Jack Cox – The practice of perseverance


Jack Cox has been a resident member at the workshop for the past eight months, where his company Malus Woods is based. He tell us about his journey from horticulture to furniture maker and how perseverance really does pay off.

‘I used to work in community horticulture in London and we had a lot of green woodworkers pass through the gardens I worked in. They gave me a heads up to a free green woodworkers group round the corner and I got really into using my hands and hand tools to make things out of free green wood from tree surgeons.

‘I started doing short courses, small home projects from scrap wood and getting in contact with as many carpenters as possible to get some in work training or some sort of apprenticeship. After years of not hearing back from anyone, I finally got a reply from the last email I decided to send out. I got a reply from Andrew Juniper who runs Wabi Sabi, a Japanese Shoji and furniture maker in the South Downs. We met each other, got on and I started working and being trained by him; learning how to do things precisely, machining, hand tools and the importance of taking a break and enjoying what you do.

Jack Cox Table

‘After moving to Wales for five years, going freelance there, learning a lot from trial and error, I’ve recently moved back to my home turf of London and am loving working at BHW making furniture and being around all the other great makers here.’

‘I’m quite excited about my next furniture commission. It’s one of the most exciting  I’ve had in a while. It’s a chest of draws to commemorate the passing of the clients friend. There’s all sorts of exciting design elements in it: secret draws and lots of unusual inlaid objects including a ukulele, old typewriter keys and a drum skin acting as a light shade. It’ll be a challenge but that keeps things fresh. It’s a lovely opportunity to hear about memories of someone too, piecing them together to create something to celebrate and remember them.

‘Before I moved to Wales I volunteered at Blackhorse Workshop after hearing about it through a friend. I loved the communal ethos, that you could have access to all this amazing professional level wood working machinery without having to own it yourself.

Jack Cox Table Legs detail

‘It made a lot of sense to me, not only did you not have a huge financial outlay to buy machinery which is unattainable to lots of people, the sharing of this machinery makes lots of sense environmentally, security wise and on top of that there’s a great supportive community that creates a social element to what can otherwise sometimes be quite lonely work. All this suits me. Not owning everything yourself makes me feel lighter and freer.

‘Plans for the future, hmm. More imminently August is fitting out a canal boat. Gotta remember to strike that good work life balance, try to get rid of my car and find ways to do what I do just with a bike (definitely more possible working at the BHW), get a website made some day but in the meantime you can follow me on Instagram or drop me a line at maluswoods@gmail.com if you’d like to chat more.’