Oak manufacturer puts new investment in motion

York Press: OAK FRAME:Richard Penny of Oak By Design, left, and Gary Whitaker from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking OAK FRAME:Richard Penny of Oak By Design, left, and Gary Whitaker from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking

A BICYCLE has been made out of solid oak by a specialist manufacturer in Tockwith to showcase the firm's technical ability following investment in new machinery.

Oak By Design has also taken on two new members to staff as it looks to expand its range of products and meeting increasing customer demand.

The business, which produces custom-made structural and interior elements such as ceiling beams, doors and flooring, using seasoned air-dried oak. has invested in new wood planers and computer-controlled cutting equipment to enable the firm’s carpenters to handle larger pieces of oak, as well as producing more intricate and complex designs.

To keep up with growing customer demand, last year the company moved into a new 7,000 sq ft workshop on the Locksley Business Park in Tockwith, which was roughly seven times larger than its original site in Wetherby.

Director Richard Penny founded the company in Wetherby in 1997 selling reclaimed bricks and timbers for specialist period renovations. In 2011 the firm opened its first showroom on Kings Road in Harrogate to showcase its expanding range of oak products.

The new premises and the Harrogate showroom were secured using lending from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, with the bank's Commercial Finance facility providing funds for the new machinery.

Richard Penny said: “We’ve been taking on increasing amounts of heavy construction projects such as roof trusses, porches and garden rooms, so it made sense to ensure we had the capacity to handle this on a regular basis.”

To showcase the technical precision that the new equipment will enable the company’s craftsmen to produce, they have built a fully working, solid oak bicycle in commemoration of the upcoming Tour de France Yorkshire stage, complete with solid oak wheels, seat, cogs and chain.

Mr Penny added: “As a growing Yorkshire company, we wanted to raise awareness of the benefits the Tour de France can bring to our community, as well as helping charities by either auctioning or using the bike to raise money for a good cause.

“Building something as technical as a working oak bike gave us a chance to show our skill, expertise, passion and commitment to each project we are given, and demonstrates our ability to creatively solve problems for our customers.”

Gary Whitaker, relationship manager with Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Oak By Design’s steady growth in recent years is a testament to the quality of the team’s work and Richard’s strong business acumen.

“To help drive their growth they have also recruited two new members of staff to join their team of eight, and are on course to grow their turnover by more than 20 per cent this year, which is a great achievement for an SME manufacturer in a highly competitive sector."

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