Furnishing your garden for summer | Living North

Furnishing your garden for summer


Solid Oak
We discover why it’s worth investing when it comes to furnishing your garden for summer with Karl Barowsky of Solid Oak Hardwood Furniture

Tell us where it all began for you? 
I bought the business based on a gut instinct. I was actually out looking to buy a wire strainer, when I went into F Peart & Sons who specialised in fencing – but they could only find half of one. As I looked around I found all this wonderful wood, and asked what it was for. They explained it was destined to be turned into furniture, but unfortunately they were ceasing operations. An hour later I purchased the stock, machines and everything else I needed. I went home and told the missus – who has never really forgiven me.

Why is it so important to invest in quality products like yours, rather than cheaper options? 
If you use the finest materials, time-proven techniques and the best craftsmen, you will finish up with a product that’s second to none. As a result, our furniture will outlast most imported furniture by many, many years. I am sure most of you will have purchased garden furniture only to discard it a few years later and wish you had invested in a better product.

Do you offer bespoke pieces? 
Bespoke is a big part of what we do. If you or your garden is in need of something special we can definitely help. We can visit and chat over your ideas, provide sketches, and for larger projects we have superb contacts who can easily draw up and design complete makeovers too.

Tell us about a piece you're proud to have created?  
We created a huge, bespoke curved recycled teak bench to commemorate the life of Charles Darwin. It sits in the Bristol Botanic Garden, and an overseas visitor to the garden has just had an identical bench delivered to Germany for his garden.

Tell us about where you get your wood from? 
Our FSC oak is mostly from France. Our FEQ and FSC teak comes mainly from Burma, where the finest teak in the world is available. We also source from Indonesia and other countries when the right quality is available. FSC iroko comes from Africa – Cameroon and the Ivory Coast areas. Finally, our FSC sweet chestnut is sourced from The Duchy of Cornwall forests in Herefordshire. 

How are your products made? 
We make everything very traditionally. We start by buying in the massive sawn boards, then carefully grade, saw and measure each section to ensure waste is kept to a minimum. We then cut out the required sections, plane and thickness to the required dimensions, mortice and tenon joints feature very strongly in our furniture – joints are kept tight but enough space is left for expansion and contraction. Dowels, screws and glue are all used to provide optimum strength and durability. 

Give us your top three picks to add to your garden for the summer ahead.  
My three personal choices would be our Teak Lovers’ Companion Set, where you and your partner can sit quietly and enjoy the beauty of your corner of the world. Our Warrior Teak Table and Four Carlton Armchairs are ideal for a family tea, Sunday lunch or a few drinks when your friends pop round. The Rhapsody 1500 Teak Bench is definitely one of the most comfortable seats in the world – and its wide arm is perfect for a cheeky glass of wine.

8a Park View West Industrial Estate, Hartlepool TS25 1PE
01429 890808

Published in: March 2020

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