Creative Crafters-Stonehaugh Woodcraft

Image: Stonehaugh Woodcraft

Tell me more about your craft? What is it? When did you find out you were good at it?

Stonehaugh Woodcraft is part of Stonehaugh Enterprises which includes; Woodcraft, Astronomy, Photography and eventually Nature trails around Wark and Kielder forest.

Stonehaugh Woodcraft: There are two members of Stonehaugh Woodcraft, Myself Liam Reid who founded the business and my good friend John Woodley.

I’ve always had an interest in been creative arts ever since I was a kid, I’d spend hours drawing and creating. But the wood side started when I was old enough to grab a tool, I remember making a wooden otter letter opener at school in woodwork class and I was hooked.

When my kids were just  little I couldn’t afford tools or materials so I made them each a wooden chair from reclaimed timber that I work using an old broad blade screwdriver that I sharpened like a chisel, a combat knife to clean up the edges and an old hammer. Still have at least one of the chairs somewhere 25 years later.

I bought my first lathe from John about 6 years ago now, he showed me the basics and it took off from there.

Why did you decide to turn into a business?

I have worked in a factory for 26 years now, paying the bills and raising my family, but I hate working indoors, doing repetitive none creative work. I’m still there now, waiting for the business to grow to a point where I can leave. Soon I hope!

This is what I love, working with my hands, turning an idea into a physical item or in some cases the wood decides, and that’s great too!

Live should be about more than just living, it should be about loving what you do, waking up each morning with a renewed passion for the day ahead.

What will the day bring?

What will I make?

Who will I meet?

I have a little bit of that no, with Stonehaugh Enterprises, but I want more!

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Image: Stonehaugh Woodcraft

Tell us more about the process, the step by step process of your craft-From the concept to the final product.

Most of our wood is bought/sourced in the round as logs, this then has to be stacked and left to the season. This can take up to 2 years depending on the diameter of the log.

The log is then planked using our band saw for smaller logs or taken to a local mill for larger logs. Once it has been planked it is then stacked to dry this can take another 12 – 18 months, again depending on the thickness of the boards.

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After all, that time has passed, the wood is ready to use, it’s a long journey. There are times when we have to buy locally kiln dried timber to keep us moving along.

Sometimes you go into the workshop knowing what’s to do, a customer has a request or stock demands a certain item. Other times I just walk in and pick up the ugliest looking piece of wood there is and just start.

Sometimes you have a finished item in mind, sometimes the idea develops as the wood is cut away. Other times you have very little say in the development of the item at all, the wood dictates the path you take; just as you are about to dig deep and remove a lot of wood, it will show you a beautiful piece of figuring or a dramatic pattern running through the piece, so you have to change your mind or risk losing that beautiful aspect of the wood.

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Image: Stonehaugh Woodcraft

Every piece of wood you pick up is different, it may have come from the same tree, even the same branch, but it is different in so many ways. It reacts to the tools differently, it has its own ideas as to how things are going to play out, or so it seems!

Sounds mad, but then there is a bit of mad in anyone with a creative mind.

Where do you sell your product?

We currently sell our items at Allendale Forge studios and we have been doing a few small fares. Next step is Etsy or something similar.

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Image: Stonehaugh Woodcraft

Have you noticed a rise in crafters and people buying creations?

I think Northumberland has always had its share of creative folk, a creative mind needs space and Northumberland has that in abundance.

There aren’t as many people buying craft pieces as we would like, but I do see more small shops cropping up that sell an array of different crafts from various crafters. So maybe!

What is the crafting industry like?

Crafting Industry… the two words conflict with each other.

For me, we are a small group of people who are looking to make a living, not get rich, doing what we love, doing what makes us happy. We want to share what we love with those of a like mind and that is what makes us different from those who want more.

You don’t craft to get rich, although it can sometimes be a happy outcome…

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Do you recommend people starting up their own crafting creations and turning it into a business?

If you have something you love, something that makes you happy, do it!

It starts as a hobby and if your circumstances allow, then yes, you should definitely try to pursue it further.

It isn’t an easy path, working full time and trying to do everything that is needed to push your craft forward. The more successful your craft becomes the harder it is to do everything. But eventually it all pans out, or so I hope. I’m still on this particular journey but I’m optimistic that all will work out in the end.

You can find out more about Stonhaugh Woodcraft on their Facebook page here 

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