July 2018


newsletter 26, July 2018:


So, my last newsletter was rather brief … but in it I promised I would update on a number of issues in this one.


This won’t be a very long one, but there are some special offers on my newly posted autumn course dates below and a few other titbits. No smartWare news this time, or smartAnything news – that will be in the next one along in a few weeks.


But first the Linley smartHinge copying issue, on which as it happens there were some interesting developments earlier in the year.


the Linley smartHinge disgrace:


Just to remind everyone [and there’s a summary, as far as it had gone then, in my 2015 newsletter 15] this was [and still is!] a blatant, deliberate and deceitful act by the Linley company – a casual appropriation of a product I’ve worked long and hard to develop and promote, having identical copies cheaply made behind my back in China without my permission, purely to save them money.


And in the full knowledge that it would deprive me, a British craftsman, of legitimate business. And these are the considered actions of a company that markets itself on its ‘Britishness’, supporting British craftsmanship and offering the highest quality.


They freely admit all of this, but clearly believe they have some sort of impunity due to their size and reputation and are therefore exempt from generally accepted moral and ethical behaviour.

Linley Chinese flag

Linley’s Belgravia showroom proudly flying the Chinese National flag.


[Ardent Royalists look away now!] Having failed completely to get any cooperation from Linley the company, as a last resort I contacted Linley the man direct in the hope that he might have a more fair-minded take on the situation and be prepared to communicate in a reasonable way to help settle this. Not least to protect the reputation of the company he founded and which still bears his name.


However, David Linley clearly believes that his privileged origins entitle him to ignore the likes of me as I received no response whatever from him, despite making multiple courteous attempts to contact him via several routes.


gagging order

There’s a lot more to this – the full facts are on my ‘Linley Facts’ page for those that want all the gory detail. But just for now here are 2 interesting nuggets:


•  at an extremely unpleasant meeting I forced them into just before Christmas 2017, Kevin Blumenthal, the Linley CFO [that’s him at the top on the left], offered me a miniscule amount to grant Linley the ‘right’ to use the smartHinge design. But it was only offered on the condition that I signed a gagging order, the preparation of which I would have to pay for! This proves 2 things straight away: that they admit to copying the hinges, and that they are embarrassed by their actions! I didn’t sign, of course, so they STILL don’t have the right to use the hinge design. But have they stopped using them? Of course not.

•  my attempts to contact David Linley stirred things up enough to extract a reaction from the company, albeit not the one I was hoping for. The fact that I was threatening to make the facts of this case public if they didn’t settle resulted in the matter being placed in the hands of the police [crime reference number CHS3109 280318] and Linley are now threatening to prosecute me for blackmail. Yes, you read that right!


Nice people.


What’s important now is that the facts of this case are widely known so that Linley’s attitude to ‘supporting’ British craftsmanship and what constitutes ‘quality’ is shown in its true colours, and revealed as the mean-spirited, vindictive company that they really are …


If I’m not actually beheaded for treason, visitors to my prison cell will be made as welcome as the limited facilities allow …


2018 autumn course dates:

smartBoxmaker box making courses


These are my 2018 autumn course dates. If you book by the end of Friday July 27th you will get 10% off what you pay. If you pay the full fee up front for a 5 day course, this will save you £142!

The discount code is:




 – just enter this at checkout and the deduction will be made.




  •  September 8th/9th
   •  October 6th/7th
•  November 3rd/4th
   •  December 1st/2nd


gold 5 day:


  •  September 20th-24th
   •  October 11th-15th
    •  November 3rd/4th
     •  December 13th-17th


Remember that the discount is only valid until the end of Friday July 27th.


SPECIAL OFFER: I have a couple of places going on my July 28/29 weekend! Only £175 if paid up front with the discount code!


BOOK A WEEKEND                            BOOK A 5 DAY COURSE

smartBoxmaker box making courses


a trip to China


Peter Lloyd boxes


Some of you will know of Peter Lloyd – I’ve known him for years, at one time in the early 90s we used to joke that we were the only 2 box makers in the UK. It wasn’t true, of course, but in those dark days before the internet had got going it certainly seemed like it.


He’s been making beautiful boxes for a very long time. His speciality was always solid timber boxes, made from British timbers, and almost always with either a pivot hinge lid or his own beautiful wooden hinges.


Every time you see a boxes like these now – just remember, Pete was doing it beautifully decades ago! His website is here.


I’m sure you will have seen his work around – it features on the cover of the American title “New Masters of the Wooden Box” [2010?]. There’s some of my work in there too, and a certain unfortunate situation concerning the exhibition of the same name is referred to in my newsletter no. 2 way back in July 2010. …

a trip to China

Anyway, why mention Peter now? Well, because together with his wife Chris, he’s cycling to China! “Wall to Wall” [they live near Hadrians Wall – geddit?]


This is their second attempt – much more info and a fascinating blog on their website here! – I’m sure you will all want to wish them the very best for reaching their goal! I think they’re in Uzbekistan, some ‘stan anyway, about two thirds of the way there?


Anyway, he won’t be making any more boxes for a lttle while, and he’ll be fit when he gets back …



workshop extension and open day:

smartBoxmaker workshop extension and open day


A major extension of the workshop is underway and an open [grand opening] day planned for sometime in the autumn. The bottom image is me playing with photoshop again! – but it will look something like this. I’m also taking on the barn to the left, which is about the size of my existing workshop. And there will be an upstairs, so all in all I will have about three times the space I have now.


Which is crazy! – in 2004 when I moved from my single garage sized workshop in London to here [4 times the space, 1/4 the cost!], I wouldn’t have believed that I could ever need more space! But there it is …


Now I’ve got the Linley thing out of my system I’ll be getting back to concentrating on getting the smartCorner available – sorry it’s taken so long! Also the smartDisc – both have been rather on the back-burner recently. I am also re-working the smartBoxmaker website and the new version of this should be up early in August.


There are still things I need to catch up on from previous newsletters, I’ll be doing that in the next one out in September.


OK, that’s all for now – thank you for reading, enjoy the rest of our lovely summer [UK readers].

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Andrew Crawford