Dave Foote’s company, U Wood, is based on the Northumberland coast at Longhoughton and is fast gaining a reputation for distinctive one-off pieces, from furniture and decorative artwork to instrument stands.
Dave works on each concept with the customer, from the design through to the type of wood and finish required.
Although originally from London, Dave came north to study engineering at Sheffield University, and after a number of years working as an engineer, he switched careers to corporate HR where he worked with businesses including Centrica and B&Q.
He said: “I’ve always had a passion for creativity and enjoy working with wood, after 30 years in the corporate world, the time was right to go for it and start up on my own.
“I’m developing a range of products that are much more interesting than you can buy in the shops using my engineering and design experience.”
The wooden acoustic guitar stands are evidence of Dave’s creative approach. Whereas most guitar stands are made from metal or plastic and are very straight and functional, the U Wood stand incorporates an organic shape and a minimal style.
Dave has now registered his unique design with the Intellectual Property Office, he said: “It was a design challenge I set myself and it took 10 months and six prototypes before I got it right.
“The result is an organic, flowing piece and each one is different. The stands are handmade in woods including ash, cherry and elm, and each one is numbered, signed and dated by me.”
As well as guitar stands Dave produces other variations for violins and larger instruments. He has also developed a more robust version for electric guitars and is currently working on a portable folding model for touring musicians.
He said: “I like asymmetric objects and things that don’t appear to be what they really are. For me, everything I make is a one-off design. I like to make people look twice.”
One person who did look twice and loved the design is Lindisfarne frontman, Billy Mitchell, an accomplished guitar player and vocalist.
He said: “It is a beautiful piece of furniture as well as being functional, and will have pride of place holding my favourite guitar.”
Dave is planning to expand the business and says that the next step for U Wood is finding sympathetic woodworking businesses to produce the guitar stands under licence.