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Contact Paul Stevens
Mobile: 07739 380534
Workshop: 01634 831456
Address: 6 Ordnance Mews
The Historic Dockyard
Chatham, Kent, U.K. ME4 4TE
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After leaving school in the early 1970s, I spent 3 years at the City & Guilds of London Art School in Kensington London where I studied woodcarving and gilding for three years.
For the next 11 years the necessity of making a living saw me working in sales for various companies. During this time I continued to do various commissions for joinery companies or antique dealers whom I would meet during my sales work.
In 1986 I decided to devote myself full time to carving. In 1987 I was commissioned by The Historic Dockyard in Chatham to carve the figurehead for the H.M.S. Gannet. The Dockyard Trust which was in charge of restoring the Victorian sloop had discovered the original figure head in a museum in the northern German town of Flensburg.
In Paul's Own Words
I went to the Heinsburg Museum and took many measurements and photos of the original figurehead. Returning to my workshop in Chatham, I began carving a new figurehead for the Gannet from premier-grade Russian Pine. I selected Russian Pine for its high resin content which made it very durable against cold and damp weather conditions.
My philosophy of conservation and wood preservation lies at the heart of the work I do in furniture restoration. I procured the Russian Pine I used for the Gannet Figurehead from the North Kent Joinery Company, which is also located in the Historic Dockyard of Chatham. All the wood I use is Forest Stewardship Council (F.S.C.) certified.
When I am restoring a valuable antique piece of furniture it is vital that I use the right kind of wood for the job. The wood I use must be a perfect match of the species, colour, grain, and the age of the original piece. Therefore I have a large store of old woods salvaged from pieces beyond restoration which I save for future jobs.
Of the dozens of specialist gouges and chisels I use in my woodworking business, one modern machine which holds pride of place on the workbench in my workshop is my lathe. I regularly get requests for turned pieces ranging from a simple "knob" for a piece of antique furniture to spindles for entire staircases.
In the business of restoring old woodwork I often have no choice but to resort to carving completely new pieces to replace rotten old pieces of mouldings that are beyond restoration. I will never forget the ninety-eight metres (yes folks, 98 metres) of egg and dart moulding I carved for an old hospital in Hamstead, London which was undergoing refurbishment as private residences. For a description of egg & dart moulding, click here.
Over the past 26 years my woodworking and gilding career has been a mix of different jobs ranging from old to new and from small to large. My woodcarving and gilding has been in demand by architects, interior designers, furniture makers, professional artists, and conservation departments.
But for 26 years, whatever the size of the job, I have consistently paid as much care and attention to detail into restoring a dinner table for a private residence as I put into gilding architectural mouldings for the British Ambassador's residence in Moscow or when I carved pieces for the British House of Commons.
Thank you dear Reader for taking the time to visit my site,
Paul "the woodcarver" Stevens