So many woodworking careers have been carved out by alumus of the Chippendale School. Fine Furniture Guild member, Frazer A Reid set up FAR Cabinet Makers and Far Wooden Surfboards after completing the School's Professional Course. He now combines his two big passions in life – woodworking and surfing – and gets to do what he loves every day.
We spoke to the Fife-based maker about his journey into cabinet making...
What attracted you to woodworking and cabinet making?
I first fell in love with woodworking and creating at primary school during a woodturning class. Prior to starting the course at Chippendale School, I had been at university, but it wasn’t for me. I absolutely loved studying at the School. It was a really nice environment to learn in and I worked hard to soak in as much knowledge as I could before going on to set up on my own - I had a few commissions on finishing the course so really hit the ground running!
How has your cabinet making business been going since setting up?
Setting up the business at 21 was a steep learning curve - I had a lot to learn! At first, it was difficult to build up a client base and get things going, but things are going really well eight years on. I have built up the workshop over time, adding to machinery and upgrading to bigger machinery. It isn’t always easy, but I get to do what I love every day creating beautiful furniture and surfboards.
You also design wooden surfboards – what inspired you to start making them?
I had surfed for a few years before starting the course - it was my main hobby and escape from work. During my studies one night, I saw a wooden surfboard online and instantly went looking for how to make wooden boards. I don’t know how I’d never put the two together before! I signed up for a course and went on to incorporate wooden boards into my business where I make custom boards to order. I run my own surfboard making courses and have also been making DIY kits so people can build their own. I still build and ride my own boards and in 2019, I proudly represented Scotland at the British longboarding championship on my handmade board.
What have you been making recently? Any special pieces you’d like to mention?
There have been a lot of very different and special projects in recent months. I make a lot of live edge mirrors which have been very popular. I recently made a spalted beech whisky cabinet which I built using only hand tools. Every joint was hand cut and it was really nice to slow down and build it this way. I have also sent out some surf kits for Christmas and an oak dining table!