New finish for an old favourite

March 27th 2020

We’ve been stepping back in time a few hundred years here at Orkney Hand Crafted Furniture recently!

We’ve decided to try something a bit different with our normal finishes to represent the traditional look used all those years ago when the Orkney Chair was made for family use.

When folk would scour and salvage what they could from the shorelines, they would often come home with various bits of mix-matched wood. They quickly realised it wouldn’t matter if the pieces didn’t match, as long as they could hide it!

A dark finish to their furniture was favoured to disguise all the different timbers, sea stains and distinctive marks made in the timber while being thrashed around in the ocean. Over time, the smoke from the peat fires would darken the furniture even more.

Back then, folk of course didn’t have the option of different finishes like we have today. Finishes tended to be made of seal oil and turps which gave the furniture a very dark effect and was quite practical in hiding the timber.

We’ve really enjoyed taking this Orkney Chair back to the true look of olden day chairs, and you may be surprised it was originally made with white oak! We think the dark finish really compliments the lighter Danish cord seat nicely.


Today, the Driftwood Orkney Chair remains one of our most popular and eye-catching chairs but we don’t try and hide any of the pieces of driftwood. Instead, we try our best to really enhance every different piece of timber and every sea stain! We find that most of our visitors and customers prefer the characteristics of the wood and want as much of it shown as possible. That’s why we chose to use a white oak chair for this dark finish rather than a driftwood one.

If you would like something that brings a bit of the past into your home, feel free to get in touch or have a look at what we have in stock in our available now page.