14 January 2011
I was delighted to visit Tom Burchmore at his workshop in Buckinghamshire. A cavernous farm building stuffed with every type of wood working machinery I have ever seen. All you boys who like toys out there be jealous, be really, really jealous! ...
Tom was born in Hertfordshire to a farming family, and now lives and works in Granborough, Buckinghamshire. Tom was apprenticed to a French polisher and cabinet maker for 21 years. Whilst still making full-size furniture during the pine craze of the 80's, Tom also had a bookshop where he sold books on furniture and crafts alongside his pine furniture. Flicking through the craft books, and noticing miniature furniture, he thought "I could make that", and his miniature career had begun.
TUDOR STYLE FURNITURE
Tom has been making dolls house mouldings, skirting boards and handrails for many years, but now has moved on to produce his own range of Tudor style dolls house furniture. Building his own very special lathe to turn the most beautiful barley-twist legs for his miniature dressers, tables and chairs. This magic machine even has controllers to change the pitch and reverse the helix, so he can produce right and left handed twisted legs for perfect symmetry in his miniature furniture.
WOOD FROM SUSTAINABLE SOURCES
Tom only uses American Walnut and Malaysian Jelutong as they are both from sustainable sources. The Californian Walnut is felled and replaced when it no longer bears nuts, and the Malaysian Jelutong is the rubber tree, equally when it stops producing latex, it is felled and a new tree planted in its place.
UNUSUAL SANDING TECHNIQUE
Inside a cement mixer in Tom's workshop, the blades have been removed and there is a lot of very dry sand. I was both horrified and fascinated as Tom casually tossed in a handful of his newly made cradles. The machine was turned on, and it tumbled and tossed the miniature furniture gradually wearing and sanding down all the little burrs and rounding the corners. I have to say that Tom's miniature furniture has to be some of the strongest and most well made pieces on the planet to withstand such a tumbling and worthy of a place even in a dolls house that is to be played with!
- Tom Burchmore, 16 Denham View, Granborough, Bucks. MK18 3NW
- Tel: 07754 775369
- Email: [email protected]
- Web: www.sheperdminiatures.com
The full article about Tom and his work is featured in Dolls House & Miniauture Scene Magazine issue 199, to buy a copy of the magazine please click here. Or better still, why not take out a subscription so that you never miss an issue.