• NickRDFowke

He who says he can & he who says he can't are both usually right . . .

Title quote by Confucius.

Right.  In my first blog post I mentioned a little bit about my background and I mentioned a comment that was made by a supplier I was working with and someone who I consider a friend.

I had been helping him in the evenings out of hours, getting to grips with a new CAD package, we talked a bit about my career aspirations.  I mentioned that I was playing around with the idea of designing and making my own furniture.  I had a few sketches with me at the time which I shared with him.  From those scribbles he reckoned that he saw promise.  I had a healthy amount of respect for him as a business man and grafter and valued his opinion greatly so I chose at that point to channel more effort into the furniture.

So over the coming weeks and months, those random sketches turned into more detailed sketches.  Some went off at different tangents but ultimately I then started working out of hours to turn the random doodles into 3D models.

They were now digital day dreams . . 

My efforts at this point were focused solely around a chair design.  The frame was originally tubular and oval in section and after some research and some good old fashioned phone calls to a few people.  I was able to filter out and hunt down some people who may have been capable of making these forms a reality.  This provided me with my first real decision and ultimately my first reality check. 

The price of one single chair frame was rapidly approaching the price that I wanted to be able to sell a whole chair and table set for!

The complexity of my first design/draft had resulted in me having conversations with sculptural metal crafters and professional rare and classic car panel beaters . . .

It was time to get real and re-evaluation my plans.  

The chair in this form was possible, (each chair back bone being individually formed out of a sheet by manipulating it around a master 'core' essentially) but at an extortionate cost and whilst I wanted to concentrate on low numbers of units for a worth while sum, this was simply beyond me as I was self funding the whole thing as and when time and money allowed.

So I started again.  Over the weeks to follow, the oval framework morphed into an arrangement of flat ribbons of steel, some of which would be rolled and others simply cut from flat sheet and assembled to create the form that I was striving for.  This was starting to look promising this time around.  More CAD time, more drawings and further lengthy lunchtime rounds of phone calls, emails and NDA's later, I had some potential and financially viable routes for getting the first prototype chair frame made.

I mention NDA's (Nondisclosure agreements) because from the off I wanted to protect myself.  Not through built up ego but just incase I was onto something.

"I wanted to protect the time I was investing in this venture and ultimately my own personal dream."

So, I can get the chair made!  Great!!!  However, there was one small complication.  I was desperate to keep the production/sourcing local to me but at the time I could not find anyone locally to form the circular rings I needed for the seat base and base of the chair.  Rats!

So I ended up on this occasions having to break one of my own rules and go through a "middle man" company to find a supplier in another part of the UK who could create them.

The rest of the frame sections were made locally and after an arduous wait, I collected the various parts and had the first really memorable moment in this journey.  My girlfriend (now wife) and I, sat on the kitchen floor holding the portions of the first chair in place while I tried to take a couple of photos.  In my eyes, it looked awesome!!

The first frame was properly under way . . . time to get the MIG welder out of hibernation . . .

Contact Info

Chippenham, Wiltshire, SN15

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