Meet the Supplier: Brodies Timber

Meet the Supplier: Brodies Timber

One of the first things everyone who visits us at Glen Lyon Coffee Roasters sees is all of the lovely wood that features in our front of house area. We love working with the natural look and feel of timber and have used Brodies Timber, a specialist timber yard and bespoke joinery manufacturer to craft our bar and shelving with European white oak. This week they are going to complete a commission to build four bespoke tables and benches for our customers that will make a fantastic addition to our space.

As part of our B Corp sourcing policy we are committed to supporting and promoting local suppliers, so we asked Jen from Brodies Timber to tell us a little bit more about the Dunkeld business that she runs with her husband Kenny. We also visited their workshop to take a few photos of our new tables in the final stages of preparation. We’d love you to come and admire them for yourselves and enjoy a coffee or two when they arrive at the roastery later this week.

When was Brodies timber started up and why?
Kenny (my husband) and I started the business in 2012 having originally met in a timber yard in Edinburgh. We were keen to build our own timber and manufacturing business, and Highland Perthshire seemed like a perfect location to do that.

What is the driving ethos behind the business and how has this contributed to its success?
We really like realising our client’s ideas and visions and championing wood as a sustainable and beautiful resource. Each project we work on is unique, not just in the design, but due to the selection of each board we choose for the purpose. I think the success and appeal of our business is the desire to have something which has been uniquely made to specific requirements and the choice of timber we can offer is quite difficult to find elsewhere. We aim to make beautiful lifetime furniture from material which won’t have a detrimental impact on our environment.

How and where do your responsibly source your timber?
We source our timber from a number of UK suppliers and Scottish sawmills. We buy timbers which have been imported from all over the world, and all of which have a chain of custody certification to ensure the timber which lands with us has been sustainably sourced and well managed. We also source timber from within the UK, including a recent batch of English Ash which had been preventatively felled due to Ash die back. We are also very fortunate to work with a local sawmill just up the road from our yard, who source and cut storm fallen or damaged trees and have the capacity to mill the trees in full sections for boards ready to be kilned and made into furniture. The attraction for our clients is that the dining table they take home can be in most cases, confidently described as having grown, been felled, milled, dried and manufactured all within a 30mile radius.

How many people does Brodies now employ and what opportunity do you offer young people in particular?
We currently have 4 part time employees – ranging from 4 days a week to 3 days every other week! We value the skills our employees bring to the company and our flexibility of the work life balance is something we feel is important for us all. We currently employ a recent school leaver who works for us 3 days a week. We have also offered summer employment for furniture design students as well as work experience and internship positions.

From a small start-up Brodies has grown to take on some big commissions. Which job are you most proud of?
We don’t like to turn down work and that has opened doors to big opportunities! I am proud of the team we have and it’s can do, problem solving attitude. Our work for the Fife Arms in Braemar has to be up there in terms of range of work and prestige, but having the whole workshop play a part in making coffee tables and benches for Glen Lyon is a proud moment too. Popping in a place for coffee and thinking – I made that, feels pretty good.

Please could you tell us a little more about the timber that was sourced for Glen Lyon Coffee and why you like taking on quirky and bespoke commissions.
The timber which we are making the tables, benches and stools for Glen Lyon has all been sourced from European live edged, character oak. The live edge is an important characteristic, as it gives a nod to the shape of the tree. The character is selected for the feature medullary rays, knots and splits, which we try and enhance rather than hide. Quirky and bespoke commissions keep our interest, as no two jobs are ever the same!

How do your see Brodies Timber developing over the next few years?
We are very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to build some amazing things over the last 10 years. This has led to new clients seeing our work elsewhere, seeking us out with a desire for us to make something them. I would hope we can continue to get wide ranging commissions, but grow our capacity to offer and build from locally sourced and sustainable hardwood.