Artisans Project: Thomas Smith's Royal Sussex Trug Company.

My latest Artisans project participant is The Royal Sussex Trug Company in Herstmonceux.

It’s great to see a company that started in the 1820’s still thriving and with young and enthusiastic craftsmen working hard to make quality products. I was able to watch the trugs being made from start to finish and each takes around an hour and a half to complete, with 35 different sizes being made.

Caleb split the sweet chestnut outside and with Mike he then shaved them down to the correct size and finish to make the frame and handle pieces. The shapes are formed after spending 20-30 minutes in the steamer and then the boards (made from offcuts from a willow cricket bat maker) are fitted to the frames using copper nails. Excess material is trimmed away and pine feet are the finishing touch. You can see more of the process in this lovely old British Pathé video from 1963.

A big thanks to the two Mike's and Caleb for being so helpful during my visit, it was great to see such passion. To order a trug and find out more please visit their web site.

Note: Click on an image and use left and right keys to view the whole set, or click Slideshow for full screen viewing.
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