I am a cabinetmaker who has been producing marquetry furniture for the past twenty years using traditional tools and methods of the 18th and 19th Century. I am one of few craftsmen using this process of marquetry in the UK.

The path I have chosen to take has been quite unconventional as surprisingly my first interest was not in wood but in the use and collection of antique woodworking tools. I became fascinated by what these tools were used for and most importantly how you used them. Trips to dealers, auctions, antique shops and junk shops resulted over the years in a collection of old tools and books.

The greatest challenge was trying to use the old woodworking planes, sadly, even the older generation of craftsmen had been raised on routers and spindle machines and were unable to help me unravel the mysteries of using these tools correctly. I had to rely on books which were very vague and I began to realise that I was going to have to be my own apprentice.

I learned the skills of the old time cabinetmakers, much of the time working in my own small workshop with little or no machinery. If I needed a piece of wood for part of a job I had no option but to plane it up by hand.

I attended College at the age of 23 and obtained a City & Guilds in furniture making parts 1 & 2 and furniture advanced studies. In 1989 I also received the Norwich City College School of Crafts & Technology Furniture Craft prize for excellence in furniture making.

The college taught modern furniture woodworking techniques, involving the use of machine tools, although I preferred work 'at the bench' using hand tools.

My final project at college involved cutting by hand all the mouldings, and laying the veneers by hand using wooden cauls, beares and hand screws. I wanted to learn and use the old woodworking methods.

After extensive searching on the internet I discovered an English speaking graduate Patrick Edwards from one of the most prestigious trade schools in France who had studied with Dr. Pierre Ramond.

Patrick had studied marquetry in Paris between 1991 - 1995 and alongside his restoration business he now runs the America School of French Marquetry.

I attended classes in marquetry in California fulfilling a 15 year dream. The course was a great success, much of what I already knew was confirmed and the grey areas were clarified and a wealth of new material was forthcoming. My Chevalet was seriously modified on my return from California.