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Carpenter friends venturing into sustainable construction

Two carpenter friends are keeping themselves in brisk business with their wooden design and construction company, creating projects such as outdoor classrooms and woodland carvings.

Tim Atkins started Artisan Structures with his friend, Duncan Dodds, after having what he called a “road to Damascus” moment after working in electronics for many years.

After gaining experience and skills in carpentry and, specifically, chainsaw carving, Tim got together with Duncan – himself a trained carpenter and joiner – when he was approached to build an outdoor classroom for their local primary school in Exning, near Newmarket. He explained that some of their inspiration had come from an episode of Grand Designs that highlighted a man who had built his own wooden home in the middle of a forest.

Speaking to Cambridge News, Tim said that all of their wood is sourced sustainably through coppicing at his local woods – where he also has his outdoor workspace.

“I often have more work than I can cope with, and yes, I make a good living,” he told the paper. “I like being outdoors and I enjoy the variety of the work.”

The pair have created numerous artworks – including 28 giant apes for corporate activities company, Go Ape – but are hoping to develop the construction side of the business going forward, making the most of Duncan’s skills as a structural carpenter.