The UK winner of the 2017 Tormek Scholarship Award is Olly Christian from Bristol. Olly’s winning piece is a large, multifunctional table which can be adapted to suit the needs of his son, wife and mealtimes.

Olly, formerly a qualified nurse with many years of working in the NHS, decided to change his career to match his creative talent and fit in better with home life. He recently finished a two-year course studying Furniture Making at the City of Bristol College. With his second-year project, he won the Somerset Guild of Craftsman 2017 furniture prize and now, through winning the Tormek scholarship, he has received a new Tormek T-8 sharpening system.

His first involvement with woodworking came about when he set up home with his wife and needed furniture, flooring and more. On a small budget, Olly’s first workshop had a vintage second-hand DeWalt saw and a low cost lathe to get him started. He admits: “I was building shelves, laying flooring and other carpentry for myself out of necessity. I soon realised I liked woodworking and wanted to pursue this as a career. Designing and creating is something I really enjoy, and I wanted to learn the finer aspects of furniture making.” So, enrolling on the Furniture Making course at the City of Bristol College was a big step from the security of a full time job.

Produced out of necessity, Olly’s winning project is a large, multifunctional dining table.  He wanted to create a table that would provide space for his son’s Lego creations and his wife’s art projects while still being able to have a clear, uncluttered dining table. The addition of drawers and a Lego pit provided the solution.

“My son now has a great space for his Lego, and my wife’s drawing materials are on hand after a stressful day at work and we have a great space to eat and drink together and with friends”, says Olly.

Olly is now beginning a career as a self-employed cabinetmaker in a shared workshop near Bath where he has installed the Tormek T-8, much to excitement and gratitude of his fellow workshop users. All are able to create razor sharp edges on their tools thanks to Olly and Tormek.

For more information about Tormek products, please visit www.brimarc.com.