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Nigel Laye

Nigel has enjoyed working with wood for many years, and is a designer and maker of wooden homewares and furniture ranging from coat hooks to larger pieces and bespoke cabinetry.

 

Entirely self-taught, Nigel made the move to being a full time woodworker and handyman after more than 30 years as a long distance lorry driver. After many years inside the lorry cab, Nigel loves being outside and on dry days can be found working on wood in his garden workshop on the outskirts of Crieff.

 

Aesthetic

Nigel takes his time to produce high quality products and enjoys knowing that what he makes will be useful and robust parts of customers’ homes for many years to come.  

 

The aesthetic of his work centres around the natural beauty of wood, and he finds himself drawn to larger pieces showing character in the grain with live edges thick enough to be planed. Voids and knot holes also catch his eye, knowing he can enhance their character with the subtle addition of resin. He says it’s often the piece of wood that decides his next project, the shape lending itself to a particular piece, such as a desk or coffee table. 

Practice

Nigel is passionate about working with reclaimed materials and his process will vary depending on what becomes available. He reclaims the oak staves and ends of expired whisky barrels or rescued wood often from storm damaged trees, all sourced from sustainable local suppliers. 

 

After dismantling the whisky barrels by removing the metal banding, Nigel selects and cleans the best quality staves with a wire cup brush on an angle grinder.  He may then sand the staves if he wants a lighter colour finish before creating coat hooks or bottle display stands.

 

When working on larger items, the wood is prepared with an electric planer flattening the wood for an even surface and depth before cutting to size using a table saw. Live edge pieces have the bark removed with a chisel and the whole piece is  hand planed, a lengthy process on larger pieces. Various stages of sanding follow and any resin work applied for both practical and decorative purposes, taking a minimum of 48 hours to fully set. This is then finely sanded and polished yielding a mirror veneer. All items are finished with either an application of bees wax or oil, protecting, sealing and further enhancing the character of the wood.

Location and Links

Crieff, Perthshire

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Work by this artisan