Circumstance, opportunity and other FAQs

I often wonder if choosing such an obscure name for my business was such a great idea. To the uninitiated it doesn’t smack of anything to do with furniture making, hand tools or even woodworking. It does however attract a certain amount of interest and when pressed if the interested party hasn’t glazed over within the first 30 seconds of asking the question, I can usually guarantee we’ll have more than a little in common.

It’s a two or maybe even a three part answer really as the logo has been with me since the early 90’s, pretty much unchanged. My workshop at the time was located in an old brewery occupied by a dozen or so creatives of which one was a firm of graphic designers. After drawing in mid air what a dovetail looked like  this is what they came up with. I’ve been cutting perfectly imperfect dovetails ever since and grateful for it.

The Lowfat hails from a  turn of events in 2015 that had me making, at rather short notice, a simplified version of a Roubo bench for an article that appeared in the August issue of Furniture & Cabinetmaking by David Barron. David had submitted plans, text and pictures for three separate benches but in his haste to leave for a show in the US he accidentally uploaded a folder of low res images and deleted all the high res ones from his camera. With David out of the country and committed to running the article I decided to replicate some of the images using soft wood sourced from my local timber merchant. A couple of days into the project it dawned on me that it could be a realistic option and ran the article with a ‘low fat’ alternative. Lowfat Roubo was born.

The phrase, along with the concept of slimming down a process in order to make it more approachable struck a chord; those two words summed up my approach to furniture making perfectly at a time when things were getting way more complicated than they needed to be. But that’s another story.

This latest version was the result of yet another series of serendipitous events. Asked by a customer to sign a marking gauge for him I agreed to look into the idea of doing so with something more permanent than a Sharpie. And when Ed and Claire Sutton of Firstlightworks announced they were getting into the laser cutting business I jumped at the chance to have them work up my logo. This image is one that Claire took to see if I liked it. I did and it looks even better in the flesh. A fresh line of marking gauges complete with logo are in the making and should be available in the next couple of weeks.