Celebrating 235 Years of Craftsmanship with Smedley: Tom Sands

Tom Sands is known for building some of the responsive custom-made acoustic guitars available in the world today, all built within his studio in North Yorkshire, England.

Originally from Ripon, Tom Sands currently lives in Bristol, graduating from the Glasgow School of Art with a degree in product design, he then went on to train as a Cabinet Maker under the stewardship of master cabinet maker Wynn Bishop at Rupert Mcbain furniture in County Durham.

Working predominantly with hand tools, Thomas made pieces to the highest standards for the most discerning clients. This classic training set him up well for a lifetime of working with timber. A keen player himself, Thomas decided he wanted to take the plunge and combine his love of the guitar with his love for his craft. After traveling to Oakland, California in April 2014 to undergo an extensive two-week interview process, Thomas was accepted as apprentice to world renowned luthier, Ervin Somogyi.

Describing guitar making as extremely stressful, Tom says that sometimes you must drill through a finished guitar to install something like a pickup; explaining it can be absolutely terrifying because it would only take one wrong move and the entire build will be ruined. Additionally, there is always competition and keeping above this and striving for more can be a challenge, although, this is what keeps you going each day.

Tom forms part of John Smedley’s collective of British craftsmen in celebration of their 235th anniversary as the oldest manufacturing factory in the world. Together they will be showcasing their collective crafts via retail windows, consumer workshops, special product launches and exhibitions throughout 2019 and 2020.

Read more about Tom’s journey here.

Tom Sands

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