Rustic Ash Chairs - Mark Griffin

I’m Mark Griffin of Rustic Ash Chairs, known to all as ‘Griff’, and I live with my wife in Didcot, Oxfordshire; we have two sons and two grandsons. I have held a strong interest in woodworking and woodturning for over 30 years and more recently in the art of making green wood furniture. 

I have always had an interest in the outdoors as a child. I learnt from my Gramp to loop Hazel wands in the hedgerow as I walked, to be cut into walking sticks a few years later. All my grandparents instilled in me a love of the countryside and nature, teaching me the names and uses of hedgerow plants. I have always enjoyed working with unseasoned wood – making items such as small bowls, whistles, spoons etc.


In August 1989, I was introduced to green woodworking at a country fair on Anglesey. I watched an un-named woodworker producing chair and stool parts using an axe, draw knife, spoke shave and lathe. The poor guy answered a barrage of questions from me over the next three hours, until my wife dragged me away. I was hooked. My wife bought Mike Abbott’s first book as a birthday gift and I promised myself that once I could afford it, I would attend one of Mike’s courses – Mike Abbott is one of the country’s leading experts in green wood crafts, with over 30 years chairmaking experience. Family life took over but 20 years later I attended my first chairmaking course with Mike Abbott. The 6 days I spent in Brookhouse Wood changed my life. I knew then that I wanted to become a chair maker. I subsequently attended two other chairmaking courses and numerous development weeks; helping Mike set up the workshop, preparing tools, manufacturing shave horses, benches and tool handles ready for the summer’s courses, and finally working as a Course Assistant in 2015. 

Mark Griffin Of Rustic Ash Chairs Sitting On One Of His Triangular Shaped Gentlemans Chairs
Mark Griffin Sitting On A Gentleman's Chair
After serving for over 32 years in the Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, I retired in early 2015. This allowed me to turn my full attention to pursuing my green woodworking passion and I became a member of the Association of Pole Lathe Turners and Green Woodworkers. I began making chairs in my backyard and then acquired a workshop in the beautiful historic village of Harwell in Oxfordshire where Rustic Ash Chairs was founded. Moving to the workshop enabled me to focus on my green wood chairmaking in a tranquil and beautiful rural environment. 
I get immense pleasure from making a wide range of chairs – rocking, spindle-back, lath-back, ladder-back and backwards facing ‘cock-fighting’ chairs – and I hope that passion is reflected in the quality of my finished products. All my chairs are hand-crafted from Ash using traditional woodcraft tools and techniques and as such each chair is unique. I weave a variety of seat patterns using Danish cord, Sisal, paper rush, bark and Kambaa, and chairs are finished with coats of Danish oil or colour-wash and wax. Please browse my Shop to see the variety of unique furniture I make.