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How scarily quickly coronavirus has come upon us all from being a slightly unsettling dot, barely discernible on the horizon. Now it’s a very different world from the one we inhabited just a few months ago, and things are going to be very uncertain for us all for the foreseeable future.



But perhaps there is at least a small positive that can come out of all of this – with most now confined to home/workshop, this could be seen as an advantage and a chance to catch up with some workshop time. So I’ve decided to offer 90 minute, one-to-one, online sessions via skype and Zoom.




•   no risk of transmitting the dreaded virus [or anything else for that matter]
•   no travelling required
•   no accommodation required
•   you won’t have to wash your hands every 20 mins, sing happy birthday, keep 2 metres away from me or any of that!
•   and after the session you retire immediately to the comfort of your own home, wherever you are in the world.


Basically this offers a real-time connection between you and your workshop, and me and mine – everything is well set up to demonstrate my own very particular approach to box making.



There are many areas that can be covered, including, but not limited to: abrasives and edge tools – a comparison, book matching, cabinet scrapers [sharpening and using], design, basic construction, essential machines, finishing, fitting drawers and interiors, french polishing, fun with wavy inlays, hand tools, how to make chopstix, inlaying, lining, making and fitting out flute cases, making and inlaying your own inlays, masking tape, my particular router setup – essential for box making and small components, smartWare, timber conversion, tray construction, veneering, working with curves, workshop layout, and a lot more besides.


Basically, anything you need help and guidance with – so long as it’s not making furniture, cutting dovetails or doing your tax.





The cost will be £75 for a 90 minute session – this includes a preparatory email or phone exchange to discuss what you want to cover …


If you want to book 2 sessions that comes down to £135 for the 2 [£67.50 each]. They don’t need to be concurrent, or even on the same day – that’s up to you. If you would like to discuss a more extensive programme of session please contact me and we can discuss …


I’ve always offered anyone coming for a weekend or a 5 day [recently 6 day] course, £25 off a day of one-to-one tuition – well, anyone who’s been for a course in the last 5 years is eligible for that reduced fee session …


Different time zones will have to be taken into consideration, so I suggest the following UK times:


•   9.30-11.00
•   11.30-1.00
•   2.00-3.30
•   4.00-5.30


This should allow for Australian sessions in my UK mornings, and US in my afternoons.


I’m looking into the technical aspects of this at the moment – I need to ensure a good and reliable wifi connection, and get my head properly around Zoom, which seems to be the best platform for this sort of thing. All this should be up and running in a few days.



More info in my next newsletter, along in a couple of days. If you’re not already, please subscribe [blue button, bottom of the page] – there will be another one along very soon. Or call + 44 [0] 1694 781318 or email me. Any queries please email me, and


Things are going to be very different for us all for the foreseeable future. In the meantime: stay safe, but stay connected – and I look forward to meeting some of you over the airwaves sometime soon!

smartBoxmaker gift tokens

In the meantime, why not buy a smartBoxmaker Gift Token?

… can be used at any time towards:
•   a one-to-one online session
•   a course when they’re back up and running
•   anything from the smartShop


Important notice: I‘ve never made furniture – I only make boxes – box making is my speciality!


During a long career making bespoke boxes and cases for discerning clients around the world I’ve developed a select range of skills and techniques, cherry-picked and distilled from a number of related disciplines. This article goes some way to explaining my approach




My courses offer an insight into the processes I regularly use in a friendly, supportive environment for a maximum of four participants.


I’ve made every mistake in the book over the years [and plenty that aren’t] … so I make sure you don’t!


smartBoxmaker - box making courses


You get to go away with a beautiful box, and loads of great box making tips …


For much more information on the courses I offer, and to book your place, please visit one of the links above. And if you have any queries at all please feel free to contact me to discuss.

As well as all the obvious stuff, some things you will learn:


• the difference between ‘abrasion’ and ‘cutting’, and why modern abrasives are often a good choice for small work.
• all about the ‘zen/stuff‘ scale, and where you are on it …
• the importance of a table-mounted router – upcut and downcut spirals explained.
• all about the world’s second most sophisticated clamping system.



And some you will NOT learn:


• more ways to make your chisels and planes so sharp that the weight of a feather will shear itself in two.
• yet ANOTHER, even better way to cut perfect dovetails.
• how to fettle a plane so it creates a shaving the thickness of a Higgs boson.
• how to make a chair, a rocking horse or a bird box …

I think it’s safe to say my courses are well received:


That was the best woodworking course I have done – and I have done a few …
Graham T, Surrey, UK



For the aspiring cellist to spend three days with Yo-Yo Ma would be something special, certainly. For an aspiring box maker to spend three days one-on-one with Andrew Crawford is similar …
Roger B, Michigan, USA.



I had one of the best informative and enjoyable times of my life over the weekend, my head is buzzing with loads of ideas and information.
Chris C, Wiltshire, UK



I particularly appreciated your teaching techniques where you walked the line between moving the activity forward while catering for the many questions and conversations that naturally come out of these sort of sessions.
Steve R, Victoria, Australia


fine boxes slideshow - a random introduction to the world of fine boxes, with a few surprises along the way
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