Centre for Fine Woodworking - David Upfill–Brown

New Zealand's premier furniture making, woodworking & design school



David Upfill–Brown

David studied furniture making and design at Parnham, John Makepeace’s school, in England under the remarkable tutelage of Robert Ingham. From 1982 to 1999 with his wife Hermione he ran a bespoke furniture workshop in Tharwa near Canberra, Australia. Teaching a little there and part time with George Ingham for eight years at the Wood Studio of the Australian National University culminated in his appointment as inaugural academic director of the Australian School of Fine Furniture in Tasmania in 2000. After four years there and then five as lead instructor of the Nine Month Comprehensive at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Maine USA he now continues to teach in Maine for up to three months annually.

David believes that to begin to understand wood one has first to work it by hand and that once hand methods become habitual it is often more economical for bespoke or one–off furniture makers to work manually than to rely entirely on machinery. Well–developed hand skills, increasing versatility, also allow him to push the boundaries of design. He does not however eschew the use of machinery. Indeed he tunes his own equipment to perform "like the first violin in the orchestra". Machinery is of course imperative in repetitive work and he loves the challenge of developing production systems where smart designs and speed and quality are achieved through canny and succinct jig making.

David loves teaching. His greatest pleasure is witnessing students find ability deep within themselves. Seeing how the craft generates a powerful physical, practical, emotional, almost primal intelligence, seeing them become something like dancers or athletes, individuals whose minds speak through their bodies.

For more details see www.davidupfillbrown.com