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.

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