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Our Craft

steam bending

At Tom Raffield, steam bending sits at the heart of our story, an ancient skill
remastered for modern times – bending solid wood beyond its perceived limits.

Steam bending drives our passion for sustainable design and informs the aesthetic of every creation we make. Every design draws on the curves, lines and twists epitomised in the steam bending discovery which started our journey...

From the hull of a boat to the waist of a violin, steam bending has been a vital craft across industries for centuries. Today our designers and craftspeople continue to push the bar using the timeless technique to create our iconic products and one-off pieces.

Time consuming, a little unpredictable and labour-intensive, steam bending tends not to be commercially viable for large-scale production. However, the low energy and ecological method of manipulating wood with no nasty glues and very low levels of wastage ticks all our boxes. Using our unique, bread and butter approach we create lighting, furniture and bespoke projects that will become heirlooms of the future.

Whether it’s one of our select few master craftspeople capable of working on our iconic No.1 Pendant, or a team of talents hand manipulating wood to shape our iconic Arbor Armchair, we push wood beyond its natural limits in all sorts of ways.

No chemicals. No additives. No production line. Just handcrafted design, valued heritage and an understanding that every experiment holds the key to a new way of doing things.

"Having such a good understanding of the material and the process ensures there are no restrictions on creativity – knowing that anything can be achieved is extraordinarily liberating”.

- Tom Raffield, Founder.
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