the sofa so that it can be used for drinks, nibbles, a laptop or anything you so choose.

Is it a stool or is it a table…
We are now midway through Term 3 and can’t believe its going so fast. We are right in the thick of the batch project – two of the four stools or tables – depending on your needs desire – have been completed and which you may have seen on Instagram. Sights are firmly now set on the up and coming cabinet project. Watch this instagram shaped space.

Chris completed his essay and presentation on the life and works of Hans J Wegner last week which had been looming for some time. Not one for public speaking (who is?) or particularly wordy (unlike me) it had been a rather unattractive prospect even since signing up but we can consider it an awesome JOB DONE!

PS In case you were wondering the timberbits pub quiz team is taking a more relaxed approach to attending the weekly pub quiz with their rank wavering probably less than their commitment. I am not sure I ever got to report the winning of a $50 drinks voucher but this has been their result to beat and I am delighted to report they have never come last… did I just say that? If ever there was a way to tempt fate!

fine furniture collection is growing
Our fine furniture collection is growing. 
And we’re back…

inspiration – Hans Wegner

As we know from last weeks ‘a design opportunity’ in woodwork like many other arts there is some room for variation in the process of making. Even the most elaborately laid out designs and plans are not immune to human error. While chanting the mantra ‘measure twice, cut once’ there is always a possibility that the thought of lunch distracted you and you’re off to the races. It’s almost impossible to undo a cut too short or a slip of the chisel which makes the fine handmade wood furniture available even more impressive and at times outstanding.

Although there is a world of talented individuals and collectives both current and past to explore there have been a few that have stood out so far in all the researching. We will be telling you about some of our favourites and exploring some of what we consider to be their most inspirational work right here!

First up… Hans Wegner – a world famous Danish born furniture designer. I just found out the 2nd April would have been his 101st birthday so it seems even more appropriate to appreciate his work now and his considerable contribution to what is now considered the ‘Danish Modern’ design movement of the 1950’s and 60’s. His career defining ‘The Round One’ chair came to be known as ‘The Chair’ but this was just one of many masterful works, all of which can be considered inspirational. Of the 500+ chairs Wegner developed over his lifetime, at least a 100 have been put into production, some of which are still being produced today by the family run Danish company PP Møbler (His primary workshop from the ’60’s until the end of his career) and Carl Hansen and Son (Wegner’s primary workshop in the ’50’s). ‘The Chair’ was featured on the cover of an American magazine ‘Interiors’ and hailed ‘the most beautiful chair in the world’.

Wegner, a master carpenter first and a designer second, not only made beautiful chairs but also crafted the bare essentials into complete comfort. The perfect mix of design aesthetics, practicality and ergonomics is something to aspire to (both in chair and furniture making) and why Hans J. Wegner is our first pick. Below are some of our favourite chairs – all of which are still in production and available from his original workshops.

A chair is to have no backside, it should be beautiful from all angles
– Hans J. Wegner

Wegner Chairs
Appreciating Hans Wegner’s fine work. Images courtesy of and Credits & Copyright below.

Main Image/Bottom left: The Round One‘ aka ‘The Chair‘ 1949 (Main Image pp501/pp503) © Photo: Katja Kejser & Kasper Holst Pedersen – ‘The back is carved out of a 5 inch piece of solid wood’ ‘One of the most famous Danish pieces of furniture and arguably Wegner’s most important work, it signifies the international breakthrough of Danish Modern. When John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon met in the first ever televised debate in 1960, they sat in the Round Chair.’

Top right: ‘’The Peacock Chair 1947 (pp550) © Photo: Katja Kejser & Kasper Holst Pedersen – ‘Historically anchored in the classic British Windsor Chair…its sweeping back with its extravagantly shaped sticks is the mark of ergonomic aesthetics. The stick’s flat part is located exactly where the shoulder blades rest against the chair’s back’

Middle right: Wishbone Chair’ 1949 (ch24) © Photo: Dining by Hans Wegner – Carl Hansen & Søn – ‘It takes more than 100 steps to make one – the handwoven seat consists of more than 120 meters of paper cord.’ Designed for Carl Hansen & Son and in continuous production since 1950.

Bottom right: The Chinese Chair’ 1945 (pp56/pp66) © Photo: Katja Kejser & Kasper Holst Pedersen – ‘One of his early designs inspired by foreign cultures, inspired by an old Chinese chair he had seen at the Danish Museum of Industrial Arts, Wegner worked on modernising the traditional concept and eventually the Chinese Chair evolved into the Round One.’

Middle bottom: ‘Valet Chair’ 1953 (pp250) © Photo: Jens Mourits Sørensen –‘The idea a result of a long talk with Professor of Architecture Steen Eiler Rasmussen and designer Kay Bojesen about the problems of folding clothes in the most practical manner when it was time for bed… The Danish King Frederik IX ended up ordering a total of ten Valet Chairs.’

A chair is only finished when someone sits in it
– Hans J. Wegner (Carl Hansen & Son)

inspiration – Hans Wegner


Projects so far
My creations so far… 

So I figured it was about time for me to introduce myself! I’m Chris and I guess I’m the one to blame for this latest upheaval in the lives of Laursie and I. It may seem moving from Bondi to Bulli (about an hour and a bit south) would pale in significance compared to moving to Aussie from England but this feels just as big a change (although now as citizens there is no worry we’ll be sent back!) and in many ways more nerve wracking, but at the same time feels like the right move.

I will from time to time be writing blog entries, mostly it’ll be Laursie writing as she is much more wordy! But I will try to give my take on what’s happening in the wood side of things and try to explain what I’m doing, or at least what I’m attempting to do in the workshop.

I’ve been at Sturt School for Wood now for 3 weeks and so far I’m loving it. The teachers and the other students are great, we’ve completed a few little projects and learnt a lot about the basics as well as things I didn’t know that I didn’t know!!

It’s amazing how quickly the day goes when you are interested and enjoying what you’re doing! Something I’ve never really experienced in my school or work life, but I do get the feeling these are the easy days and the work will get much more intense, difficult and time consuming!

So it’s with excitement and some trepidation that I look forward to the coming months and hope you’ll join us on our adventure!?!

PS You can follow regular workshop progress on instagram @awoodadventure


Price shavings, heirlooms and good news!

It’s a rainy Sunday and this week we have made some exciting progress but before I tell you about that I want to stop and appreciate the fine tool purveyors we have had the pleasure of dealing with so far. Armed with a spreadsheet, painstakingly researched and cross-checked, detailing must and good to have’s Chris has purchased what is needed for his first term of his course from two companies which I can only assume are going to be like a home away from home from now on. The first being Carbatec where the guy greeted the news that Chris would be studying next year with glee. Carbatec’s Price Shavings magazine is little short of awesome! (WARNING – I am a big fan of puns, dad jokes and one-liners and don’t hold it against me but I work in Marketing!) I was won over immediately by the ‘shavings/savings’ situation but looking inside its full of advertising gold!

Also want to appreciate the fine services of Henry Eckert – importers of the Lie-Nielsen heirloom quality tools. These tools are beautiful – I have no idea what some of them do but they say they will last a lifetime – I look forward to them being part of our journey and perhaps even creating things that also last for our lifetimes and beyond! So… good news! We have found a house to rent… I haven’t seen it in person yet but it looks great. We went from nothing to sorted in three days flat even though apparently it was a very competitive process (who knows whether what the property people tell you is true or not!). By the end of Wednesday we were the chosen ones! Bulli here we come!

new house
A new house to make a home!

It will be a big change from apartment living and being in busy Bondi with its hipsters, glamourati, backpackers, coach tours and ever loyal locals. What are we looking forward to most…

  • enjoying the sound of nothing other than perhaps some over enthusiastic birds rather than waking up to the sound of horns and angry drivers at the roundabout or some crazy backpackers
  • being able to get out of the house without stepping over a fellow building resident passed out drunk in the corridor
  • if we forget something on the way out, not having to climb 2 flights of stairs to go and get it
  • having an outside space … an actual genuine garden
  • being able to hang washing out in said garden! (Sad or what!)
  • feeling like we are on holidays even if it’s just the weekend in the much more sedate Bulli!

We will miss Bondi I think but looking forward to a change. Not looking forward to the actual move so much! Best get my muscles warmed up!


Career Change – A Work in Progress

So no matter who you are, the words ‘career change’ followed by ‘going back to school’ sound pretty daunting. This is starting again, it is not a ‘this will look great on my cv’ type occasion, keeping up appearances or trying to get ahead with something extra – all this is of course hard work but ‘this’ – quitting work as Chris has known it for the last 15 years to study a course in fine furniture making – is putting what he has done, up to this point, aside and starting again! School starts at the beginning of Feb so the count down is on!

Were/are there doubts that this is the right thing to do? Naturally! But if a positive change (and hopefully happiness) hangs on a decision which is in your power to make and if no change was going to perpetuate the downward spiral of job loathing and depression then no matter how nerve wracking wouldn’t you choose to change something?

Making the decision to actually commit to change and embark on this journey seemed like the hardest thing to do but I have no doubt that the hard work is yet to come!! I am sure I don’t need to tell you life in general is expensive, learning is challenging and achieving success – whatever that looks like for you – the ultimate and elusive goal!

We are however doing it… well, Chris is doing it really but I am here to cheer him on and share the journey with all of you in the hope that one day you will perhaps see some fine wooden furniture made by Chris and know the story behind it!

Illawarra coastline
Welcome to the Illawarra – Looking for a new home and a fresh start in a new neighbourhood!

PS Once Chris starts his course we hope to share all kinds of woodworking updates including showing off all his hard work! Watch this space!

Career Change – A Work in Progress