10 good reasons to Choose Custom Made Furniture?
By Harry Howard

1.   Australian custom made furniture is designed and built to meet the particular needs of the space you have to fill. Making the right choices might mean running through several design possibilities during the process of finding the right match for your home and personality.

2.   Using age-old traditions, paying close attention to detail produces a high quality finish, furniture designers with an environmental conscience make every effort to source timber from salvaged trees that have not been deliberately harvested.

3.   Size, type of timber and finish may be all personally selected according to your taste and flair for design

Why Not Save & Buy Discount Furniture?

4.   Discount furniture is inherently generic, making little artistic or aesthetic impact on your living space. Do you really want furniture that everyone else has sitting in their homes?

5.   On the other hand, custom made furniture can add the perfect accent to your room, tying individual elements like carpet and wall colour into a cohesive theme. Artisan furniture has a personality, and it usually lasts for decades, making it a wise investment.

6.   Custom made pieces will be an heirloom that you can pass down for generations, as they are built to last. They become heirlooms that you are proud to pass onto your family.

7.   Discount furniture generally has a short life and the cheaper materials will wear out a lot faster

Benefits of Australian Custom Made Furniture

8.    The main benefit of custom-made furniture is that it's customizable. You can fit exactly what you want to the space you want, in the colours, materials, and design you want.

Custom furniture is interactive; a coffee table or desk becomes less a product a person buys and more of a process in which a person participates.

When you think “handmade furniture” you probably also think “really expensive.” Not necessarily.  Many people would be surprised. It is expensive, but if you go to a high market boutique furniture store, then you're getting close to what custom-made furniture would cost anyway.

Australian Made Furniture That Always Looks Good

9.    Custom made furniture is unique and also crafted with care and with an attention to detail. Craftsmen have spent many years perfecting their work

10.  Always remember that quality custom made furniture will always have a great resale value. What you pay for it today is an investment that you will not only be able to enjoy today, but you will be able to sell easily if you needed to without being out of pocket. Indeed, you may find that just like fine wine, it has increased in value!

Harry Howard has been designing and making furniture since 1981. Please feel free to use this article free of charge, providing that you leave the article intact, reference the author and provide a link back to

Restoring an Australian red cedar table

My main line of work is new bespoke furniture but every so often a restoration piece comes along.

This is an Australian red cedar extension table 10’x 4’6” circa 1880 for which I am currently doing restoration work on the top. The pictures show the early stages of hand French polishing. After preparation two applications of shellac are laid on by brush followed by hand polishing

The hand polishing can’t be rushed as there are different stages in the process and it is dictated by weather conditions and the finish needs time to settle before completion. An estimated time is around a month.

The original finish was dry and flaky and needed to be taken back just enough but not to remove aged marks and spoil authenticity.

Restoration work should enhance the item and not make it look new.


Polishing problems

Polishing problems

Temperature problems with French polishing in restoration work



French polishing produces a very fine finish on wood and before spray techniques this was the method used for fine furniture.

French polish is made from dry shellac* flakes dissolved in methelated spirits (alcohol). Gum sandarac** is added to this which gives the finish a little extra elasticity and resistance to scratches.


The applicator or rubber is made from old cotton wool into a manageable size and then wrapped inside another piece of opened weave cotton cloth.


All polishing whether French or sprayed synthetics and even gluing is affected by the temperature. This poses a problem with the polishing process as each pass of the rubbing cloth over the wood leaves a thin layer of polish and in cold weather the alcohol in the mixture does not evaporate and in some instances may  leave a white film.


The polishing must be done in more favourably warm conditions not only the temperature of the room but also the wood surface itself must be warm and to this end sometimes I have to bring small pieces home if the temperature in the workshop is too cold. The ideal temperature range is around 20°C to 24°C.


When restoring old pieces of furniture French polishing is the only method that should be used as the authenticity of a valued piece must be preserved.

French polishing is very time consuming as the rubber has to be passed over the piece many times in order to build up the finish and a small box for instance can take many hours of rubbing.


Shellac French polish is much more delicate and easily damaged than the modern lacquers or synthetic finishes but it is more easily repaired as patches can be worked whereas with the spray synthetic finishes the whole piece must be sanded back and re-sprayed.



*Shellac is resin secreted by the female lac bug on trees in the forests of India and Thailand. It is processed and sold as dry flakes.


**Sandarac, is a resin obtained from a small coniferous  tree


Medical cabinet donated to the San Simon anti whaling ship
Medical cabinet with bed and fold-     The cabinet in pieces      In front of the ship        On the deck
down support                                      to be assembled on                                                         
                                                           on the San Simon

Climate change

Climate Change Article

The wood used in this chair stores approx 4kg carbon.
Using wood is naturally better for our environment because it helps with climate change in two very important ways.

First, growing trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store the carbon so
efficiently that about half the dry weight of a tree is carbon. This carbon remains ‘locked up’ for the whole of the life of the wood even when we use it for building products or furniture. It is released into the atmosphere again only when the wood decays or is burnt.

Second, forestry is one of the most greenhouse-friendly sectors of the Australian economy. In fact, it was the only industry sector to be carbon positive in 2005. So increased use of wood in construction will assist Australia in offsetting its overall greenhouse gas emissions.

What’s more, wood is a truly renewable resource because millions of new trees are planted each year
and Australia has a well-established framework to support the conservation and sustainable management of our forests.

So when we choose climate-sensitive wood for house frames, flooring, or furniture we’re also lending a helping hand in climate change.

 To find out more visit us at

These two chairs were made by Harry Howard
from tasmanian blackwood for Wood Naturally Better.
Joiner Licence  #222433C   -   Supervisor Certificate  #64780S