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David Snowdon
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Materials, Finishes and Prices

Logs at a timberyard

For more details about timber, materials, finishes and prices, then please read through this page. If you have any questions, please go to the Contact Us page.


A few years ago I made a small chest using timber from an English Walnut tree that had fallen in a gale. The client had grown the tree from seed in his fathers garden when he was a child, so it was very special for him to have that tree living on in a piece of furniture.

However, I usually have to go out and buy timber, so it is important to use only the best available boards. I travel many miles to specialist timberyards to personally select the boards, checking them for grain patterns, moisture content and possible defects.

bespoke brown oak chest of drawers

The workshop is warm and dry to keep the timber in optimum condition, to avoid any shrinkage or movement when the furniture is installed. However, timber is a natural product and some movement must be expected if it becomes drier or damper after installation or delivery. I will be happy to advise you further if required.

Small “cats paw” knots and small burrs, especially in Oak, are not regarded as defects, because the interesting grain patterns that surround them. However, pale Oak sapwood is always excluded because it is vulnerable to woodworm.

My favourite timbers are English Oak and English Ash, but I can quote in any suitable timber, including American Black Walnut, Maple and Cherry, etc.

hammer-head key joint.


I have been back to see quite a few of my commissions in recent years. Some are over 30 years old and look immaculate, wheras others have had very hard “wear and tear” However, they can be adjusted and refinished where possible, to bring them back to life again and live on for many more years.

Great care is taken when selecting and preparing the timber and the grain of each board is carefully matched to produce the most pleasing patterns.

All doors and frames, from the smallest cabinet to the biggest external door, are made using very strong Mortice & Tenon joints.
Doors are hung from the frame using traditional brass butt hinges, for strength, stability and a precision fit. This is very different to the concealed sprung hinges found in most kitchens and wardrobes.
Traditional drawers are made with dovetailed sides and run on either waxed timber runners, for a long lasting, smooth, natural action, or high quality soft-close concealed metal runners.

Recycled wall cabinet from 1988

Recycling and Conservation

I have had a kitchen made in 1988 recycled! When the house changed hands for a second time, the new owner extensively remodelled the house and used most of the old kitchen in a new extension. Click on the picture on the right and it can also be seen in the “Before and After” gallery.

I strive to keep waste to a minimum and recycle as much as possible. Wood and board offcuts are used for home heating and wood shavings are used for animal bedding, which then decomposes to make lovely compost.

I use timbers from the UK whenever suitable, or from sustainable managed forests in the USA or Europe.

Cabinet Interiors

Cabinet interiors can be made from matching solid timber, or a cost-saving alternative of high quality birch plywood, wood-veneered MDF or a tough, scratch resistant melamine-faced MDF. Shelves and any exposed edges are always lipped with solid timber.
Your quote will detail which material is used. We do not use chipboard!

bespoke ash wardrobe

English Ash

Ash is blonde timber with distinctive striped grain patterns. It is nearly as hard as Oak, but has a lighter feel to it. Although it varies in quality and colour and can be difficult to obtain, it remains my favourite timber.
A felled stand of woodland Ash trees will regenerate without much attention, so it is also a very enviromentally-friendly timber.
Colour : Light golden brown and usually with darker streaks down the centre of the boards.

English Oak

English Oak grain

Oak has the essence of old English woodlands and is a vital part of our countryside. Its hard grain is unique, with strong distinctive medullary rays that interact with the annual rings to form wonderful patterns.
Colour : Medium to dark golden brown.

Other Materials

To compliment the timber, I can offer the creative use of granite, marble and slate surfaces and mirrored panels.