Tambourine Man

When you’re a student woodworker not long out of school, you’d think that the natural thing would be to design and make simple pieces of furniture.

Not so Isaac Young, from Suffolk, who has created a walnut and olive ash sideboard cabinet comprising well over 400 precisely cut pieces of wood.

The tambour doors to his cabinet are constructed from thin strips of walnut fixed to a flexible backing of artists’ canvas.

The wooden strips had to fit perfectly, and some were carefully pared using a scalpel.  Each strip edge was then painted in orange, to provide a colourful effect when each of the two tambour doors is opened.

The origin of the tambour door does back to King Louis XV of France in the 18th century, but gained popularity from the 19th century onwards with the roll-top writing desk.  This seminal piece of furniture was – and is – enormously practical, but also allowed for clutter to be hidden away once the tambour top was rolled down.

However, they are notoriously hard to make because, for the tambour to operate smoothly, each wooden strip must be perfectly cut and perfectly aligned to the strip next to it.

It’s a credit to Isaac’s skill and dedication to detail that his tambour doors slide perfectly, revealing both a storage area and a drawer inside his cabinet.

However, Isaac has had the advantage of a father who is a keen DIYer, with a workshop at home, and it has long been Isaac’s ambition to make a living from fine furniture making.

Growing up, Isaac was not only able to learn on his father’s woodworking equipment, but intends to set up his own business, Osbourne & Young, from that same home workshop.


Scroll to Top