Honest Craftsmanship: with Rob Glassey

In the age of technology and fast fashion, honest craftsmanship remains at the forefront of design. Craftsmanship pertains to the quality of work that is born out of passion, care, and extreme attention to detail. A man who epitomises these principles is our Woodworks by Ted Todd master craftsman, Rob Glassey.

Here Rob reflects on the last three decades of his career and his journey with wood, his inspiration and the daily tools of his trade. Rob spends his time crafting bespoke architectural elements, creating complex treads and risers and making bespoke floors within our Cheshire workshop.


Honest Craftmanship with Rob Glassey: profile image

Growing up in Warrington, I’ve remained connected to my roots and embraced the family trade. My carpentry journey began at an early age, around five years old, as I watched my dad – a joiner by trade – in his workshop. Being in this environment surrounded by woodworking tools, and seeing my Dad use chisels and saws daily, really influenced me.

Fast forward to today, my skills have come from my Dad of course, a mix of site experience, teaching myself and from people I’ve met along the way. All of that combined, makes me the joiner I am today.

Woodworking has always been more than just a job for me; it’s my life, so it’s hard to choose one aspect I love the most.

I’m inspired by Japanese joinery, which is heavily influenced by sharp blades and complicated joints. It’s something quite phenomenal.  As a result, they are masters of bespoke creations.

Of all the skills I’ve acquired over the years, I’m particularly proud of mastering steam bending. Wood is inherently inflexible, so to bend it you first have to soak it in a steam box. This softens the wood fibers which then makes it easier to stretch and bend. It is quite a task but the outcome is worth it.

I use lots of different tools and machines in my workshop. When and how I use them depends on the job. I’d say the router is probably the handiest and the one I use the most. It creates perfectly finished edges and patterns in wood. It works by spinning at speed to shape and cut, and even trim, wood, it’ll create perfectly finished edges and can create patterns in wood like to round off edges. It’s a lot quicker than setting up a spindle moulder or router. I use a bronze block plane for fine joinery, as it takes light shavings and creates little bevels around the edges of the boards. Chisels and hand saws are also essential tools of the trade.

Honest Craftmanship with Rob Glassey: Tools overhead
Franklin Bespoke Treads Image

I’ve recently completed a set of curved treads and risers for a heritage home in Georgia, USA. Made from Franklin Antique Oak, the curved nosing was crafted from three individual pieces.

I had to analyse the drawings and think how am I going to tackle the job. I had to take my time and be more precise based on how intricate the job was. With over three decades of experience in the trade, I can say that this project was my most challenging job to date.

“Challenging jobs are my favourite projects –

When you accomplish a difficult task, there’s no better feeling.”

In terms of floors, anything I see on the workshop floor that features skip-sawn marks, undulations and knots catches my eye. These characteristics highlight the tree’s authenticity and tell a unique story.

American black walnut is my favourite wood species to work with though. It’s a great wood, it’s not too hard so easy to work and when grain and colour are enhanced the end look is fantastic. Very contemporary. I do like oak also, and it is probably the species I work with most.  

Nimbus Plank

Just like my Dad inspired me, I’d like my work to inspire others. My advice to someone starting out is to take your time, don’t rush and take pride in your work.

Joinery isn’t the easiest job in the world but it is one of the most rewarding – for me anyway.

Rob Glassey Signature

Rob Glassey

Specialist Joiner and Furniture Maker

Rob Glassey Bronze Shaver on Tread Web