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Reuben Els

Reuben works with all kinds of glorious woods. He enjoys experimenting and exploring how they can be combined to create unique designs of long-lasting homewares and functional accessories.

As one half of ElsCraft, a small family run business, Reuben has developed a long term hobby into his creative passion.  Today he enjoys designing and handcrafting his wood products from their Blairgowrie based workshop.

Aesthetic

Being South African, Reuben combines his heritage and current surroundings as inspiration for ideas for his work. Since living in Scotland, he’s worked on adapting and researching different methods and techniques, such as creating ‘end grain’ boards which can take a great deal of time to craft but the finished product is something guaranteed to last for many years.  As a result, many of his items are one off designs with a strong, bold and striking appearance as well as incorporating the beauty and natural design of the wood grain. He also enjoys creating bespoke products fit for purpose.

Practice

Working with highest quality hardwoods sustainably sourced from top UK timber suppliers, Reuben has developed a collection of products which ensures every piece of wood is crafted into a finished item with minimal wastage.

 

Reuben develops an idea and design by sketching and planning the best suited wood types and sizing. Selected woods are planed and sanded to the required thickness before cutting to size ready to start making and gluing, maybe more than once depending on the item. The piece is then trimmed to its final dimensions and profiles added as required.  Sanding the item by hand ensures Reuben can control how the grain is lifted creating a long lasting smooth finish. The last task is to apply the final finish, either a food grade mineral oil combined with ElsCraft’s own recipe wood conditioner or a wood preserver to protect items from moisture. The chopping boards, are oiled and waxed over a few days ensuring longevity before being left to naturally air dry.

Reuben successfully works with the ‘end grain’ of wood pieces, this sustainable practice effectively uses smaller bits of wood, and allows for a number of striking designs.  ‘End grain’ boards have additional benefits including durability, the fibrous structure helps absorb the force from the knife edge meaning it’s resistant to cut marks, less damage to the board means knives stay sharper. Thanks to the fibrous structure ‘end grain’ boards have some antiseptic properties enabling self healing after being marked. Also they are less likely to warp and don’t splinter! 

Location and Links

Blairgowrie, Perthshire

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