Orkney chairs heading around the world

June 18th 2018

This week we’ve been able to enjoy one of the real pleasures of the furniture-making business. We’ve just packaged up and said goodbye to two Orkney Chairs that are destined for their new home in New Zealand.

There’s something really satisfying about seeing pieces that have been worked on for months finally completed and then being loaded into the removals van for the first step on their mammoth journey.

Fraser's two chairs, ready for transportation to New Zealand

We must admit, though, we are slightly sad to see them go – they’ve been here with us in the workshop in one shape or another for almost 18 months!

Both chairs came from a huge 46-foot-long piece of driftwood we found on the shore in Orkney’s east mainland in 2016. This elm tree weighted in at 2.6 tonnes and is definitely the largest section of driftwood we’ve ever recovered.

It took us hours to find it, and we needed mechanical help in the form of a digger to get it off the shore! Then, thanks to local removals firm McAdie and Reeve, we were able to get it back to base.

You can see the beautiful grain of the driftwood

We think it had been on the shore for some time as it had already gone through a fair bit of its drying process. We cut it up into sections and saw immediately that it was a beautiful bit of wood – complete with stunning sea-staining and a lovely grain. We dried it out for more than a year before the chairs were commissioned by our antipodean customer.

We were asked to make two chairs in a ‘his and hers’ style, one with a larger shoulder space and a drawer, and the other one slightly narrower. The wood was fantastic to work with, and using driftwood really helps you connect with the history and tradition of the Orkney Chair, which originally came from wood salvaged from the shore.

These chairs are the result of more than a year of craftsmanship in our workshop

Both chairs have their own character. One is slightly darker than the other and there are knots and blemishes throughout, all from the character of the wood. There is a green stain to the wood too, gathered from its time at sea, and every time you look at the chairs you see something new. View our images below to see the chairs just before they were packed into their shipping crates.

They’re destined for Blenheim, a town in New Zealand’s South Island, and we’re sure they’ll become a real focal point in their new home.

These are the first two chairs from that particular piece of driftwood. Thanks to the sheer size of the find we still have plenty in stock, so if you want your own, unique and hand-crafted driftwood Orkney Chair, get in touch with us to find out more.