Petrel's new handmade desk

This week saw the creation of an office space for Petrel, and the arrival of a brand new desk – a lovely blend of Scottish Elm and English Ash – delivered straight from our workshop.

The desk, like all pieces we make, was a significant investment of time and effort in order to bring the sketch to life. But it was a real luxury being able to spend that time crafting something beautiful for our new office.

I have a handsome handmade bench on which I can plane, chisel and veneer to my heart’s content, so I wanted a piece equally as lovely from which we can write correspondence, process orders, even do our tax returns.

In designing a desk, I was able to create a piece that fitted perfectly into the office. Space is definitely at a premium for us, so I made a drop leaf front, meaning the desk can be folded away when needs be.


The legs are designed to maintain their angled profile when the desk is open, or when tucked away. So when you approach the desk it is not obvious that it can fold down into a drop leaf table.

In stark contrast to the world of mass production desks, which may be functional, but are all metal, plastic and fake wood veneers. Petrel’s desk is crafted from beautiful Scottish elm, with its distinct zigzag pattern, and edged with English ash. In order to amplify the difference in colour between these two woods, I finished the elm with a dark wax and the ash with a lime wax – which brings out its pale colour.

Now the desk is in situ, it is satisfying to see that how the details I planned, really do deliver. The figuring in the grain of the elm creates such a treat for the eyes that it is easy to be drawn into looking at that, rather than the tax return.

But also it gives me great satisfaction to know now that the desk is complete, whenever we process a commission at Petrel, it will pass over both a custom made desk and bench.