BLAM is the latest chapter in a long history of furniture making, a partnership between craftsmen Harry Williams and Josh Howard-Saunders. Between us we have been making furniture for over forty years at the renowned Oxfordshire workshops of Bates and Lambourne, initially as informal apprentices and ultimately as directors of the company. In 2020, we decided to continue the work of Bates and Lambourne under the condensed name of BLAM, as an opportunity to spend more time at the workbench actually being designers and makers and less time involved in the paperwork and other distractions that come with running a larger company. We continue to specialise in traditional Windsor chairs and cabinet making for domestic customers as well as furniture for churches and many of the colleges of Oxford and Cambridge.
Bates and Lambourne was set up in 1979 as a partnership between David Lambourne and Richard Bates, who was himself the grandson of the founder of CR Bates, chairmakers in Stokenchurch. In the early 1980s they were joined by Tony Smith, a skilled furniture maker and also wheelwright, who became a lynchpin of the company until his unexpected death in 2019. Continuing the tradition of generations of chairmaking, Harry Williams' grandfather and great grandfather were also both High Wycombe chairmakers. With a degree in Fine Art from Southampton University, Harry has a fondness for using chain saws that, prior to working at Bates and Lambourne, allowed him to enjoy a year as artist-in-residence at Aspex Gallery in Portsmouth. Josh can't blame genetics; his dad was a doctor, although in his spare time there was a fair bit of woodwork involved. He has a first class honours degree in 3D Design and has given numerous talks on furniture making, as well as writing occasional articles on the same subject for various obscure publications.
As well as more conventional furniture, we have built copperplate printing presses, altars and garden rooms, film props and sculptures. We have made chairs for churches, universities, former prime ministers and for Jimi Hendrix's flat in London. Mostly we work in UK grown solid hardwoods, though we have also occasionally incorporated Land Rover engine blocks and chunks of the Rock of Gibraltar, delivered to us by nuclear powered submarine. Whether in traditional furniture styles or more contemporary unique work, our focus is always on the detail, durability and quality of the finished pieces, as well as the inherent satisfaction in making.