Frequently Asked Questions
I believe that a handmade furniture piece is one where you see the evidence of the maker. Upon first glance, it should be quite obvious that this wasn’t made in a factory overseas. It should hopefully be a very personal expression. There are no marks left by machines with rotating cutters, instead carefully beveled edges and hand planed surfaces – all made possible with finely tuned blades.
Most of the handmade furniture project designs featured on this website are named after the customer that inspired the original design, or in some instances, a name from my family tree.
I don’t work to deadlines but generally around 10 weeks is a typical amount of time to complete your custom bespoke furniture piece. For my own sanity and pursuit of quality I need to work on one piece of furniture at a time. I’m a one man shop and utilise a substantial amount of handwork in my projects. Once I begin work on your project, progress is swift, with many updates along the way. A lot of focus, time and care goes into each piece.
Lloyd Brooke Furniture is not a retail store as I make and design bespoke furniture to suit each individual customer’s needs. Customers are invited to visit a work in progress at my workshop in Kerikeri, Northland. This is a good opportunity to look through samples and chat about the design and finer details of the bespoke piece.
On the majority of my handcrafted furniture pieces I use my custom oil/varnish blend. This has been carefully chosen and experimented with over many years to create an attractive and durable finish. Most commercial furniture finishes form a heavy “plasticy” film on the piece. When this finish degrades, it cracks and peels, which in turn requires the entire surface to be stripped before it can be reapplied. Instead of these unmaintainable and artificial finishes, I prefer to use an oil/varnish blend which will never crack or peel and can be easily maintained over the years by the customer.
My two favourite timbers to work with are locally sourced Walnut and Blackwood, though other timbers are available on request. Sustainability is important to me and locally grown timber is really the best way of looking after our planet.
The Blackwood I use comes from a farm in Kaitaia. The owner has won environmental awards for his farm and personally delivers his timber to me. It is excellent Blackwood with a strong connection to the Northland region. Blackwood has more amber tones than Walnut and a lot more variation in colour. The colour varies from a light straw, all the way through to a dark coffee tone. Native to Australia, it is an excellent furniture making timber.
I have recently located a miller in the Waikato that has access to locally grown Black Walnut. This tree is native to USA and uncommon to come across in New Zealand. NZ grown Walnut is slightly lighter in tone than its American counterpart. Walnut is a deep, rich timber with a consistent colour tone across all boards.
However, if you have a specific colour tone or timber in mind, I’m more than happy to explore other options. Timber selection is of utmost importance in handmade furniture.
Generally, heat rings and small scratches can be repaired with a light sand and a teaspoon of oil. A product care document is sent out with each custom piece with complete instructions on how to rejuvenate the surface of your bespoke furniture items. A maintenance kit is also available for purchase for $25 plus postage.
My furniture travels all across New Zealand, North and South Island. Delivery prices vary according to location and access. The delivery companies I use are careful, owner-operated businesses that deliver the furniture door to door. Pickup from the workshop can also be arranged.
A 30% deposit is taken once the bespoke furniture design has been finalised. This will secure your spot in the work schedule. When it comes time for work to begin, you will be notified and kept up to date with pictures so you can see the work unfold.