Ravenstonedale Kirkby Stephen Cumbria

A Nicheworks interview with Philip Richardson - Joinery Manufacturer & Furniture Maker


When a customer turns to Philip and asks him 'Are you pleased with the bookcase?' he takes this as a great compliment because it shows a true appreciation of his craft. Furniture maker and restorer, Philip Richardson works from a large workshop tucked away on a back road just outside Ravenstonedale. Word of mouth brings him the majority of his customers and they come from all over the country, not just the local area.


Working with one apprentice and drawing on the labour of reliable fellow furniture makers when necessary, Philip admits that he does not deliver a piece of furniture to the customer until he considers it perfect. "The finishing can be almost more important than the actual making up of the chair or table - but I also spend a long time at the design stage, first visiting the customer to see the room where they want to place the piece of furniture, discussing their own ideas and making my own initial suggestions." "I also trained as a draughtsman so the drawings I present allow the customer to see the design in detail and to scale. I will probably visit a customer at least three times during the early stages - agreeing not only the design, but also the staining of the wood and any other finishing." "I was once asked to design a chair with a very tall, straight back - the key design feature was to add enough kick in the back to give comfort and support - of course, I had to make sure this kick came in the right place, so we prepared several templates first before construction began." Such attention to detail and the obvious pleasure with which Philip practices his craft is a rare find in this age of mass produced, mainly characterless, cheap and cheerful furniture. Philip is always pleased with the work that he delivers to his customers - and they too, individuals and companies, are delighted to have his craftsmanship on display.