Innovative joiner uses scaffolding as raw material

Ferdie Le F�vre in his Roslin workshop.  Picture: Ian Rutherford
Ferdie Le F�vre in his Roslin workshop. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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Surrounding your home with scaffolding may not seem the epitome of style.

But for one enterprising furniture maker, discarded building site timber has become the central plank of a business which sees him turn scaffolding into designer garden ­furniture.

Scaffolding furniture. Picture: contributed

Scaffolding furniture. Picture: contributed

While the prices Dutch designer Ferdie Le Fèvre charges are enough to make any self-respecting builder splutter into his tea, the eco-friendly pieces have proven an unlikely hit.

As a result the 40-year-old’s Scaffa studio in Roslin, Midlothian, is now a hive of frantic woodworking.

He said: “The wood is reclaimed and it’s made in Britain, I think that’s part of its appeal. When I tell people what the furniture is made from, they’re really surprised.”

The canny joiner said he is able to claim most of his raw material from scaffolders for free.

“I just go round scaffolders and ask if they have an discarded planks,” he said. “Sometimes the planks are damaged or they’ve been used for so many years and they have to be replaced. Normally they would have just ended up in the bin.”

Ferdie is from the Netherlands, where furniture carved out of scaffolding has already proved to be popular. He said: “What I do is a little bit different, because over there it’s a bit more rough and ready. The wood is treated but it isn’t sanded. The furniture I make is a much finer quality.”

Since setting up the company last year, Ferdie, who designs the pieces himself, has now taken on staff from a youth employment scheme.

The pieces, which range in price from £150 to £400, take about a day to make and bespoke pieces are available.

Ferdie said: “The firm is really getting there now. Last year was really bad because of the poor weather, but recently I went to the Gardening Scotland show and people were really quite enthusiastic. I think the fact that the furniture is made out of scaffolding planks is a bit of a talking point.”

He added: “I have had lots of different jobs in my life – before I moved to Scotland I had worked as a joiner and an apprentice doing up buildings. But I was never properly trained at a furniture school.”

He adds: “I hadn’t even made furniture before this.

Tim Vincent-Smith, an acclaimed Edinburgh carpenter who recycles driftwood, praised Ferdie’s work.

He said: “The pieces are wonderful and I’m very impressed by his workmanship and design. In the past 100 years, people stopped using the materials around them and started buying things from the other side of the world. But hopefully, this is part of a movement back to using what we have around us once again.”