Grant Anderson came on our professional course having been a keen hobbyist for some years.

He graduated in June, having won our Students’ Choice Award.

This award is voted on by our students, and recognises someone who they regard as a particularly gifted woodworker.

Grant, originally from Zimbabwe, lived in London for some 14 years and worked in the motorbike business.

As a hobbyist, Grant learned some basic skills from YouTube, other internet sites and books.

Those skills were put to good use when he renovated a flat, and realised that the woodworking bug had taken over.

His first piece was an Oak coffee table, with nine strips of steam-bent Oak per leg.

Grant Anderson students choice Chippendale school

It had brass decoration at each end, five Oak planks as its top, with breadboarded end-pieces held in place with pegs.

Steam bending is a core skill in woodworking, and a technique that we teach early on in our professional course.

It involves strips of wood being steam heated in a steam box, then bent around a former to create a specific shape.

Grant’s table was an ambitious piece and most of our students, as their first piece of furniture, would have made the table with more easily-constructed legs.

Grant, however, won his Student’s Choice award for his stand-out drinks cabinet, which incorporated some 1.8 metres of tambour doors.


Adding complexity to complexity, the external tambour doors were attached to an inner tambour mechanism.

Open the cabinet, and the inner and outer tambour doors moved in opposite directions.

Another design flourish was added with the creation of a secret compartment, with an opening mechanism controlled by burr Elm cup holders.

Grant’s design was all about displaying an ordinary blended whisky bottle, and hiding the single malt whisky.

It was therefore a drinks cabinet to offer hospitality to casual friends, or better hospitality to very good friends.

Grant’s cabinet was complex and intricate, underlining both his design and making skills.

Those considerable skills mean that Grant is well on his way to a new career in fine woodworking.