Meet Alan - Hutmaker
Alan grew up in Hampshire and is a clever chap (he did well in maths, computing and physics). An aptitude for such things led him to Plymouth University where he studied Marine Sports Technology. As part of the course they crafted ship’s masts and then tested them to destruction. Aside from a spell in financial services Alan comes to us from a maritime career, with twelve years working in marinas. He also spent some time as a designer-maker of furniture and accessories.
What does he do at Plankbridge?
Alan has been at Plankbridge for nearly two years. He very swiftly rose from starter hutmaker to a fully fledged member of the team. He works on shepherd’s hut builds from chassis assembly through to final finishing, and does so with an infectious enthusiasm!
He says he particularly enjoyed learning to spray finish the huts. We use very good paints from Tikkurilla, a Finnish manufacturer, and have recently developed our own Plankbridge colour card. He describes the moment that all crafts people will recognise; when everything flows, and there is nothing like being in that moment. With the paint spraying there are times when it’s all ‘just right’ as if the job in hand creates itself. This only comes from innate skill, experience and a passion for your craft, which Alan has in spades.
Where is his favourite place to eat out in Dorset?
Making a Sunday roast for the family is one of his favourite dining experiences, and represents a happy time. If pushed he says the Vivo Lounge in the new Brewery Square development in Dorchester is good as it caters for everybody.
What has he done with the shepherd’s huts recently that he particularly enjoyed?
The current hut that Alan is working on is a larger shepherd’s hut Cabin design, with a slightly different layout with the shower room and kitchen running lengthwise. It is designed around the needs of a Thai massage studio, but is also future proofed so it can be adapted to a bed and breakfast in the future. He really liked making the cubby holes which are let into the walls, lined in oak and painted in contrasting colours. He also liked working on the forge with master blacksmith Simon Grant Jones recently.
What makes for a good weekend?
A keen cyclist, Alan rides in to work most days and enjoys exploring bridleways on his mountain bike. He meets up and cycles with friends in places like the New Forest and Cranborne Chase.
What do you like about being at Plankbridge?
He says Plankbridge ‘has a family atmosphere’, more so than other places he has worked. There’s always a willingness to help each other and that great environment contributes to the end result. ‘If you are happy making things then that shines through’ He loves how the individual can evolve the way things are done, with the consensus of the team.
He points out that whilst the designs are broadly similar and rooted in the Victorian originals each can have its own twist, which keeps the work and the end result fresh.
That sums up Plankbridge’s core values perfectly.