Founder, Sebastian Cox Ltd (020–8316 5679; www.sebastiancox.co.uk)
Making by hand is a great way to learn the limits of your material. You then develop a keen understanding of, and connection with, wood by working it with your hands. The tools you use become an extension of your hand and, as much as I feel this way about a plane or chisel, I think you can apply this same approach to electronically powered tools, too.
Craft versus technology
In my workshop, traditional techniques are complemented by digital technology. Digital means of manufacture, used on very simple aspects of making, can save you time, allowing you to use traditional techniques and hand tools in other areas to much greater effect. We also use digital means to help us to reduce our waste. Our Offcut collection is incredibly popular and makes use of the pieces of timber that aren’t big enough to be used in furniture. We couldn’t make them without digital tools and that material would be wasted.
For us, CNC machines create the opportunity of time. We always find ourselves wishing for more time and the CNC gives us that just when we need it. Sometimes, you spend more time making a jig than you do making the actual piece of furniture. It also gives us an incredible level of accuracy.
CAD allows you to envisage completely how a piece of furniture will be constructed prior to committing it to materials. Unlike a sketch, you can rotate the object, view it from all angles and scrutinise each component with a great
degree of accuracy.
Drawing is definitely still an important part of the design process. In meetings with clients, where making terminology doesn’t translate, pen and paper become a crucial common language.
Left: Hewn Trestle, £146