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Handmade dining tables and furniture. Made from locally sourced, repurposed, and salvaged timber. 

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Our blog is a collection of past and present projects such as handmade leather Aprons, leather goods, leather vide poche, custom made furniture, tables made from wood and timber


The Boat Project. Final Chapter

oliver stuart

Signed, sealed, delivered. Both boats are proudly in their new home. With some clever lifting and careful positioning they look just great. 

What I loved about this job was that i was helping to transform a space. Before the re-design, the courtyard wasn't the most popular. It was the smoking area of a large outdoor corporate area. So non-smokers (most everyone) avoided walking near it. Once the space was designated smoke free, it needed a 'jaz up' to make it attractive again. The foosball tables are a great addition and coupled with the boats I made the space has a playful feel to it. It gives you permission of feel like a kid but keep your corporate shirt on. 

A special shout to Neryl and Gini for making it happen.

I've added a whole gallery and I hope the images speak for themselves. I hope you like the photos and following the project as it unfolded  :-) Ollie

Bench seat. 5th anniversary wood gift

oliver stuart

Made by commission, this piece was designed with the clients input. Their new home needed a place near the front door with a dual purpose - to use simple design to break up a long white wall and for kids to take off wet shoes on the way in.

The piece is made from recycled spotted gum with carefully filled holes and cracks. 30mm stock was chosen to give a very solid feel but not look too heavy. For a piece this size 20mm thick wood starts to look light and any thinner looks a bit cheap. Like perhaps the maker has tried to save money by sacrificing design. Any thicker and it can start to look like a park bench. 

Did you know the 5th anniversary is symbolised by wood? The final touch was to add an anniversary engraving which husband organised. (good husband) This was laser engraved in the client's chosen font. nice. 


The making of a hatchet. from hand to hand.

oliver stuart

More of a visual post, i wanted to share a gallery of how a hatchet handle is shaped by hand. I use various tools, starting with the bandsaw to cut out a basic shape from a stancil. I then use various rasps, spokeshaves and drawknives to carve out the final handle. The Japanese Saw rasp is by far the most useful tool for the purpose. Together with a good vise of course. If you like the look of my hatchets you can read more here

Brilliant gift idea.

oliver stuart

"Empty pocket.

Empty pocket containing coins. A pocket-sized container is a flat- shaped container used to hold various small objects such as keys, coin, subway tickets , etc. That one does not know where to store and that hitherto encumber the pockets."

How good is Wikipedia?!? French translation, yes, but the point is made well. In reality it is a travel accessory. The ideal thing to throw in your suitcase and take out when you get to the hotel so you have somewhere to keep your phone, wallet, room key etc. 

The Vide Poche (veed posh) is an amazing gift for someone who has everything. At worst, they'll on give it and the new recipient will be sure to love it.

If you're keen they are all up on the shop and ready to ship

New in Stock. Leather Aprons made in Sydney

oliver stuart

They say necessity is the mother of invention. Never a truer work spoke in my opinion. And after a thorough test period, my Leather Aprons are now available on my shop. When the good folk at Cobbler in West End, Brisbane dropped me a note asking about leather Aprons, I put my nose to the grindstone. 

My first apron was better suited to a welder or blacksmith. Tough as nails, the 2.2mm thick leather will never wear out, but behind a bar, movement is key. The finished product is using a heavy garment leather. It's a little under 1mm thick so moves with the body and offers strength at the same time. They are surprisingly cool and breathe well. 

Because they carry a little weight, the straps on a leather apron need to sit over the shoulders not around the neck. I either use a thicker leather for the straps, or a double layer as pictured in the red apron below. The stitching is all done on my industrial sewing machine using an extra thick durable thread. It's double stitched and reinforced around the joins and pockets. The rivets are all punched by hand.

My aprons are currently being worn at Cobbler in Brisbane, soon to Open Saville Row also in Brisbane at Coffee Beats Drinks in Jindabyne   and soon by the talented epicurian Jess Arnott in Perth

The Boat Project Part 4

oliver stuart

Nearly there! 

With the first half of one boat complete, my theory of construction proved sound and I could start on the other three halves (yes, three halves). These all came together pretty quickly with the use of structural plywood, waterproof glue and about a thousand screws. No joke, I nearly got through two packets of 500. 

The blue boat in the pictures is a Hartley. In its day, about 1955, it was state of the art! A small power boat good for fishing and putting around with the family. The red one was a sailing boat. It is a little smaller and a whole lot lighter than its vintage blue cousin. 

Upon finishing construction of these two little beauties, I have a new appreciation for wooden boats. You see -  in the mainstream, they stopped building boats from wood a long time ago. So like an old hot rod, they have a certain street (river?) cred and charm to them. I'm even tempted to try and find another one, and restore it nicely. Probably without cutting it in half ;-) 

The Boat project part 3

oliver stuart

If you've just tuned in, we are cutting a couple of boats in half and making lovely little seated areas out of them. The first boat is in two pieces and building has commenced. 

Once i'd replaced the flat floor, I could start building the seat section. The structure is based on weight pointing downward. The boat is supported by by a 35mm cradle structure and every point is stable. Kids can climb on any part and it is steady as a rock. The new floor supports the seat section which can happily seat three people (even though we all know three's a crowd, unless you've seen Vicky Christina Barcelona and then three is awesome).

So the front is replaced, the seat is built, all sharp edges are smoothed off and it's ready for a coat of paint. 

...any one want to give it a name? 

The Boat Project Part 2

oliver stuart

Measure twice, cut once. Sage advice when you take a chainsaw to a wooden boat. It is a peculiar thing to do really. Cut a boat in half. Everything about the structure is designed to float on water. And I go and do the opposite. Cut the thing in half with a complete disregard for buoyancy. 

During this stage we really found out what we were dealing with. The paint was all stripped off, loose parts removed, sharp edges smoothed and the first boat was cut in half. 

So far things are looking pretty good. The boat is free from rot and outer surface is just about ready for a coat of paint. Next step is to make them steady on their (new) feet and plan the seats.

The Boat Project Part 1

oliver stuart

Every now and then a project comes up that I just can't say no to. This is one of those projects. In short the brief asked me to find two vintage wooden boats, cut them both in half cross ways, clean them up beautifully, paint them and build lounge seats into their hulls. Good brief.

Today i took delivery of the boats and moved them to my workshop to begin the process. It actually reminded me of a time I was transporting a 61 Mini cooper on a car trailer - everyone stops for a chat :-) it's really lovely to hear the stories that strangers have to tell. Just stop at the traffic lights or for fuel and people love to ask a question or share a story. I makes a big city feel like a small town. Could it be the new online dating? Just drive around with interesting cargo on a trailer and suddenly you're meeting new people left right and centre. Come to think of it, you could choose the cargo to influence the type of person that comes over for a chat... I digress, but it's a fun idea. 

To keep an eye on the blog subscribe here and over the next few weeks and I'll keep posting photos and stories of how the project develops. 

Giving back – I'll plant a tree for every purchase

oliver stuart

What does giving back mean to you?

For me it means leaving this world in a better way than I found it. It's actually my 'WHY' in the Simon Sinek sense of the word

"To Leave this World in a Better Way Than I Found it"

So my promise to you, is that I'll plant a native tree for every piece I sell. From my years studying horticulture, two trees stand out, Eucalyptus leucoxylon, the red flowered yellow gum,  and Eucalyptus marginata, the jarrah tree,  with the white flowers pictured above. Both are ideal for local bees and thrive in the Southern Highlands. For 2017 the trees will be planted on the 10 acres surrounding my workshop in Moss Vale, NSW. If I need the space, I'll continue to plant in local areas in need of bush regeneration. I look forward to sharing the photos as they grow. 


The Byron Laptop case

oliver stuart

This piece didn't come easily, and as is often the case, creativity appears at odd moments.

By the time I had this piece designed, I'd wasted a good deal of leather and completly run out of thread. These bursts of creativity can actually be a bit of a problem, as I often vanish or simply forget that I'm supposed to be somewhere. But the result is often worth it.  

It was during a week of down time in the Byron Bay Hinterland. Not only did Bangalow Shoe Making come to the rescue but Rachel left me with the finest waxed Italian thread I've ever used. Given to her by a travelling Italian leather worker. I have enough thread left for one more case. If you're interested, drop me a note and I'll see what I can do. 

You'll notice the shape of the fold over flap securing the case - a long shallow angle followed by a short steep angle. It's a shape I use in a lot of my pieces. It actually mimics the shape at the base of the handle of an axe (something else I enjoy making) and I find the proportion satisfying to the eye. The dye is made from vinegar, coffee and red wine reduced to a syrup and applied with a stiff coconut bristle brush. The weathered effect brings an earthy, old feel to the leather. This is a beautiful contrast with the ultra modern design of a new 15in macbook pro. 

Drop me a note or click through to my shop if you'd like one

You are part of the process - Leather Bags

oliver stuart

Opinions welcome! Ladies (and gents) I'd be keen to hear your thoughts on my first women's handbag...

...So started a recent insta post on handbags. A couple of things became clear - There's not one perfect bag to suit everyone, but a this style of handbag needs lots of pockets on the inside and a bit of security for valuables. 

The comment thread is below... please add to it if you'd like to contribute to the design. I'll blog about it again with the second version. Or click through to my insta profile here 

undercoverarchitectStunning @oliverthrosby ... I'd be keen to have a way to close the pocket on the outside ... it's probably where I'd shove my phone and keys, so wouldn't want the coming out easily if the bag fell over, or someone else reached in.

undercoverarchitectBut I love the wide base and how sturdy it looks because I punish punish punish my handbags ;)

oliverthrosby@undercoverarchitect nice adds Miels. I'll look at that for stage 2 🙂

mincoombesMe me ... I have thoughts 💭! Looks really well made. A few tip bits... 1) internal pockets are really important for stashing cards, phone etc. 2) you need a key 🔑 strap with a clip on the end. It ensures that keys are swimming around at the bottom of the bag and you can easy grab the strap (looks like you have the strap, but not the extension) 3) cannot tell the dimensions however so long as you can get an A5 notepad in there it will fit all wallets and make up bags etc. 4) I really like the height of it. 5) can you make second gen with a shoulder cross body strap? Lol. Good luck!

oliverthrosby@mincoombes nice comment, thanks! Internal pocket is a common theme. Shoulder strap might have to be an optional extra. Some like some don't. Yes fits a 15In notebook. Cheers hey.

loscbrownPutting that singer to good use Throz. Nice work!

oliverthrosby@loscbrown cheers Ty. But this one is all stitched by hand. Every tiny little hole by hand

hsmdittyIt's beautiful. What does something like this go for?

oliverthrosby@hsmditty fair question. As this is the prototype, too many hours went into it to sell. I imagine when the range is available they'll be around the $350 mark.

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Wallets in Leather. an exercise in hand stitching and fit

oliver stuart

Nothing simple about them, wallets. Every man has owned their perfect one and once you've had the perfect wallet it's hard to ever get back. (kind of like something else now I think about it)

I have a couple of simple beliefs on wallets and chief among them is coins. There's no place for coins in mens wallets. Disagree if you like, but you'll find no quarter for them here (to re coin a phrase). Coins shorten the life of your leather goods and make the piece so thick it will ruin the cut of your trousers. move on. 

Most commercial wallets use very thin chrome tanned garment leather. This is to keep the wallet thin while using several layers of leather to separate cards etc.

A note on tanning - we can separate tanning into two camps, 1. Chrome tanned, 2. Vegetable tanned. Chrome tanning is most all of the leather you see day to day. not so great for the environment as it put various minerals and chromium into local waterways. Vegetable tanning uses Wattle or Oak tree bark and several salts to convert the leather from skin to a leather hide. Think saddles and horses. It's very tough and ages beautifully but the thinnest veg tanned leather gets is about 1mm - too thick for several layers of wallet. The top three images are all made with veg tanned hides. The lighter of the two is dyed with reduced coffee and vermouth. It retains the lovely aroma of coffee months into using it. 

I tend to prefer veg tanned leather for small pieces like wallets and the design is such that cards sit together and space is made available for notes behind them. Aussie dollars are fortunately among the smallest currencies. A wallet in the U.S will need to be longer and the British will need a taller version to accommodate their heavy Pound Stirling. 

The trick to a long last lasting veg tanned wallet is hand stitching. It's not a quick process, but a machine will struggle to produce such sturdy results. Each hole must be punched with an awl or stitching chisel and then two needles are used simultaneously to 'saddle stitch' the edges together. Finally a line of stitching doubles back on it's self three stitches to keep it secure. 

All my wallets will age beautifully. Some scuff up nicely and others will develop an aged shiny patina unique to you.