Tim turns natural wood into things of beauty

Ipswich docks play table by furniture designer/maker Tim Germain, at Quay Place

Ipswich docks play table by furniture designer/maker Tim Germain, at Quay Place - Credit: Archant

Ipswich furniture designer and maker Tim Germain is keeping a tradition alive - and making furniture from natural wood.

Tim Germain is "Craftsperson of the month". Pictured at work in Stratford St Mary
Pix P

GLOSSY Tim Germain is "Craftsperson of the month". Pictured at work in Stratford St Mary Pix Phil Morley 4/7/07

Ipswich furniture designer and maker Tim Germain is working his magic, with natural wood.

He is a craftsman who turns salvaged wood, including local trees lost in high winds, into classic furniture of the future.

My own woodworking skills are a bit limited; I think I made a wooden spatula and a wobbly mug rack at school before switching to other subjects.

Since then I have developed a few DIY abilities around the house, but making a beautiful piece of furniture is still outside my comfort zone.

However, I can appreciate the work of a true craftsman.

Tim Germain is one of those talented people, able to visualise the possibilities and to transform any wood, oak, elm and other woods, into beautiful individual pieces of furniture.

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They are pieces that will last a generation.

I bumped into his work, almost literally, at the new Quay Place centre in Ipswich Waterfront, which is run the Suffolk MIND charity,

Ipswich-based bespoke furniture maker Tim’s work can be seen across the town, in places as diverse the Two Rivers Medical Centre and in Holywells Park (where he used oak salvaged from trees fallen in the park).

He dividis his time between making furniture for private clients, for local businesses and more public pieces, such as in Quay Place, in the former Waterfront church.

He said: “I make anything and everything - apart from chairs - they are better made in a factory.”

He broke off from makng wardrobes for one regular private client, and has a dining table also coming together in his workshop.

In Quay Place, the former church by the Waterfront he has provided cafe tables and, my favourite, a railway play table of the Wet Dock area. “It is based on the Wet Dock railways of 1850,” he said. “I know the area well, I only live half a mile away.”

The play table is just the right size for Brio toys, and for small people to stand alongside it.

Tim has also made a display board - showing off some of Des Pawson’s historic maritime knots, and outside benches for the courtyard garden.

Tim said Quay Place is a marvel. “It is an absolutely stunning place.

“It is always nice to do something a bit different, and out of the ordinary.”

At Holywells Park he suggested fallen trees should be harvested and turned into planks for use in restoration and furniture making.

“Quite a lot of things I havd made, for Two Rivers and Holywells Park and Quay Place are made out of trees that have fallen down in Holywells Park.

“Local oak for local furniture by local people!

“It has not come in on a boat from China. There is the potential for more things to be made locally.

“When you employ local people the money also stays in the local economy.”

Tim grew up in Ipswich, worked as a translator and language teacher in Barcelona for years, before returning to his home town to study furniture making at Suffolk College with Mike Staff.

Initially the plan was to return to Spain, he said, but he began finding customers here and making pieces for them, and so has remained in his home town.

He has customers locally and across the town.

He is also a member of the Suffolk Craft Society.

Little by little he is transforming the town.