Tom Kealy

Welcome to my website. I am a furniture designer, maker and tutor. Since completing my training at Parnham College in 1979, I have run my own business designing and making bespoke furniture to commission for individual clients.  I now mainly teach, using the skills and experience I have gained over the years to help todays students develop their knowledge and love of working with wood.

Over the past 38 years I have also undertaken work for a number of different designers such as Wales & Wales and Illingworth & Partridge. In particular, between 1990 and 2001, I was senior craftsman in the John Makepeace Workshops at Parnham House. Here I was able to develop new techniques and skills whilst working on a wide variety of John’s designs.

I have also had the privilege of working in collaboration with highly skilled craftsmen from other disciplines, such as the clock maker Julius Schoonhoven. Together we made contemporary longcase clocks, such as ‘Grace’, with handmade movements in brass.

‘Grace’, my ‘Somerset Chair’, and a display cabinet made for the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers have all received Guild Mark awards from the Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers. You can see these pieces and other work that I have made, in the Gallery of Tom’s Work.

I now run weekly furniture making classes from my workshop in Somerset, and also teach on the fine
furniture making course at the Building Crafts College in London. In addition to this I run short courses from West Dean College in West Sussex, and am a regular visiting instructor at the
Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Maine, USA.


Short Courses

Furniture Making for Beginners – A Dovetailed Box

  • Venue: West Dean College, West Sussex
  • Ability Level: Beginners
  • Date: 14th – 18th September 2018

Through demonstrations and practical work, you will learn how to make a dovetailed box using a hardwood. This project has been designed to take you, step-by-step, through all the various processes necessary to produce a box using dovetails and lap dovetails for the construction. Topics covered will include the setting out, cutting and assembly of dovetails as well as other processes necessary to make the box, such as the use of cutting gauges, chisels and the basic use of a router. Suitable timber is supplied at cost.

Making Simple Furniture for Complete Beginners

  • Venue: West Dean College, West Sussex
  • Ability Level: Beginners
  • Date: 23rd – 26th November 2018

Learn basic woodworking techniques and gain practical insight into making furniture as you make a small bench. With step-by-step guidance and demonstrations from Tom, you will be introduced to the use of hand planes, chisels, and other essential tools required to make the bench. Suitable timber is supplied at cost and all essential tools are provided by the college.

Furniture Making for Beginners – A Blanket Chest

  • Venue: West Dean College, West Sussex
  • Ability Level: Beginners
  • Date: 10th – 15th March 2019

On this course you will be making a small blanket chest using solid wood. The design of the chest will enable each student, through demonstrations and practical support, to complete each stage confidently. You will be introduced to the tools necessary to make the blanket chest, including both hand tools and the use of a router and a domino jointer. Suitable timber is supplied at cost and all essential tools are provided by the college.

Weekly Classes

Tailor Made Classes

The furniture making classes that I run each week from my workshop are designed to be flexible and are tailored to meet student’s individual requirements, whether an enthusiastic beginner or a more experienced woodworker. Many of the students who come started out as complete beginners, but they are now able to design and make accomplished pieces. You can see some of the furniture made by my students, from both the workshop and the colleges I teach at, in the Gallery of Student’s Work.

The weekly classes are ongoing throughout the year and are run from my workshop at Boundary Barn, on the edge of the Blackdown hills near Ilminster in Somerset. I also run short courses, as detailed above, from other venues and colleges.

If you are interested in the weekly classes do feel free to contact me. However please be aware that currently the classes are fully booked.

Gallery of Tom’s Work

Gallery of Student’s Work

Contact Tom

Tom can be contacted directly by completing and submitting the form below. Visits to his workshop are welcome by prior appointment only. (If you appear not to receive any replies, please check your spam/junk folder).

Contact Form

Tom Kealy
Boundary Barn,
Hare Lane,
Buckland St Mary,
TA20 3JS

Tel No. 01460 234272