03 February 2010

The Cabinet Maker

Len Pugh lives on Llynclys Hill, in a cottage surrounded by a variety of workshops, outbuildings and garages. In the last are stored the numerous Triumph Stags awaiting restoration by his son, Philip. In the first, ankle deep in shavings and sawdust, Len makes superb furniture, largely in oak. Cabinet maker extraordinaire, he can fashion anything one could want, in any style one could imagine. His favourite style is best described as classic Georgian - simple and enduring.

Len is a retiring man, modest about his abilities in the way that only the truly skilled are. The desk is a take on that of Samuel Pepys, in the Pepys Library at Magdalene College, Cambridge; and is made from both through-and-through and quarter-sawn oak, with a glazed cabinet at one end. The chair to go with it Len made from brown oak, wood from a tree lived upon by the beefsteak fungus (Fistulina hepatica), which draws its nutrients from, and passes its waste back into, the tree's sapwood. This waste reacts with the tannins in the tree and changes the colour of the oak from pale to dark brown.

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