small sash window in Bonsall Chapel window in Belper Chapel school room window in door in Matlock Bath
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Jacob Butler's Joinery Workshop

Middleton by Wirksworth, Matlock, Derbyshire.

Period Joinery & Building Conservation

In 1982 I started working as a joiner specialising in the repair or replacement of period work; mainly Victorian and Georgian sash-windows and panel doors. My emphasis has been on the perfect reproduction of period design and detail. My first web pages cover this in some detail and are archived here: Since 2001 I have been working on various projects, particularly the conversion of a chapel in which we now live and work and the development of my furniture project decribed below.
Latest addition has been the restoration of 10 large windows. Two of them incorporate the original coloured flash glass margin. The others follow the same overall design but with plain glass and the addition of opening lights.

chapel before chapl after

Traditional (and other) Furniture

Stand at Wirksworth Festival, 2009:
furniture display stand

My new project is as designer/maker of furniture, using traditional methods, natural and recycled materials, and designs derived from the traditional.
This is a new venture (2009) for me, having worked for the last 25 years in architectural joinery and period building conservation.
I use hardwoods and softwoods, new or recycled as available, and natural finishes, mainly linseed oil itself, and linseed oil paint.
I am also interested in how to use recycled man-made materials, but without compromise to the finished product.
Although my central interest is the "anonymous vernacular" tradition I am interested in where this merges with the "primitive" on one hand and with modern art & design on the other. I've always felt that the true, central line of the history of Architecture and design is through the tradition of ordinary practical and utilitarian making, where things are made as needed, with materials as available, with whatever tools are to hand.


I make new items using a mix of new and reclaimed materials, as available. Part of the motivation here is simply the fact that I have aquired a large collection of old timber and joinery from my current chapel renovation project. Where lacking I make good with new material obtained as locally as possible from sustainable sources. The paint I use is entirely natural linseed oil based with no mineral oils and no VOCs.


The practical nature of 'vernacular' or 'ordinary' work anticipates many of the precepts of architectural modernism: truth to function and materials, economy, minimal decoration; 'less is more' born from necessity not idealism. Modernism is much older than it seems.

rush bottom chair welsh settle and table
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