Black Isle craftsman Roddy MacDonald’s handmade wooden baths and basins are beautifully stylish, surprisingly practical and so desirable that he has customers on the other side of the world…
‘I live just ten miles away from where I grew up on the Black Isle with my wife and four kids. Most of the time, I’m in my workshop just beside the house. My career started in the oil industry and for ten years I built large steel structures. During that time I also started taking on building work and built my own house over a couple of years. The building work then started taking over and I soon started building houses for other people.
‘I have always been interested in making things from wood, from small boats to tables, staircases and tree houses. Between the kids, my wife and friends, I’ve made plenty of crazy things! The business was born from the desire to make my living from producing high quality wooden products. The actual idea for producing the bath came from another piece I was making at one point leading to the creative spark which started the whole process. It’s taken a year or two to perfect the finish and the process of applying it but I’m satisfied now, the baths are very durable. As wood is a natural insulator the water will stay warmer for longer, the bath looks beautiful and the whole bathing experience is very unusual.
‘Our baths are not totally unusual but each one is unique, made by hand to order. The client chooses the wood and the colour of the bath and we try to accommodate any particular features the client would like. We are often asked to match the exterior of the bath to surrounding bathroom or bedroom colours and we also make matching basins.
‘Each piece starts off as rough sawn seasoned kiln-dried batons. These are then worked down into segments, glued into a large blank, carved to shape, and then sanded to finish. The bath is then stained to suit the client’s preference and sealed to a solid finish which is durable and hygienic. Prices start around £3200 Plus VAT, so most people like to arrange an appointment to visit to the workshop to see the baths. It helps to get an idea of how the finished bath looks. I think sometimes they just want to see how well the baths are made and that we really do make them here!
‘We have made a few completely unique pieces. Most memorable are the 1.5m diameter porridge bowl, a square Japanese soaking tub, and a double ended slipper bath. Commissions such as these normally require a fair bit of planning and skill but
it’s definitely satisfying to get the creative juices flowing.
‘As a maker, I’d be delighted to think that I could make a full time living from producing baths. I’ve also got ambitions to expand the product range into other items over the next couple of years.’
Tel: 07785 645 571 woodenbathsltd.com