Dining table by Orpago Furniture Makers

Orpago

It started with a picture of a dining table in the back of a local newspaper. Tom Dorich was flicking through the pages when he suddenly spotted the beautifully handcrafted piece of furniture. “Something about it just got to me,” he says. “It was just so lovely and I thought: I’d love to make something like that.”

Tom left his job in marketing and went to master his new trade before eventually setting up his own business in 2011. Orpago, based in Loddiswell, near Kingsbridge, specialises in bespoke dining tables and furniture, drawing influence from classic English and French vernacular, plus traditional American shaker styles.

Tom and his team – wife Caroline and fellow craftsman John Luff – have helped the firm to build a solid reputation for combining modern methods with traditional techniques, using sustainable British timber. “For me, it's about simplicity in design with a strong focus on proportional balance,” says Tom, 41, who developed a passion for carpentry when he was young. “I just love the natural aesthetics of timber and that’s what we're trying to celebrate.”

Tom explains how much he enjoys each stage of the process, from roughing out the wood, planing, oiling and sanding down, all while working with the existing patterns of the timber. “Once the design is there, I get to use a little bit of artistic licence to work out how best to make the wood sing in the final piece,” he says. “Don’t get me wrong, some bits of wood are horrible,” he adds, laughing. “You’ve got to pick the right ones.”

Choosing the cut is often part of the commissioning process for many of Orpago’s customers. Some travel to the workshop from all over the country to see the different timbers and discuss a commission. “What’s really nice about being in Devon is that people make a weekend of it,” says father-of-three Tom, who used to live in Wiltshire. “They’ll stay in a lovely B&B, come to the workshop to talk through what they’re after and then go for a beach walk. It’s a great experience for them.”

And what an incredible souvenir they’ll get to keep.

Words: Chrissy Harris. Pictures: The Really Good Media Company.

www.orpago.co.uk

Chair by Orpago Furniture Makers
Table and chairs by Orpago Furniture Makers
Table by Orpago Furniture Makers
Desk drawer close-up. Orpago Furniture Makers

Orpago

It started with a picture of a dining table in the back of a local newspaper. Tom Dorich was flicking through the pages when he suddenly spotted the beautifully handcrafted piece of furniture. “Something about it just got to me,” he says. “It was just so lovely and I thought: I’d love to make something like that.”

Tom left his job in marketing and went to master his new trade before eventually setting up his own business in 2011. Orpago, based in Loddiswell, near Kingsbridge, specialises in bespoke dining tables and furniture, drawing influence from classic English and French vernacular, plus traditional American shaker styles.

Tom and his team – wife Caroline and fellow craftsman John Luff – have helped the firm to build a solid reputation for combining modern methods with traditional techniques, using sustainable British timber. “For me, it's about simplicity in design with a strong focus on proportional balance,” says Tom, 41, who developed a passion for carpentry when he was young. “I just love the natural aesthetics of timber and that’s what we're trying to celebrate.”

Tom explains how much he enjoys each stage of the process, from roughing out the wood, planing, oiling and sanding down, all while working with the existing patterns of the timber. “Once the design is there, I get to use a little bit of artistic licence to work out how best to make the wood sing in the final piece,” he says. “Don’t get me wrong, some bits of wood are horrible,” he adds, laughing. “You’ve got to pick the right ones.”

Choosing the cut is often part of the commissioning process for many of Orpago’s customers. Some travel to the workshop from all over the country to see the different timbers and discuss a commission. “What’s really nice about being in Devon is that people make a weekend of it,” says father-of-three Tom, who used to live in Wiltshire. “They’ll stay in a lovely B&B, come to the workshop to talk through what they’re after and then go for a beach walk. It’s a great experience for them.”

And what an incredible souvenir they’ll get to keep.

Words: Chrissy Harris. Pictures: The Really Good Media Company.

www.orpago.co.uk