Grant Anderson at the Chippendale school

Symphony in oak

Steam bending is a core skill in woodworking, involving strips of wood being steam heated in a steam box, then bent around a former to create a specific shape.

It’s a technique still widely used today, and not just in furniture design.  It’s a core element in, for example, creating musical instruments such as violins and in boat building.

But it’s a technique that requires skill and practice, and is something that some of our professional course students take some time to fully master.

One student who has demonstrated a real aptitude in the technique is Grant Anderson, originally from Zimbabwe, who then moved to London and later to Kirkcaldy in Fife.

Grant came to us as a keen hobbyist, who had already learned many basic skills from, for example, studying videos on YouTube.

He’s currently completing an oak coffee table, with nine strips of steam-bent oak per leg, set off with brass decoration at each end, and with five oak planks as its top, with breadboarded end-pieces held in place with pegs.

It’s a hugely decorative and ambitious piece that many of our professional students, as their first piece of furniture, would have chosen to make with more easily-constructed legs.

Not so Grant, whose former career was in the motorbike business, and who caught the woodworking bug while renovating a flat.

A self-confessed perfectionist, his table is a work of great skill, a symphony of oak steam bending, and a piece that would grace any living room.

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