In the summer months I travel the canals selling my wooden products from the side of my narrowboat Little John. In the winter it's back to the workshop making and preparing for the following season. I open the boat shop at around Easter time and then carry on trading until the Birmingham Christmas market. In between I 'pop up' opening the shop along the towpath or attend floating markets and other waterways festivals and events. It's a varied life, periods on intense activity followed by languid stretches of time in the depths of the countryside. I'm a country boy at heart so there is nothing better than being on the towpath in close touch with nature but it's also a thrill to moor up in a town or city, have a wander around and try to find that perfect pint of ale! To find out where I am follow my progress on Facebook at www.facebook.com/makeitshipshape
I make a range of wooden accessories for narrowboaters. The slope of a narrowboat's hull or cabin wall can make it impossible to find just what you need to make things easier in a small space. Take a look in the gallery 'Mr Shipshape's bits & pieces for narrowboats' to see if I have what you are looking for!
Look in 'Mrs Shipshape's sewing selection' and 'Mr Shipshape's treasures from the cut'' galleries for interesting, attractive and practical wooden products for the home. They are all made by me using traditional woodworking skills and because they are handmade, they are all different.
I aim to make useful things that show off the beauty of the wood and, I hope, will become loved and admired. All tropical, most European hardwoods and some softwoods that I use are repurposed from recycled furniture or building materials. New pine is purchased from FSC controlled sources. I love to make things that can never be repeated from unusual pieces of 'found' wood or rescued and reclaimed timber that I pick up on my travels. I am always amazed by the beauty of the wood that I discover in these abandoned piece of timber. My work is influenced by looking at old pieces of wood turning from the past - "Things men have made with wakened hands are awake through years with transferred touch, and go on glowing for long years. And for this reason, some old things are lovely warm still with the life of forgotten men who made them." Things Men Have Made. D H Lawrence.
Thank you if you have given me winter jobs in the past. I have enjoyed every one but I no longer accept commissions. I'm now focusing on small things which suit the size of my boat, workshop and travelling life.