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I have always loved working with wood... from creating furniture and hand-crafting jewellery boxes, to hand-building my own home on Stewart island NZ in the early 1980s.
In 1995 at the Greenwood Trust in Ironbridge, England, I learned the art of traditional greenwood chairmaking.
I became passionate about the hand tools and methods used to make these chairs and returned to New Zealand determined to become a traditional greenwood chair craftsman.
In mid 1998 I established Traditional Greenwood Chairs and began chairmaking full-time.
In the six years till late 2003, I crafted and sold more than 600 chairs, mainly through a handful of top-line furniture and interior design stores throughout New Zealand, as well as directly to USA, Hong Kong and England. We spent five years on Norfolk Island where I worked as a cabinet maker/joiner until we relocated to Australia in early 2008. I have spent three years in Australia eventually seating in the beautiful Southern Highlands of NSW, just 1.5 hours south of Sydney and 2 hours north of Canberra. I have now relocated to the lower South Island of New Zealand, and studying product design and teaching.
I also teach Traditional Greenwood Chair workshops where people spend an intensive seven to twelve days making their own Windsor chair. We offer four fully-catered woodland workshops a year with all inclusive team-building Corporate Retreats a speciality.
The use of hand tools
I use hand tools our forefathers regularly used in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. These include the adze, draw knife, spoke shave, side axe, in-shave, hand saws, mallets, chisels, and brace and bits; an array of which are shown in the photo to the left.
Environmental harmony - a better future
Traditional Greenwood Chair Workshops and Richard Hare Chairs is committed to ethical and environmentally sound business practice with the use of sustainable harvesting, minimal use of fossil fuel and the crafting of furniture designed to last longer than your lifetime. The Paper Rush used in Ladder-back seats is an example of the use of recycled materials; the material is made from recycled ends of commercial printer reels.We also recycle old hand tools and would gladly accept into our care, either to use or display, any old hand tools you may have laying unused and forgotten in the shed.