Surrey Carpentry

Professional Carpentry & Joinery Service

About Us

Simon Carey

Simon Carey

My name is Simon Carey.

I started out in carpentry and joinery in the year 2000, by taking a course in it at the Guildford College of Further and Higher Education.  At the time I enrolled on the course, i was working for What-Not Antiques pine furniture retailers in the warehouse in Aldershot , having been transferred there from the Guildford shop because my skill was much more prominent in the staining and waxing of unfinished furniture than it was in selling the furniture to customers! I was a bit gutted at the time because all my mates were still working in the Guildford shop.

Anyway, after a couple of months at the warehouse, colouring and finishing wooden chairs and tables, i got bored and started thinking about what i could do next. The logical thing to me was to learn how to make things out of wood rather than just putting stain and wax on them. Thats when i started going to college twice a week in the evenings – Tuesday 5pm-8pm doing theory, and Thursdays 5pm-9pm doing practical.

It always made me wonder why it was so much easier to stay awake for four hours doing practical than it was to only do three hours on theory! . . .

One night, after being on the course for about four weeks, we were in class doing practical when a very tall guy walked in holding a handful of A4 handouts, he was looking for someone to become the new apprentice at a nearby joinery – Mayford Joinery.  I don’t know why when he stood out at the front of the classroom and asked if anyone would like to apply, only two of us shot our hands up, while everyone else’s heads ducked down and carried on with their projects!

Me and the other guy both took a handout and called the boss at Mayford Joinery to arrange interviews.

I don’t know how the other guys interview went, but i got a call from the boss’s wife a few days after my interview offering me the job.  I later found out that the main reason i got the job was because i do martial arts!!  He must’ve been really impressed by that, because after only four weeks at college and barely being able to nail two bits of wood together, it couldn’t have been my woodworking skills!

When i started at Mayford Joinery, almost 10 years ago, I was a pretty out of my depth. I made more schoolboy errors than i care to admit and broke out in quite a nasty rash across my neck and face that i’m sure was either to do with stress or some sort of allergy to wood. Whatever it was it was, after a few weeks of my trial period, i began to suspect that Conrad (the boss) was having doubts about my future at Mayford Joinery. I realised that i needed to start getting things right, so i forced myself to calm down and focus.

It worked.

I managed to successfully complete a few jobs in succession. Conrad was happy. The rash went. I was allowed to stay. My confidence grew steadily as i made more and more doors and windows, and then the jobs began to get more detailed and interesting, and i was hooked. I think this was the best thing about doing bespoke joinery, the fact that every job was different in detail, size, material and style. After a while of doing mainly doors and windows, i saw that Conrad was doing most, if not all of the staircases. I quite fancied a go at one, because in my opinion, a good staircase can be quite spectacular in a house, and quite often they are main feature.

So as Conrad was planing up the material for the next staircase one day, i said to him “mind if i have a go?…”, he agreed and started teaching me how to do it. I took in what he said, and started my first staircase.  After a day or two (it was only a straight flight) i told him i was finished. He came over to inspect, and was unable to fault it. I was expecting him to be pleased but actually, he seemed a bit surprised! I think he was expecting a lapse back to the “rash” days!

From then on, i made all the staircases at Mayford Joinery, and i’ve lost count of how many. It must be in the high hundreds, possibly 1000+. They include Beech staircases, Ash staircases, Pine staircases, Oak staircases, Iroko staircases. I’ve made staircases that go in all directions, single winder sections, double winder sections, 180 degree winder sections, staircases that go off at funny angles, some that go in two directions at the top, some at the bottom, many with either single or double bullnoses, open tread staircases, cut-string staircases…..

I’ve done a lot of staircases!

I have also done a great deal of cabinet making, including wardrobes, chests of drawers, bookshelves, HiFi units, Tv units, even a cot for a baby, with drawers underneath for storage. I also designed and built the entire contents of a studio flat that i own in Guildford. The good thing about this studio flat is that it has high ceilings.  When i bought it, there was a mezzanine floor in there, with the sleeping area/bedroom up top, and the sitting room area underneath. The mezzanine floor was the shakiest, most unstable thing i have ever seen, and upon it in the sleeping area, which was only about 1 metre high, was an actual bed! The people before me were sleeping about 6 inches form the ceiling!

I could see the huge room for improvement here, and ripped out everything from the flat apart from the kitchen. I built a new mezzanine floor from solid pine, that incorporated a mattress into it, thus removing the need for a bed. Effectively, the mezzanine floor itself was a bed, but it also incorporated enough built in storage to store the contents of my previous property which was a one bed flat. There was a small winding staircase going upto the sleeping area, which had solid pine ballustrading all around. Once i had completed the mezzanine floor, i designed a micro kitchen that would allow everything a modern, stylish kitchen needs to be fitted into a very restricted space without compromising the practicality of it. Additionally it was designed so that everything would be out of sight, like the washing machine, fridge, microwave etc. If you are living in what is essentially just one room, you don’t want to be having to look at white goods all the time when you are trying to relax!

Please click here to find out more and see some pictures of the studio flat.

I finished working for Conrad at Mayford Joinery in February 2009, and am now working around Surrey doing carpentry work. Joinery is a fantastic occupation, and i will soon have a workshop of my own from which to carry on doing joinery, but the time came for me once again to increase my expertise and enjoy a bit of a change of scenery by indulging in joinery’s woodworking counterpart – carpentry. So far it has been incredibly interesting and refreshing, and each new job has been a great experience, not to mention all the fantastic people i now come into contact with.

Leaving Mayford Joinery was a big step, but i believe that for all concerned, it was necessary for many reasons. First of all, i needed a new challenge. Secondly, new graduates of Guildford College of Further and Higher Education need somewhere to hone their skills!

I parted on very good terms with Conrad and everyone else at Mayford Joinery. I’ll always be grateful to Conrad for everything he’s taught me, and i still see them all quite often as i fit quite a lot of the work they produce. Its good relationship, made all the better by big bags of doughnuts!!

I’m sure you’ve heard plenty about me now, if you ever want to have a chat about some carpentry work you need doing, or you just have a question about something to do with wood, give me a call or get in in touch via my “Contacts” page, I’d love to hear from you. My mobile number is 07816 670712

All the Best, Simon.