Robert James

My serious pursuit of woodworking began in 2004 when I attended a week-long course in the mountains of North Carolina where I learned to make ladderback chairs riven from a newly felled oak log.  No power tools were used except the chainsaw that brought down the tree.  Green wood yields easily to well sharpened hand tools.  Making ladderbacks the traditional Appalachian way requires learning all about wet and dry wood, drying some parts, keeping other parts wet, expansion, contraction and deliberate distortion – all the alchemy that keeps a chair together for a lifetime without the aid of glue, nails or screws.  Since those North Carolina days my work has broadened to include dough bowls, spreaders and spoons, again carved from freshly cut wet wood.  A fews years later I attended another week and a half long workshop, this time in Canada, where I learned the fine points of Windsor chair making.


Small boxes also hold a fascination for me.  So, as my woodworking skills grew I explored box making.  Unlike furniture that is most often admired from across the room, small boxes are picked up, turned and inspected closely, the wood figuring admired and the smooth surface felt.  My boxes are meant to be used – whether for  jewelry, fountain pens, fly tying tools or those special things you want to hide away.  I love natural wood, especially dramatic figuring and the buttery smoothness that can be achieved by careful finishing of the wood surface.   I strive to make sure that all my pieces have an ultra-smooth tactile feel.


See what Robert has in stock at AllSorts.

AllSorts Gallery


181 Ottawa Street North, Hamilton, Ontario L8H 3Z4

Phone: 905-393-7381

Hours: Sunday: Noon to 5:00 p.m. | Monday to Wednesday, Saturday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. | Thursday to Friday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.