Handmade: Britain’s Best Woodworker – Meet the woodworkers

The competition to find Britain’s Best Woodworker is back. Mel Giedroyc welcomes ten of Britain’s top woodworking enthusiasts to the workshop where, in the first week of the competition, they have just two days to saw, turn and joint their way to producing a dining table inspired by a country of their choice. The pressure is on to create something strong and beautiful that will impress the judges and keep them safe from elimination.

The woodworkers also have the chance of a lifeline. The winner of the skills challenge is guaranteed survival if they can impress expert judges Sophie Sellu and Tom Dyckhoff with their cut-out tealight box. Who will carve out their place in the next round, and who will fail to make the cut?

Meet the woodworkers:

Amina
39, academic developer, Greater Manchester

A former champion squash player, Amina’s desire to build things out of wood was born from her frustration of not being able to find furniture she’s drawn to, so she decided to start designing and creating her own furnishings. Amina admits that her eccentric style might not be to everybody’s taste, but that’s what makes her a truly unique woodworker.

Calum
31, 3D designer, Glasgow

Leeds-born Calum works in spatial, exhibition and interior design and 3D rendering. After sitting at a computer all day at work, by night Calum can be found making things from wood in a communal workshop that he shares with like-minded young creatives. He would love to be a professional woodworker one day.

Chloe
21, student, Brighton

Chloe is a Master’s student carving a path as a woodworker, designing unique pieces and favouring hand tools for a more personal touch. She is a strong believer in sustainability which is why wood is her favourite material. In her spare time, Chloe is part of a Celtic pagan drumming group and a repair group, offering free repairs to anything people bring them.

Dafydd
47, civil servant, Bridgend

Dafydd is a self-taught woodworker. He has been using BSL as his main form of communication since a young age and works as a civil servant to improve access for Deaf people. Dafydd relies on interpreters to communicate with people who don’t sign and will be working with an interpreter in the Handmade workshop.

Jacob
22, caretaker, Norfolk

Jacob is a part-time caretaker, while also being known locally as ‘the wood guy’ – building a reputation as a local handyman. He might still be young, but Jacob adapts and learns from project to project and now wants to show you don’t need to have 50 years of experience or a Master’s degree to be a talented woodworker.

Lauren
35, landscape architect technician, Kent

Lauren never stops. She works full time to allow her wife to be a full-time mum and she loves to always have a project on to go, whether it be woodwork or a fitness goal. Woodwork has been a part of Lauren’s life since a young age. Now a landscape architect technician working for her twin, Lauren enjoys working with wood whenever she gets the chance.

Russell
36, kitchen fitter, Kent

Russell got into woodwork at the age of 16 when he did an NVQ in carpentry and joinery. He is a carpenter by trade, fitting kitchens and building cupboards. Russell has never made any bespoke furniture or artistic pieces but feels like he’s got lots of creativity within him which he never has the opportunity to really explore.

Sarah
45, consultant, Kent

Sarah took up woodwork after being made redundant in 2021. She decided to make a garden bar so purchased a mini circular saw along with some reclaimed wood and hasn’t looked back since. Everything she has learnt is self-taught and, last winter, she even sold one of her custom-made grazing boards to Dame Judi Dench.

Tanya
46, teacher, London

Tanya grew up in Northern Ireland and works as a product design teacher at a school in London. In 2017, Tanya was diagnosed with cancer which forced changes to her lifestyle which mean she has more time at home with her family and in her workshop. Now fully recovered, Tanya seizes every opportunity, including buying a campervan to custom renovate.

Tony
51, graphic designer, Liverpool

Tony worked as a creative director for 24 years before taking voluntary redundancy earlier this year. He got into woodwork as a hobby years ago after seeing a friend’s dad with a toolbox and realising he could fix things around the house too. Tony’s friends and family always encourage him to pursue his woodwork professionally.

Ends

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