The Latest From Our Blog…

Family tree - heirloom boxes
19th July 2019
The story behind four special heirloom gifts The best commissions involve a creative and fluid interaction and understanding between the client and designer and this project epitomises this process. Having previously commissioned Edward to make a chest of drawers and delighted with the outcome, our client asked Edward to consider designing four* gifts that would become heirloom pieces for her grandchildren. Family Tree - heirlooms boxes Starting with an open brief, it took a few months to finalise exactly what form this commission would take, during which time the basic concept was born: to incorporate the date of birth of three generations of the family within the design of our Murano veneer. The curved Murano pattern represents the annual growth rings of a tree, with the dark fumed oak core symbolising the year 1933, and the subsequent dark fumed oak lines marking each family member’s year of birth. Family Tree in the making Executed to an exceptional level of craftsmanship by our cabinet maker Peter, two boxes have been made in elm and two in walnut, each containing the same dark fumed oak inlay lines. Juxtaposed with the Murano, the end of the box was designed to represent the bark of a tree. Taking inspiration from traditional Hakone marquetry and Tunbridge ware, hundreds of tiny squares of end grain create a unique smooth pattern resulting in a striking visual contrast. Using a bespoke bearing mechanism, the boxes pivot from one corner enabling the lid to swivel open to allow access to a shallow upper tray, which also opens to reveal a deeper second tray that has an illusion line to the outside. Heirloom box shown in in elm with fumed oak (left) and walnut with fumed oak (right) *Our client was so delighted they’ve since commissioned an additional one for themselves! Family Tree - heirloom box <back to blog
Cherishing Craftsmanship!
17th July 2019
Over the past ten years we have had the immense pleasure of working on some truly amazing projects, some that even now make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up on end. One project in particular changed even my perception of what we do and made me fall in love with cabinet making all over again. If you’re not the hands-on type I can appreciate that at best this sounds geeky and weird but let me try and explain. At the beginning of each project you’re full of ambition and partially ignorant to the true scale of the challenge ahead. You start with great excitement and importantly with a clean sheet. Unlike writing this article, where I can delete my mistakes, as a cabinet maker you more often than not have to live with them. Being a perfectionist, this can be enormously frustrating. To counter this, you plan with foresight, jot down notes, sketch, consider the various processes and jigs required and go to sleep trying to build in your mind a three-dimensional picture of each joint and component. You plan the timber out methodically, allowing for natural splits, knots, the occasional lead shot, and human mistakes whilst trying to keep your options open as much as possible. Then it’s full steam ahead and only experience tells you when you need to put the brakes on and take a step back. The further into the project, the greater the responsibility builds. You’ve taken a simple but beautiful piece of timber, cut it, bent it, shaped it, glued it, shaped it some more, sanded it, sanded it some more, until it becomes a recognisable and tangible piece of furniture. In some cases, this can be the culmination of months of hard work, thousands of tiny decisions and numerous jubilant highs and nail-biting lows. I can assure you high-end furniture making is not for the faint-hearted! Of course, there are varying degrees of furniture making, from rustic joinery to fine cabinet making. You will know that we do not just machine a nice piece of timber, stick four legs on it, fill the gaps with bright coloured resin and push it out the door (I think I’d rather the piece of wood was left as it was, at least it would rot quicker without the resin in it! Arrghh!). Fortunately, we work at the finer end of the industry and we are increasingly being commissioned to work on extraordinary projects. Projects that have allowed me and the team time to focus our craftsmanship skills and cherish our position as innovators in the industry. From the family tree boxes (see front page) that took over 500 hours to finesse, to two extraordinary chairs we made a couple of years ago, each one taking three months - yes, three months for each chair – it blows your mind doesn’t it! We’ve certainly been able to indulge and progress our ability as craftsmen and further explore the boundaries of furniture making. When you get to work at this level, it isn’t just a job, it’s a passion, and one that we are extremely grateful to be part of. In a world full of mass-produced plastic, it’s nice to provide our clients with a valuable traditional skill that continues to stand the test of time. Hence, I say thank you to all those who have commissioned us and other craftsmen and women alike to create beautiful objects and preserve skills that without your patronage wouldn’t exist. We cherish the craftsmanship process and we hope you enjoy the final product. Edward Johnson, July 2019 <back to blog
Ed, Edd & Eddy – new combinations!
14th July 2019
SET OF THREE SOFA TABLES Our Ed, Edd & Eddy set of three sofa tables are still a firm favourite with our clients. After receiving a Certificate of Merit from the Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers back in 2010, the design of these beautifully hand-crafted tables has stood the test of time and the tables have become an Edward Johnson classic. Hence, we celebrate their tenth year in production as well as the tenth anniversary of Edward Johnson Ltd. Forming part of our Sussex Collection of smaller items, we recently made five brand-new sets of the Ed, Edd & Eddy tables in the following timber combinations: Burr elm with fumed oak legs Burr elm with oak legs Rippled French walnut with fumed oak legs Ebonised French walnut with fumed oak legs Burr elm with a combination of walnut, oak and olive ash legs You can see all of our available sets ready for immediate purchase in the ‘Made & Ready’ section on our website, or they can be made to commission in the timber combination of your choice. Burr elm with fumed oak legs With their elegant appearance, and designed with functionality at the fore, the nest of sofa tables is designed to fit neatly around the arm of your sofa or to nest away tidily in your room. Every element of the design has been meticulously considered and intricately designed, including the elegant detailing of the legs, and of course each set is finished with Edward’s unique silver maker’s mark. <back to blog