Grant supports equipment purchase as furniture maker grows its capacity

Leeds furniture maker Dovetailors is set to expand its manufacturing capacity with spending on new machinery after seeing an increase in demand for British made components and custom furniture.

Investment in a CNC cutting machine, supported by a £28,000 grant from the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, will increase productivity and create two new jobs at its Pudsey site where the company makes furniture for homes, offices and churches and operates a manufacturing line making wood components for commercial clients.

The Bacci 5 axis CNC router and lathe will be the firm’s third cutting machine and will arrive in the Leeds workshop next week.

As well as improving efficiency and increasing manufacturing capability, it will support the company’s prototyping and small batch production work with emerging British product developers and designers.

David Wilson, engineer and creative director at Dovetailors, said: “Our two existing CNC machines have revolutionised the way our business works, helping us tackle more complex shapes and structures and speeding up the production process.

“The new machine will increase our capabilities further, expanding capacity and making us an even more cost effective option for commercial partners who are looking for a reliable UK-based supplier.”

Dovetailors provides a design, product development and prototyping service to furniture designers, creatives and established furniture businesses.

Its workshop also offers a simple and affordable CNC shape cutting service for local artists, designers and charities.

After starting out as a small designer maker in Nidderdale in 2005, the success of the firm’s custom furniture design business and some major ecclesiastical commissions, including a new altar for Wakefield Cathedral and ceremonial chairs for Sheffield Cathedral, led to job growth and further investment in technology and machinery.

Dovetailors has a strong tradition of training cabinet makers. The head maker and principal designer both joined as trainees and its nine-strong current workshop team includes a trainee maker and student CNC operator.

The new machine will create roles for a new member of the design development team and an additional furniture maker. The firm will also take on a placement student.

Wilson added: “We are very proactive about developing the skills and expertise needed for a strong British furniture design and manufacturing sector and our business has benefited hugely from having new talent coming through, adding energy and ideas into the mix.”

The company has moved twice in the past five years to accommodate growth after its component manufacturing work for high end British furniture companies took off, first to Sunny Bank Mills in Farsley and then, in 2019, to its current site on Stanningley Road.

Wilson said the latest phase of growth has been partly prompted by an increase in the number of UK design companies sourcing British based manufacturing partners.

He said the new investment would make the firm more competitive when pitching for this kind of business.