We visited Mark, Production Manager and Ruth, Design Development Technician to find out more about the story of Halstock.

Tell us how and when Halstock began...

"Halstock began when three separate companies joined together in the late 1990s and were initially called Wessex Joinery. The three companies included a bespoke free standing furniture maker, a kitchen company and joinery company producing windows, doors and conservatories."

Where did the name Halstock come from?

"Our name derives from the village in which we are located. We have continued with this name as we are proud of our rural location and the people in our community. We want to create this same sense of community with our clients."

Halstock logo

What made Halstock choose their current location?

"The location was central to the 3 companies that amalgamated to form Halstock Cabinet Makers."

What is Halstock's company ethos?

"Halstock wishes to be Best in Class. In order to achieve this objective, we aim to be the best place for a client to come, for an employee to work and for a supplier to provide. We leave it to our client, employees and suppliers to gauge how we perform and relay to others."

Do Halstock use any locally sourced materials?

"We support a lot of local suppliers and manufacturers, however materials are specified by our clients and can be sourced from all over the world. It is always our preference for the materials we use to be local and as sustainable as possible. We pride ourselves on our ability to manage and coordinate this complex supply chain for our clients, and believe it is one of our biggest selling points."

Materials can be sourced from all over the world

How has cabinet making changed over the years?

"Cabinet making is very much like any other design-based industry, it moves with the fashion, no particular style is lost they are all recycled at some point. Obviously now we have a lot more machinery and equipment that has replaced and sped up traditional processes, but there are still traditional hand skills that we use today that have not changed. Traditional skills are still considered a mark of quality.

The biggest change for us is the scale and complexity of the projects we now work on, which has meant a greater focus on team and individual performance in order for us to succeed. Halstock are almost certainly the only cabinet making company who employ a workplace behaviour specialist, who works with us to ensure a culture of continuous improvement."

A completed project

Has your customer base changed over the years?

"Halstock started making traditional furniture for local customers but as our business and reputation has grown so has our customer base. We now deal with more high-end clientele with bigger budgets, and as we do not do a lot of marketing we pride ourselves on our reputation, and ability to gain contracts through this. We often do not deal with a client direct but rather contractors, architects and interior designers."

What is the strangest/most obscure request Halstock have been asked to design and make?

"The list could be endless for this one as we often get asked to create furniture for rooms that may be considered a little obscure, but a few favourites include a dog grooming parlour, a manicure room and a full-sized underground tennis court!"

Bambie, part of the Halstock team!

Have you designed for anyone interesting, if so are you able to disclose?

"We have worked with a lot of well known and high-end clients but the majority of our projects are bound by privacy agreements so we cannot disclose any information. We even have code names for projects in house, this means that quite often only our project managers and fitting team know the location and client information of a project."

Are the majority of your customers located within the UK?

"Around 75% are in London and the surrounding area, 15% in the rest of the UK and 10% overseas."

What is the most unique piece of work Halstock have ever created?

"Every piece of furniture we make is completely bespoke to the room of which is being fitted so the majority of our pieces could be considered unique. However, one of our most challenging projects was an elliptical dressing room. Every door had a different changing radius and meant that we had to work with our metalwork suppliers to design a completely bespoke hinge system that would not only work with each different curve but take the weight and height of the almost three-metre-high doors."

Why do you shop at Axminster?

"Axminster is a local and family-run business, both ethos we like to support. We like the range of products that they offer and support they offer to find us the right products. Axminster also share our passion to promote and support the cabinet making industry through programmes like the Worshipful Guild of Craftsmanship and apprenticeship schemes."

If you had one piece of advice for a cabinet maker just starting out, what would it be?

"Always be willing to listen and learn, I used to think I knew everything when I was 16, I soon learnt to respect the experience that my peers had and how much I could learn from them.

Also. MEASURE TWICE, CUT ONCE is some advice I was given as an apprentice, and it reduces re-work!"

Apprenticeships at Halstock

We also caught up with Eddie, who is currently working on an apprenticeship with Halstock. Eddie answered some questions on how he is finding the course and provides some advice for the budding makers of the future!

Eddie (Apprentice, Halstock)

What made you choose the woodworking industry?

"In secondary school, we had to study technology, and part of that was woodworking. I instantly loved it and realised it was something that I wanted to pursue."

What's your all-time favourite tool and is this your most used tool?

"The chisel. Although it’s not my most used tool there is just nothing better than a sharp chisel, it’s so satisfying."

A selection of chisels

What do you love most about working with Halstock?

"The people here, it’s a brilliant place to work. You can never ask too many questions. Everyone has so much experience so the help and advice that they provide is second to none."

What do you like making the most?

"Probably small boxes. Where I can focus on dovetails."

If you could pick anyone in the world to create something for, who would it be and why?

"England Rugby player Jack Nowell. I would love to make a kitchen for him."

If you had one piece of advice for a cabinet maker just starting out, what would it be?

"There is a lot to learn but it is all enjoyable. Stick to it and don’t be daunted by it. Just throw yourself into it and give everything a go!"

More 'Get To Know Your Customers' Q&A's coming soon...

Keep an eye on our Knowledge blog for future posts.

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Get in touch

To arrange a visit with your regional Technical Consultant phone 0800 371822, email abst@axminster.co.uk or complete this form. Find out more about our Business Services team at axminster.co.uk/business.